Varanasi, Nov 7 (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he will work for "improving the living conditions of the poor and developing the region" as he laid the foundation stone of a Rs 200-crore Trade Facilitation Centre here.
This is Modi's maiden visit to the city after becoming the Prime Minister.
"I believe in doing rather than making tall claims. You have expressed faith in me and showered me with love.
"I can assure the people of Kashi that I will never let them down and to the best of my abilities work for improving the living conditions of the poor and developing the region," said Modi who flew down Friday on a two-day visit to Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency.
Arriving in an air force chopper at the venue Bada Lalpur, the Prime Minister first went around a handicrafts exhibition where pottery, wooden toys, paintings, Banarasi sari, meenakari and carpets were at display.
Modi then laid the foundation stone of the Trade Facilitation Centre, spread over eight acres.
The Centre would offer facilities from availability of raw material to sale and export facilities for the final product.
After seeing a model of the proposed centre, Modi suggested some changes to Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Gangwar.
He later laid the foundation of a Powerloom service centre and a crafts museum, which too will be part of the trade facilitation centre.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said this was a beginning of his dream for Varanasi.
Referring to the immense potential of handicraft in Varanasi and eastern UP, Modi said after agriculture, the textile sector offered the maximum employment.
Calling for tapping of this potential and using the craft strategically for availing the trade opportunities in the world, Modi said that while he will make no big announcements during his maiden visit to Varanasi and he would ensure that there is no dearth of funds for various projects which will be set rolling in the time to come.
He also stressed on the need of technology upgrade and assimilation of the e-business environment in their trade arena.
He was received at Babatpur airport by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Modi had a brief chat with Yadav on the tarmac.
Modi adopts a village in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi today adopted a village in his Varanasi parliamentary constituency and exhorted its residents to combine their collective strength to educate the children and ensure hygiene.
Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Varanasi, was accorded a grand welcome at Jayapur village. Village women garlanded him and put a vermillion tika on his forehead.
After a brief interaction with village elders and village head Durga Devi, Modi addressed the enthusiastic gathering, seeking their support in developing the village.
Trashing media reports on the criteria for selecting Jayapur village, the prime minister said the village drew his attention when he came to know that five people had died in a fire here.
"Jo sankat ke samay sambandh bante hain wo rishte chiranjeev hote hain" (The bonds forged during testing times are everlasting)," Modi said.
He then said while the villagers may be expecting grand announcements from him for the village, he will not choose to make them public now and rather do the work. He also sought the support of people in ushering in the change.
"I do not talk big, I was not born like that that. I say small things and do big things," he said while pointing out that if only tall pronouncements by earlier governments had borne fruits, this village would not have in the poor state it is now.
Modi told the villagers that they should combine their collective strength and put it to good use, like educating the children, ensuring hygiene and making cleanliness a family priority, and celebrating birth of a girl child.
Saying that today in fact the village was adopting him as a parliamentarian and not vice versa, Modi said time had come when the people should realize their strength and rather than merely waiting for government help, should come forward to improve their lot.
Jayapur is a typical Uttar Pradesh village with a population of about 4,200. The population has a mix of Brahmins Musahar, Yadavs, Patels, Bhumihars, Bania, Kumhar and Dalits. There is only one primary school in the village and the lone internediate college is about 10 km away. Incidentally the village has no Muslims.