Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said, "These projects are symbols of innovation and indigenous development. These projects will further the growth of Tamil Nadu."
He said Thanjavur and Pudukkottai will be specially benefitted as the foundation to modernise the six hundred and thirty-six kilometres long Grand Anicut Canal System was laid today. The impact of this is going to be very big as it will "improve irrigation facilities for 2.27 lakh acres of land," the prime minister said.
PM Modi also lauded the farmers of Tamil Nadu for "record food grain production and good use of water resources". He said that “the Grand Anicut is a living testimony to our glorious past. It is also an inspiration to our Nation’s“Aatmnirbhar Bharat" goals."
During the launch of a part of Chennai Metro Rail, which is about nine kilometre stretch of the city's Phase One,' Modi informed that the project has been completed on schedule despite the pandemic.
The project is in line with the boost to Aatmnirbhar Bharat as the rolling stock has been procured locally and civil construction activities were done by Indian contractors. Modi also mentioned that in this year’s budget, over ₹63,000 crore have been set aside for 119 kilometres of Phase two of the project.
"This is one of the largest projects sanctioned for any city in one-go. The focus on urban transport will boost ‘Ease of Living’ for citizens here," he pointed out.
He also inaugurated the fourth Railway line between Chennai Beach and Attipattu. This 22.1 km section, laid at a cost of ₹293.40 crores, traverses through Chennai and Thiruvallur districts. He also noted that the electrification of Villupuram Thanjavur Thiruvarur project will be a great boon to the delta districts.
PM Modi paid homage to the Pulwama attack martyrs on the anniversary of the attack today. He said “We pay homage to all the martyrs we lost in that attack. We are proud of our security forces. Their bravery will continue to inspire generations."
Modi also said India has undertaken a massive effort to become self-reliant in the defence sector. During his visit, Modi informed that one of the two defence corridors of the country is in Tamil Nadu. The corridor has already received investment commitments of over ₹8,100 crore.
The Prime Minister noted that Tamil Nadu is already the leading automobile manufacturing hub of India. Saying this, PM Modi handed over to the Army the homemade Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) here. At a function, he also accepted a salute by the state-of-the-art tank, indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured by DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment here. Fifteen academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs were also involved in the project. "This showcases India's united spirit – Bharat's Ekta Darshan," he said.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that The Discovery Campus of IIT Madras with 2-lakh square metre infrastructure to house world-class research centres.will be a leading centre of discovery and draw the best talent from all over India.
Modi said that this year’s Budget gives special importance to the development of India’s coastal areas. Extra credit mechanisms for fishermen communities, upgradation of Infrastructure relating to fishing with modern fishing harboursin five centres including Chennai and seaweed farming will improve lives of coastal communities. He also informed that for seaweed cultivation, a multi-purpose sea-weed park will come up in Tamil Nadu.
The Prime Minister announced that Centre has accepted their long-standing demand of Devendrakula Velalar community to be known as Devendrakula Velalar. They will now be known by their heritage name and not the six to seven names listed in the Schedule to the Constitution.
The draft Gazette to amend the Constitutional schedule to correct their name as DevendrakulaVelalar has been approved by the central government. It will be placed before the Parliament before the start of the next session.
He thanked the government of Tamil Nadu for the detailed study done on this demand. Modi said this decision is more than a change of name. It is about justice, dignity and opportunity. “It is our honour to work towards preserving and celebrating the culture of Tamil Nadu. The culture of Tamil Nadu is popular globally", he said.
PM Modi also asserted that the government has always taken care of the welfare and aspirations of our Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. Modi is the only Indian Prime Minister to visit Jaffna.
Speaking at the event, Modi said that the resources provided by this government in Tamal Nadu have been much more than in the past. The projects include 50,000 houses for displaced Tamils in North-Eastern Sri Lanka, 4,000 houses in the plantation areas.
"On the health side, we financed a free ambulance service which is widely used by the Tamil community. A hospital has been built in Dickoya.To boost connectivity, the railway network to Jaffna and to Mannar is being re-built," he said. He also added that flights have been established from Chennai to Jaffna. India has built the Jaffna Cultural Centre which will open soon.
“The issue of Tamil rights has also been taken up by us consistently with Sri Lankan leaders. We are always committed to ensuring that they live with equality, justice peace and dignity" said PM Modi
The Prime Minister also assured that the Government will always protect the rightful interests of fishermen and has always ensured early release whenever fishermen are apprehended in Sri Lanka. More than sixteen hundred fishermen have been released during the tenure of the current Government and there is no Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. Similarly, three hundred and thirteen boats have also been released, informed the Prime Minister.
Governor of Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker of Tamil Nadu Assembly Industries Minister of Tamil Nadu were present on the occasion.
PM Modi also met spiritual leader Bangaru Adigalar in Chennai. He is later scheduled to visit Kochi in Kerala today.