MOTIHARI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday flagged off a 12,000-horsepower freight electric locomotive assembled at the Madhepura factory in Bihar.
At the concluding ceremony of the centenary celebrations of Champaran Satyagraha in Motihari, Modi said the high-speed electric locomotive project was approved by the Centre in 2007, but it gathered dust till the NDA government worked on it three years ago.
“The first phase of the project is completed… Our government has stopped the culture of suppressing files,” he said.
The train engine was developed at the Electric Locomotive Factory, a collaboration between India and France. It is the first Make-in-India project of such a magnitude. So far, the most powerful electric engine with the Indian Railways was of 6,000 HP.
Modi also inaugurated development projects worth Rs 2,500 crore, including three sewerage networks and a sewerage treatment plant in Patna, as part of the Centre’s Namami Gange scheme. Other projects included a lake beautification project in Motihari and a water supply project in Bettiah.
The ‘Satyagraha se Swachhagrah’ programme was attended by 20,000 Swachhagrahis (ambassadors of cleanliness), some of whom were felicitated by Modi. Modi praised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was present on the occasion, saying the state was progressing rapidly under his leadership.
In Motihari, the swachhyagrahis gave some anxious moments to the Bihar government as they complained of lack of basic facilities at the venue.
Even as Modi addressed the gathering, the crowd started to chant slogans demanding water, resulting in the Prime Minister slightly going off track with his speech.
“We have come all the way from Maharashtra and have been working relentlessly for the past one month and, today, we are being treated like this. We are not even given water. This is shameful,” Uday Kshirsagar from Osmanabad in Maharashtra said, as his teammates joined him in sloganeering.
Uday is one of the 289 swachh volunteers from Maharashtra. He is like others from many other states who were assigned a block and district in Bihar to make it Open Defecation Free (ODF) before the event.
The case was similar with volunteer groups who had arrived from Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and Bishnoi in Rajasthan. Around 20,000 volunteers, who had gathered from across the country, complained of poor facilities.
“We want to do something for our country and our Prime Minister, but the facilities here are appalling. You can see how we are being treated,” said Emarti Devi from UP.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar, in an apparent reference to the ongoing violence in the country, said that the country could not progress if the violence goes on. “The country moves forward in peace and not in conflict,” he said, adding that Gandhi’s thoughts needed to be implemented to end the conflict.
With inputs from Anand ST Das
A piece of history
In April 2017, the Bihar government launched.
Year-long celebrations to mark the centenary of the Champaran Satyagraha movement of
Champaran has an indelible place in Indian history as it’s from here that Gandhiji began his Satyagraha after his return to India from South Africa.
Motihari is also the birth place of author George Orwell.
PM dedicated a slew of development schemes to Champaran, including the Humsafar Express.