It is the country's "misfortune" that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, 20 June, as he cited development work undertaken by his government to assert that it is changing the face of Delhi.
Speaking after inaugurating the main tunnel and five underpasses of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor in Delhi, PM Modi cited a number of initiatives, including Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways, more than doubling of metro tracks in Delhi-NCR and the Delhi-Meerut highway, among other projects, as steps taken by his government to solve the region's problems.
"It is our country's misfortune that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in political colours. Media also gets dragged into it due to its TRP compulsions," Modi said, adding that the construction of the Central Vista project and the new Parliament building is going on at a fast pace now.
"India's capital will be talked about in the coming days and every Indian will be proud," he said.
The prime minister was referring to last year's inauguration of the defence complex, which he noted earlier operated out of dilapidated hutments spread across a vast stretch of land near Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The central vista project, a massive revamp exercise in the heart of India's seat of power, had drawn protests from a section of activists and opposition parties who went to court. The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor had also faced some protests.
Modi's comments about "good things brought with good intentions" getting trapped in politics also come at a time when his government's Agnipath scheme, a radical overhaul of the process of soldiers' recruitment in the armed forces, has triggered protests in different parts of the country.
Centre's Infra Gift for Delhi, Says PM Modi
The Integrated Transit Corridor project includes a 1.4-kilometer tunnel and five underpasses.
The PM referred to it as the government's gift of modern infrastructure to the national capital, and highlighted other initiatives the government is planning to make Delhi one of the better-connected cities in the world.
"Delhi has received a beautiful infrastructure gift from the central government," the prime minister said. The project, he said, will save 55 lakh litres of fuel and reduce pollution.
PM Modi stated that his government regards increased urbanisation as an opportunity and has been working to improve people's living conditions.
The PM also mentioned a number of other initiatives undertaken by his government to address the region's difficulties, including the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways and the doubling of metro tracks in Delhi-NCR, and the Delhi-Meerut motorway, among others.
Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor
The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor has been created at a cost of about Rs 920 crore, with the central government funding the entire project, reported PTI.
Its goal is to make it as easy as possible for exhibitors and visitors to participate in the programmes held at Pragati Maidan's new world-class exhibition and conference centre, which is now under construction.
The main tunnel connects Ring Road to India Gate and opens on Purana Qila Road, passing Pragati Maidan.
The project includes the construction of six underpasses: four on Mathura Road, one on Bhairon Marg, and one at the intersection of Ring Road and Bhairon Marg. Traffic currently passes through five lights on its way from the W-point near ITO to Sunder Nagar, causing frequent snarls along the vital stretch.
The 1.6-kilometer tunnel, which will be Delhi's first, will allow commuters travelling to India Gate and other central Delhi regions from east Delhi, Noida, and Ghaziabad to bypass the traffic jams, saving time, fuel, and money.
"Time is money," PM Modi said, adding that if the government gives people Rs 100, it generates headlines, but if they save Rs 200, it's not as much spoken about.
The Prime Minister also praised the artwork that adorns the tunnels and underpasses, suggesting that they be closed to traffic for a few hours on Sundays so that people can enjoy watching the art.
PM Modi was also seen picking up discarded bottles and other litter as he walked along inspecting the tunnel.
(With inputs from PTI.)