India's Narendra Modi inaugurates Deoghar airport and billion-dollar projects in Jharkha

Prime minister's trip to the region resembles a political rally, with thousands of cheering supporters

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the launch of 'Digital India Week 2022’ in Gandhinagar, on July 4. AFP
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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated an airport and several other developmental projects worth billions of dollars at a Hindu pilgrimage city in India’s eastern Jharkhand state.

Mr Modi was on a one-day trip to Doeghar — home to Baidyanath Dham, one of the most sacred abodes of Hindu deity Lord Shiva.

More than 10 million pilgrims throng to the temple every year from across the country.

Big banners and posters of the prime minister were put up along an 11.5 kilometre-long stretch of road, where supporters cheered his motorcade as he waved from an open door of his vehicle, flanked by security guards.

There was a festive mood in the city, as hundreds of local residents lit 100,000 earthen lamps on the eve of his arrival to the city.

Mr Modi said the airport, the second in the state, will provide better connectivity for pilgrims.

He also laid the foundation stone of multiple road projects and two large pilgrimage congregation halls, with a capacity of 2,000 pilgrims each, at Baidyanath Dham.

He also inaugurated an inpatient department and operating theatre at the government-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a hospital which aims to provide specialised health care to the public.

“Everybody feels happy visiting Baba’s Dham. With his blessings, today, we have inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of projects worth 16,000 crore (about $43 million),” Mr Modi said at the ceremony.

The development projects aim to boost infrastructure, enhance connectivity and transport, and improve facilities for tourists.

“These projects will boost health, tourism, business and create job opportunities for the people in the region and also benefit people from neighbouring eastern states of Bihar and Bengal,” he said.

The prime minister also launched various energy infrastructure projects for the mineral-rich region.

He laid the foundation stone for three railway projects, including one to revamp a railway station in state capital Ranchi to provide world-class passenger amenities.

“The proposed redeveloped Ranchi Station will have world-class passenger amenities including a food court, executive lounge, cafeteria, air-conditioned waiting halls, for ensuring ease of movement as well as comfort of the passengers,” a press statement said.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 11:44 AM