Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday visit Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, and inaugurate 34 development projects worth about Rs 1,000 crore, while also flagging off the Mahakaal Express to link Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar, and dedicating to the nation the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial Centre.
During the day-long visit, the Prime Minister will also unveil a 63-foot statue of Deendayal Upadhyaya. "This will be the largest statue of the leader in the country. More than 200 artisans were working day and night for the last one year to complete the statue," the Prime Minister's Office said.
At a public function, PM Modi will dedicate to the nation 34 projects that will include a 430-bed superspeciality government hospital at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and a 74-bed psychiatry hospital at the varsity. The superspeciality hospital, built at a cost of Rs 164 crore, will aid about 200 million people from seven neighbouring states and Nepal. Modi laid the foundation of the facility in December, 2016.
The Mahakaal Express, which the PM will flag off through video link, will connect the three "jyotirling pilgrim centres" of Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar. This will be the first overnight-journey private train in the country, the government said.
Of the 34 projects scheduled to be inaugurated on Sunday, 16 are related to the construction of roads at a cost of about Rs 240 crore. The PM will also lay the foundations of 14 development projects in his parliamentary constituency. These are estimated to be worth about Rs 200 crore.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate development projects worth Rs 1,000 crore to the nation and will lay the foundation of projects worth Rs 200 crore during his visit to Varanasi on February 16. All preparations regarding the visit have been completed," Varanasi divisional commissioner Deepak Agarwal said.
The Prime Minister is also scheduled to participate in the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of Shri Jagadguru Vishwaradhya Gurukul. He is scheduled to release the translated version of the Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth in 19 languages and a related mobile app.
The PM will also inaugurate the Centre for Vedic Research at BHU. The centre has been developed to preserve India's culture and heritage, conduct multidisciplinary research and spread awareness.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Kashi region spokesperson Navratan Rathi said: "Party workers will give a rousing welcome to PM Modi in Varanasi."
According to an official in Varanasi, the PM will address a public rally and inaugurate the Chowkaghat-Lehartara overbridge in the city.
Modi will also inaugurate the two-day Kashi Ek, Roop Anek exhibition at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Hastakala Sankul. There, he will interact with buyers and artisans from different countries including the US, England and Australia. 'Kashi Ek Roop Anek' will showcase products from more than 100 artisans from all over UP.
(With inputs by Sudhir Kumar in Varanasi)