Prime Minister Narendra Modi planting a sapling at the inauguration of the International Cooperation and Convention Centre - Rudraksh, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday (Image courtesy: PIB)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated and laid foundation stones of development projects in Varanasi worth more than Rs 1,500 crore. He also inaugurated the International Cooperation and Convention Centre, 'Rudrakash', which has been constructed with Japanese assistance later in the day.
After reaching Varanasi, PM Modi inaugurated various public projects and works, including a 100-bed MCH wing in BHU, multi-level parking at Godauliya, Ro-Ro vessels for tourism development on river Ganga and a three-lane flyover bridge on the Varanasi-Ghazipur highway.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that despite Covid, the pace of development remains intact in Kashi. He added that the 'International Cooperation and Convention Center – Rudraksh' is the result of this creativity and dynamism. He said this Centre shows the strong connect between India and Japan. He lauded Japan's effort in helping to build the convention centre.
PM Modi recalled that Prime Minister of Japan Suga Yoshihide was the Chief Cabinet Secretary at that time. From then till he became the Prime Minister of Japan; he has been personally involved in this project. Modi added that every Indian is grateful to him for his affinity towards India.
He also recalled the moment when he had a discussion with the then Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe on the idea of Rudraksh when he came to Kashi. The Prime Minister said this building has both the shine of modernity and cultural glow, it has the connection of India Japan relationship as well as scope of future cooperation also, he added.
PM Modi said that from his visit to Japan this kind of people-to-people relations were envisaged and projects like Rudraksh and Zen Garden in Ahmedabad symbolize this relationship.
"The friendship between Japan and India is one of the most trusted one in the world, both strategically and economically, and Japan has always been the most reliable partner in India's development. The Varanasi International Cooperation and Convention Centre, named Rudraksh, will be the biggest source of power for new India," said the PM during the opening ceremony.
"With Rudraksh, Varanasi will become the centre of art, culture and business promotion. Rudraksh is now the new development hub of Varanasi. I would like to thank the Japanese people and the Japanese government for their efforts in building this Rudraksh," he added.
Prime Minister Suga warmly reciprocated PM Modi’s warmth in a video message. "I am very pleased to see that the (Varanasi) International Cooperation and Convention Center was built as a symbol of friendship between Japan and India. I hope that this center will be used as a stage to showcase close Japan-India cooperation through hosting international conferences and cultural and art events, and become a new symbol of friendship between Japan and India," said the Japanese PM.
He also said during his address that Japan and India are making utmost efforts to further develop the bilateral ties under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership, through cooperation in areas as green society, digital, cyber, healthcare and enhancing connectivity.
PM Modi lauded Japan for being one of the most trusted friends of India today in both the strategic and economic spheres. He added that India’s friendship with Japan is considered one of the most natural partnerships in the entire region. India and Japan are of the view that our development should be linked with our gaiety. This development should be all-round, should be for all, and should be all-encompassing.
The Prime Minister said songs, music and art flow from veins in Banaras. Here on the ghats of the Ganges so many arts have been developed, knowledge has reached the summit and so many serious thoughts related to humanity have taken place. That is how Banaras can become a huge global centre of music, religion, spirit and of knowledge and science. He added that this Centre will be a cultural hub and a medium to unite different people. He requested the people of Kashi to preserve this Centre.
“Now that Kashi which is the real Shiva has worn this Rudraksh, the development of Kashi will shine more, and the beauty of Kashi will increase more,” the Prime Minister remarked.
The VCC has a main hall with a seating capacity of 1200 people and the latest stage, lights and sound equipment, as well as a conference room, artist make-up rooms and other related facilities together with 120-car parking space. In addition to the construction cost of the VCC, the Grant Aid also included the provision of know-how transfer on the operationalization of the centre and general management, including the planning of cultural and other related international events.