Pune: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attributed the success of Operation Ganga to evacuate citizens stranded in war-torn Ukraine to India’s growing influence in the global arena.

He said while big countries of the world are finding it (evacuation of people from Ukraine) difficult, “it is the growing influence of India that we have brought thousands of students back to our homeland”.

“We are evacuating thousands of Indians safely from the war zone through Operation Ganga, Modi said after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebration of Symbiosis University here in Maharashtra. He also inaugurated Aarogyam Dham of Symbiosis University.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister inaugurated a metro project in Pune city and also took a 10-minute ride on the train after buying a ticket from a kiosk.

The inauguration of the 12-km stretch of the total 32.2-km long route took place at the Garware metro station, from where Modi boarded the metro. He got down at Anandnagar station, located nearly five km away.

During the ride, the PM interacted with differently-abled students, some of them visually impaired.

Before inaugurating the metro service, Modi unveiled a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the premises of Pune civic body.

Addressing a public meeting at the MIT College ground after launching and laying the foundation stone of various projects, Modi said the Central government is trying to improve mass transportation, including the metro rail connectivity.

“The increasing population of cities brings a lot of opportunities, but at the same, there are challenges too. Flyovers in cities can be made up to a certain limit. With the increasing population, how many flyovers can be made and how will we widen the roads?”

“In such a situation, we have only one option, that is mass transportation, and that is why our government is giving importance to improving the mass transportation and metro rail connectivity,” he said.

Modi also took a veiled swipe at the erstwhile Congress governments over the “delay” in the completion of key projects.

“Earlier (during past governments), the foundation laying used to take place, but it was not known when the inauguration of the same project will take place,” he said.

Dwelling on the new approach to infrastructure-led growth in the country, the prime minister said that the most important thing for the development of modern infrastructure in any country is speed and scale.

“But for decades, we had such systems that the completion of important projects used to take a long time. This sluggish attitude has been affecting the development of the country as well, he said.

Modi virtually inaugurated a modern art gallery-cum-museum dedicated to legendary cartoonist R K Laxman during his Pune visit.

Addressing students at Symbiosis University, he said their generation is fortunate that it has not suffered the damaging impact of the earlier “defensive and dependent psychology”.

He said Puneites know very well how India showed its prowess to the world in the context of coronavirus vaccination. Covishield, the vaccine against coronavirus, is manufactured at Pune.

Modi said that in 21st century India, we have to make our cities modern and add new facilities.

“Keeping future cities of India in mind, the Centre is working on several projects simultaneously. Our government’s resolve is to have green transport, launch electric buses, electric cars and e-motorcycles and there has to be smart mobility in every city. People should use only one car for mobility,” the PM said.

He hailed the role of RERA Act, which was brought by the Centre, in protecting the interest of flat buyers.

The PM said that the Centre is emphasising the use of biofuel to cut down the dependency on crude oil and reduce pollution.

Modi also laid the foundation stone of rejuvenation and pollution abatement of the Mula-Mutha river project.

Before the PM arrived in Pune, Congress and NCP activists staged protests alleging that Modi had “insulted” Maharashtra by suggesting that the state had encouraged the spread of COVID-19 to other states.

Also read | 6 flights departed for India in last 24 hours under ‘Op Ganga’: EAM Jaishankar


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