Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation of several irrigation projects in Jharkhand, including Rs 2,391.36 crore Mandal dam, that will provide irrigation to 19,604-hectare area in Palamu and Garhwa districts.

The Mandal dam, work on which began in 1972, but was stalled since 1993, will be built on the North Koel river in Barwadih block of Latehar district.

Taking a dig at previous governments, Modi said they were least bothered about farmers’ welfare in Jharkhand, and the delay in completing the Mandal dam project was proof of that.

“We consider farmers as ‘annadata’ (provider of food), unlike the previous governments who considered them as mere vote bank,” the prime minister said.

“There wouldn’t have been a need for farmers to take loans had the previous Congress governments completed the projects that were meant to benefit farmers. First, they forced farmers to take loans, now they’re misleading them in the name of loan waivers,” he said in Palamu.

Modi also thanked the Bihar and the Jharkhand governments for working towards the interests of the farmers’ community.

“I am glad that foundations of several development projects to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore were laid here today. The projects will help in realising our vision of doubling farmers’ income,” Modi said.

Modi, prior to addressing a public rally, also handed over keys of houses to five beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. He said he wants future Prime Minister to take forward the scheme.

“We didn’t make Narendra Modi Awas Yojana, we didn’t make Namo Awas Yojana, we didn’t make Raghubar Das Awas Yojana, we made Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana so that the next PM can take the work forward,” he said.

Modi said his government was initially criticized for “offering nothing new” under the housing proposal.

“Our aim is to provide housing for all, be it the rural areas or the urban areas. We do not believe in naming schemes after politicians, the benefit doled out under these schemes is what matters,” he said, adding that the homes provided under the scheme will have all basic amenities, including gas connection, electricity and toilets.

The NDA government believes in transparency, there is no scope for brokers to take advantage of the farmers, the PM maintained.

“We are working in a transparent manner by directly depositing money in the accounts of beneficiaries of government schemes. There is no place for brokers in the system,” he asserted.

During Prime Minister Modi’s visit, the foundation stone was also laid for the Sone canal pipeline irrigation project worth Rs 1,169.28 crore, benefiting Garhwa district.

Four other projects for which the foundation stones were laid are: renovation and lining work of Bater Vier Irrigation Project, renovation of Bain Banki Reservoir Project, renovation and lining work of Anjanva Reservoir Project and renovation and lining work for Brahmani irrigation project (in Chakradharpur block of West Singhbhum district).

He will also visit Odisha today where he will he will launch a basket of central government projects worth more than Rs 4500 crore in Mayurbhanj district’s Baripada.

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