New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said development and environment protection can continue simultaneously, while affirming his government’s commitment towards conserving water.

Speaking at a public meeting in Kevadia, Gujarat, Modi said while water conservation has continued in Gujarat, it has been taken up nationally also and people are making efforts to save water.

“I am confident that mission to conserve water will be successful in the country. People of Gujarat have suffered because of scarcity of water but due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, people of different states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh will benefit," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The PM is expected to spend most of the day in his home state Gujarat as he celebrates his 69th birthday. While the day began with PM meeting his mother in Ahmedabad, he is scheduled to hold several rounds of meetings to discuss development projects in Gujarat during his visit. Last year, Modi was in his constituency, Varanasi, to celebrate his birthday.

Modi said because of the scheme of per drop, more crop, more than 19 lakh hectares of land have been brought under micro irrigation which has benefitted at least 12 lakh farmers in Gujarat.

“In 2001, only 26% of homes in Gujarat had access to drinking water supply but now because of the work of government and support of people more than 78% homes have access to drinking water. The union government has decided to provide every home in the country with drinking water facility," the PM added.

Although Modi does not celebrate his birthday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked all its 303 Members of Parliament (MPs) and 78 MPs in Rajya Sabha to spend the day in their constituency. BJP leaders have been asked to celebrate the week as Sewa Saptah starting from 14 September.

Senior leaders have also decided to spend the day urging people to stop using single-use plastic and promote cleanliness drive.

PM also urged people to stop using single-use plastic in the state and save water, land and forests from plastic waste. Modi said the entire country is working towards ending use of single-use plastic.

Modi said the union government was taking decisions without delay and expediting development work in the second term of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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