Ahead of the crucial state Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit West Bengal's East Midnapore district on Sunday to inaugurate a number of infrastructural projects in the industrial town of Haldia.
To ramp up the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) campaigning efforts, Modi is slated to address a public rally in Haldia. Besides that, he will lay the foundation stones for key infrastructure projects like inaugurating a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import terminal, built by Bharat Petroleum at an investment of around Rs 1,100 crore and has a capacity of 1 million metric tonne per annum.
The initiative will cater to the growing requirement of LPG in West Bengal and other eastern and north-eastern states of India. It will be an important step towards realising the vision of the Prime Minister to provide clean cooking LPG to every household.
Modi will also open the 348-km Dobhi-Durgapur natural gas pipeline section, which is a part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Project, in order to achieve an important milestone of 'one nation, one gas grid' project of the government.
Apart from this, PM Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the second Catalytic-Iso-dewaxing unit of the Haldia refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation which will have a capacity of 270 thousand metric tonne per year. The unit is expected to result in a saving of about $185 million in foreign exchange.
During his visit Modi is slated to address a public rally in Haldia at 4 p.m. today, marking it as his first election rally in the run up to the high-voltage state Assembly elections. This is going to be the Prime Minister's second visit to the state in a fortnight. Earlier, he had visited Kolkata on January 23 to celebrate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary as Parakram Diwas.
Bolstering state economy ahead of polls
According to experts, the key infrastructure push by Modi at Haldia is targeted to bolster the state's dwindling economy ahead of the state elections. This is also going to be a step towards the motto of establishing good governance which is the key to a nation's progress, for the welfare of the common citizen.
"Any step towards the industrial development of the state is a welcome move. I support it as people get benefitted from it. I don't want to make a political statement. But I would say that the government should make it people friendly," said economist Dipankar Dasgupta.
He said that there is no power cut in Bengal. But the paradox is that there has not been any industrial development in the state in the last 10 years. "So what can we say? Is it good or bad for our state?" Dasgupta added.
Interestingly, the event will be held at Haldia which is known to be the stronghold of Suvendu Adhikari, the former West Bengal transport minister who joined the BJP in December last year. His father Sisir Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari, both Lok Sabha MPs, are also invited in the programme. Along with them, another Trinamool Congress MP from Ghatal and actor Dipak Adhikari (Dev) was also invited at the event. The list of final attendees is expected to send out political signals as both Sisir and Dibyendu Adhikari are still with the state's incumbent Trinamool Congress.
Developed with more than 350 sq-km area, Haldia is an industrial belt established in East Midnapore district of West Bengal. This industrial area is housed in the centre of Haldia Port and the main industrial centre of this city is Petrochemicals.
According to sources at the state secretariat Nabanno, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to skip the government programme on Sunday. Last time on the occasion of Parakram Diwas at Kolkata's Victoria Memorial, Banerjee got infuriated as a section of people from the audience shouted 'Jai Shree Ram' slogan when PM Modi and other ministers were present on the stage.