PM launches slew of projects in poll bound Kerala, says India is giving great importance to solar energy

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 19 (PTI) Launching a slew of projects in the power and urban sectors in poll-bound Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India is devoting great importance to solar energy to ensure a stronger fight against climate change and also connect the country’s farmers with the solar sector.

Speaking after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of key projects in the southern state via video conference, Modi said in the last six years, India’s solar energy capacity has gone up 13 times.

The projects inaugurated included the 320 KV Pugalur- Thrissur power transmission project, built at a cost of Rs 5,070 crore,to facilitate transfer of power from the western region and help meet the growth in load in Kerala.

He noted that India has also brought the world together to the international solar alliance.

“India is devoting great importance to solar energy.Our gains in solar energy ensure: A stronger fight against climate change.A boost to our entrepreneurs.”

His statement on climate change and the efforts by the country to drastically cut carbon emissions came on a day the United States officially rejoined the Paris climate accord, giving a boost to the global fight against climate change.

“Work is also underway to connect our hardworking farmers with the solar sector – make our Annadatas (farmers) also Urjadatas,” Modi said in a bid to highlight his government’s commitment to link the country’s vast farming sector with green energy amid farmers’ protest against the new farm laws brought by his government.

“Under PM Kusum Yojana, over 20 lakh solar power pumps are being given to farmers,” he said.

Reaching out to the people of Kerala, where assembly elections are due in April-May, Modi said “development and good governance does not know caste, creed, race, gender, religion or language.”

Quoting Kerala’s great Malayalam poet Kumaranasan who had written “I am not asking your caste, sister, I ask for water, I am thirsty”, Modi said development is for everyone and this is the essence of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.”

“Development is our aim, Development is our religion.

I seek the support of the people of Kerala so that we can move forward to realise the shared vision of togetherness and development,” he said.

Modi also remembered Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on his birth anniversary, saying the Maratha king’s life has inspired people across India.

Modi said Shivaji gave emphasis on Swarajya, where the fruits of development reach all sections of society.

He said Shivaji had built a strong Navy and worked hard for coastal development and welfare of fishermen and the Government is continuing his vision.

“India is on the way to becoming Atma Nirbhar in the defence sector.There have been path-breaking reforms in defence, and space sectors.These efforts will create opportunities for so many talented Indian youngsters.”

Modi said the country is investing in the ‘Blue Economy’ (sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth).

“Our efforts for fishermen communities are based on more credit, increased technology, top quality infrastructure and supportive government policies. Government policies will ensure India becomes a hub for seafood exports,” the Prime Minister said.

Describing cities in the country as engines of growth and power houses of innovation, Modi said cities are seeing three encouraging trends including technological development, favourable demographic dividend and increasing domestic demand.

Talking about Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) to improve urban infrastructure, he said the initiative is helping cities expand and upgrade their wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Earlier, the prime minister dedicated to the nation the 320 KV Pugalur-Thrissur power transmission project, besides inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of some key projects in power and urban sectors in the state.

The projects inaugurated included the 50 MW Kasaragod Solar Power Project, developed under the National Solar Energy Mission and the much-awaited 75 MLD (million litres per day) Water Treatment Plant at Aruvikkara near here under the AMRUT Mission.

Modi laid the foundation stones of the Integrated Command and Control Centre and Smart Roads Project, both in Thiruvananthapuram.

Built at a cost of Rs 5,070 crore, the Pugalur (Tamil Nadu)-Thrissur (Kerala) power transmission project is a Voltage Source Convertor (VSC) based High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Project and has India”s first HVDC link featuring state-of-the-art VSC technology.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and R K Singh and state ministers attended the virtually organised function.