Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday inaugurated India’s first full-fledged international criose terminal in Kochi, Kerala.
T3 carries here the PM’s speech:
Kochi is a city of trade and commerce. The people of this city understand that time is of the essence. They also appreciate the importance of proper connectivity. That is why, dedication of Ro-Ro Vessels to the nation is special. Almost thirty kilometres on road becomes 3.5 kilometres through waterways. This means: Convenience up. Commerce up. Capacity building up. Congestion down. Pollution down. Transport costs down.
Tourists come to Kochi not only as a transit point to go to other parts of Kerala. The culture, food, beaches, marketplaces, historical places and spiritual places here are widely known. The Government of India is undertaking many efforts to improve tourism related infrastructure here. The inauguration of Sagarika, the International Cruise Terminal in Kochi is one example of this. Sagarika Cruise Terminal brings both comfort and convenience for tourists. It will cater to over a lakh cruise guests.
I have been seeing something in the last few months. A lot of people are writing to me and even sharing pictures on social media about their travels locally. Since the global pandemic has affected international travel, people are going to nearby places. This is a great opportunity for us. On one hand, this means added livelihood to those in the local tourism industry. On the other hand, it makes the connect between our youth and our culture stronger. There is so much to see, learn and discover. I urge our young start-up friends to think about innovative tourism related products. I also urge you all to use this time and travel to as many nearby areas as possible. You would be happy to know that the tourism sector in India has been growing well in the last five years. In the World Tourism Index ranking, India moved from sixty fifth to thirty fourth position. But there is a lot more to be done and I am confident we will improve even more.
Two important factors that shape economic development are: Capacity Building and Making infrastructure modern for future needs. The next two development works are related to these themes. ‘Vigyan Sagar’, is the new knowledge campus of Cochin Shipyard. Through this, we are expanding our human resource development capital. This campus reflects the importance of skill development. It would particularly help those wanting to study marine engineering. In the times to come, I see a prime place for this sector. Youngsters who have knowledge in this domain will have many opportunities at their doorstep. As I said before, economic growth requires augmenting existing capacities. Here, we are laying the foundation stone of reconstruction of the South Coal Berth. This would bring down logistics costs and improve cargo capacities. Both are vital for the business to prosper.
Today, the definition and scope of infrastructure has changed. It is beyond only good roads; development works and connectivity between a few urban centres. We are looking at high quantity and top-quality infrastructure for the coming generations. Through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, Rupees hundred and ten lakh crore is being invested for infra creation. In that, special attention is being given to coastal parts, the Northeast and the mountain areas. Today India is embarking on an ambitious programme of broad-band connectivity to every village. Likewise, India is devoting topmost importance to developing our Blue Economy. Our vision and work in this sector include: More ports. Improving infrastructure in current ports. Off-shore energy, Sustainable Coastal development, Coastal connectivity.
This year’s Budget has devoted significant resources and schemes that will benefit Kerala. This includes the next phase of the Kochi Metro. This metro network has come up successfully and has set a good example of progressive work practices and professionalism.