Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stones for 23 projects totaling over Rs 17,500 crore in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani on Thursday. The Prime Minister recently laid the foundation stone for a branch of the famed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Udham Singh Nagar.

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PM Modi also spoke to a crowd at Haldwani, where he announced a ‘New Year gift’ for the district’s residents. “We are bringing a scheme worth Rs 2,000 crore for the development of the overall infrastructure of Haldwani, for water, sewage, road, parking and street lights,” he said.

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The Prime Minister also praised the people of Uttarakhand  and said the next ten years would be the “decade of Uttarakhand.”

Irrigation, roads, housing, health infrastructure, industrial, sanitation, and drinking water supply are among the sectors covered by these projects, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

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The Lakhwar Multipurpose Project, estimated to cost around Rs 5,750 crore, is one of the projects for which the Prime Minister laid a foundation stone. This project was first planned in 1976 and has been on hold for a long time.

It will provide drinking water to the six states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, as well as irrigation for 34,000 hectares of extra land.

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A number of road projects were either inaugurated or had foundation stones set for them. Among them are the four-laning of the 85-kilometer Moradabad-Kashipur Road (at a cost of over Rs 4,000 crore), the two-laning of the 22-kilometer Gadarpur-Dineshpur-Madkota-Haldwani road (SH-5) and the 18-kilometer Kiccha-Pantnagar road (SH-44), the construction of the 8-kilometer Khatima bypass in Udham Singh Nagar, and the construction of the four-lane National Highway (NH109D) being built at an expense of over Rs 175 crore.

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The connectivity of the Garhwal, Kumaon and Terai regions, as well as the connectivity between Uttarakhand and Nepal, will be improved through these road projects.

This would be the state’s second AIIMS, following the one in Rishikesh, which opened in 2012. It will serve not just the Kumaon and Terai regions, but also the bordering parts of Uttar Pradesh.

The inaugural celebrations on Thursday take place months before Uttarakhand’s high-stakes assembly elections. The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won elections in 2017, is hoping for a repeat victory.

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are the other main contestants in this year’s elections.