The Bharatiya Janata Party’s sweeping victory has raised Surtis’ expectations. They now are looking up to the party to solve issues such as lack of infrastructure, improving rail and air connectivity, expressway between Vadodara and Mumbai, incentives for industries in South Gujarat and reducing CNG prices.
In the past, the state government has blamed the Congress-led UPA government for price rise and alleged bias against Gujarat. With the new party in power, citizens are hoping that prime minister designate Narendra Modi will now be able to effect change.
“With the BJP in state and at the Center, we hope for more developed Surat airports and improved air connectivity as compared to other cities. Not only the business community, but ordinary citizens also want a functional airport that connects them to major Indian cities,” Kamlesh Yagnik, president of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.
Currently, Surat has limited trains plying to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and north Indian states. There are only three trains from Surat to north Indian states, despite the city being home to more than 5 lakh north Indian migrants.
“Most long-distance trains are jam-packed, and there are usually long waiting lists on popular trains year round. Western Railway earns Rs2 crore daily — current ticket sales and other sources — from Surat station, but has seldom tried to solve its long pending issues. We hope that the new government will pay attention to Surat,” Rakesh Shah, member of Zonal Users Railway Consultative Committee of Western Railway, said.
Regional industries will hold Modi to his promise of providing support, if voted to power. “Since 2009, Bharuch and Ankleshwar have been placed in ‘Critical Zone’, which has halted the growth of industries in the region and economy of local people. In the past five years, no new industry has come up in the area nor are existing industries granted permission for expansion. We have high hopes from new government,” Vishal Gajjar, president of Bharuch GIDC industries association said.
Industrialists in Bharuch district will also the request the union government to develop an air-strip at Ankleshwar, Gajjar added.