Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Prime Minister on Thursday held a roadshow in and said the city will emerge as the safest and convenient diamond trading hub in the world once the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City project is completed.

The PM later also held a roadshow in Bhavnagar city where women showered rose petals on his car and artistes performed folk dances on stages erected by local administration at several places along the route.

In Surat, Modi addressed a rally in Limbayat area after laying the foundation stone and inaugurating a host of projects worth Rs 3,400 crore, including inauguration of the main entrance gate and phase-1 works of DREAM City, an ambitious project coming up on 700 hectares of land near Khajod village on the outer Ring Road of .

He also said the Indian Railways has come up with a plan to run a special train between and his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi for convenient transportation of textile products from here to Uttar Pradesh.

The PM said Surat has progressed by leaps and bounds during the last 20 years.

Remembering the struggle to get an airport in Surat, Modi said the then BJP government in Gujarat when he was the chief minister struggled a lot in convincing the then UPA government to approve an airport for the city.

“We got tired of explaining to the then central government why an airport is needed and what this city is capable of doing (if such a facility is provided). This happened in the case of the Metro project too,” he said.

Referring to BJP governments both at the Centre and in the state, Modi said such approvals are now coming faster because of the “double engine sarkar”.

“When the DREAM City project is completed, Surat will emerge as the world’s safest and convenient diamond trading hub. The day is not far when Surat will be known as a modern office space for diamond merchants and companies from across the world,” said Modi.

The projects which were launched on Thursday included new government schools, a science museum, libraries, new fire stations, a hostel for medical students, sewage treatment plants, 25 electric vehicle charging stations and flyover bridges among others.

On the occasion, Modi said the Railways has come up with a plan to run a special train between Surat and his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi for convenient transportation of Surat’s textile products to Uttar Pradesh.

“The Surat textile market is connected with Kashi and eastern UP. At present, textile products are transported to UP using trucks. Now, the Railways has come up with an innovation and changed the design of the coaches so that cargo can fit inside easily. Specially designed containers which can be easily loaded and off-loaded are also developed,” the PM said.

“After the initial success, we are trying to run a new train between Surat and Kashi. The train will transport cargo from Surat to Kashi. This will benefit Surat’s businessmen, traders and workers,” he said.

Modi also said that out of the total four crore citizens who had availed benefits under the government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, nearly 32 lakh were from Gujarat, including 1.25 lakh from Surat.

Earlier in the day, Modi held a 2.5-kilometre-long road show in Surat and waved at people who were standing on both sides of the road to greet him.

He later also held a roadshow in Bhavnagar where nearly 50,000 people gathered along the route to greet him, officials said.

The PM’s schedule for the two-day Gujarat visit includes inauguration or laying foundation stones for several projects worth more than Rs 29,000 crore.

In Bhavnagar, he will on Thursday launch projects worth nearly Rs 6,000 crore, including the stone laying of world’s first CNG terminal and a brownfield port in Bhavnagar, and also address a gathering in Jawahar Chowk area, a state government release said.

In the evening, the prime minister will declare open the 36th National Games at a gala ceremony in the stadium in Motera area of Ahmedabad city.

He is also scheduled to attend the Gujarat government’s Navratri festival at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad later in the day.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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