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Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: Has BJP delivered on its infra promises made in 2012?

BJP's new manifesto focuses on infrastructure and youth, but has the saffron party delivered on it 2012 manifesto in the same fields?

December 14, 2017 / 04:33 PM IST

The ruling-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued its ‘Sankalp Patra’ or simply, the election manifesto for the ongoing Gujarat Assembly polls, just 17 hours ahead of the first phase of voting on Friday.

The launch took place after Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, took a dig at the BJP. The Congress had released its ‘people’s manifesto’ on December 4.

A day before the first phase of the polls, the issue of BJP not having released a manifesto also made it to the social media.

BJP’s 2017 manifesto – shades of 2012

Unlike the 2012 manifesto, the latest one has not made any ‘extravagant’ promises. The manifesto largely revolves around “overall development” and focus on infrastructure and youth.

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On the infrastructure front, the current manifesto has promised better irrigation facilities, timely implementation of Smart City projects and construction of multi-level parking lots.

Here’s a look at how the government has fared in terms of key infrastructure and transportation promises made in 2012:

Saurashtra to get Narmada water

The 2012 manifesto promised that “all dams of Saurashtra will be filled with Narmada water in the next three years” under the 'Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana' l (Phase 1) at a cost of Rs. 10,000 crore.

In April 2017, PM Modi dedicated Phase 1 of the project to the nation. It linked water of the Narmada river to flow into the Krishna Sagar Lake, Botad via irrigation canals.

Intra-state water transportation

As promised, the first roll-on, roll-off ferry project from Bhavnagar to Dahej was developed. The 'Ro-Ro' ferry service was inaugurated in October this year, ahead of the polls.

Earlier, a ferry service was also started between Okha and Beyt Dwarka.

According to a report by Scroll, the Prime Minister also claimed that this was the first project of its kind in India, insisting that no one else has built something as big as this. Kochi had earlier introduced a Ro-Ro barge service in 2011 between Willingdon Island and Vallarpadam but it faced disruptions.

According to the report, the project was originally supposed to be completed by 2013, at a cost of Rs 296 crore. However, it was completed in 2017 at a cost of Rs 614 crore. The engineers are also yet to build the 96-metre steel linkspan that will enable vehicles moving from land onto the ferries.

Dholera International Airport, Ahmedabad

The manifesto had promised a new international airport at Dholera which would serve Ahmedabad. As of December 2017, the project has only been approved in principle and construction is yet to begin.

Metro rail and Bus Rapid Transit System

The BJP government had promised "modern, fast and public transport systems such as BRTS and Metro". The manifesto talked about the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro Rail service (MEGA) at a cost of Rs. 15,000 crore along with BRTS services in other cities.

While BRTS services were already functioning in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, the service was rolled out in Surat. On July 9, as many as 1.5 lakh commuters were using the BRTS service in Surat. The Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro project is currently under construction.

State-wide broadband connectivity

The BJP had stated in its manifesto that there will be broadband connectivity across the state. "WiFi facilities will be made available on public places and commercial centres," the manifesto stated.

On October 13, the government announced that it had rolled out the ‘Urban WiFi Project’ under the Gujarat State Urban Area Network (GSUAN). As many as 56 municipalities of class ‘A’ and ‘B’ were covered in the first stage, which included bus-stands, civil hospitals, town library and areas with heavy public movement. However, the project has not taken off in rural areas.

Housing

In 2012, the BJP, under then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, had promised construction of 50 lakh houses, including 28 lakh houses in rural area and 22 lakh houses in urban area in the next five years. The promise was the key highlight of the manifesto.

Continuing with the same promise, without specifying a time-frame or giving numbers, the party said it will convert villages into "smart villages" and construct "pucca houses for poor families". In addition, BJP has promised to construct toilets in every house in rural Gujarat.

As of March 2017, the state had built at least 25,873 houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which started in 2015. However, it remains unclear as to home many houses were built by the state government under its own schemes.
Nachiket Deuskar
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