AHEMDABAD: India did not let the pace of development slow down even during the pandemic that affected the entire world, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday and added that the country has won the fight against coronavirus.

“When the wheel of development came to a halt across the world, in India, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the pace of development continued.

“We fought strongly against coronavirus and even won the fight, and at the same time, carried on with the development,” the Union home minister said in his address delivered virtually to mark the completion of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s five years in office, which is being celebrated as ‘Vikas Divas’.

Shah also virtually inaugurated and laid foundation stones of projects collectively worth Rs 5,300 crore.

Shah said projects worth around Rs 900 crore (of the total project cost of Rs 5,300 crore) are taken up in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency while projects worth Rs 630 crore were inaugurated and foundation stones were laid for other projects worth Rs 241 crore.

“The fact that the projects worth Rs 3,322 crore related to roads, bridges, water and electric supply, houses for the poor etc., being inaugurated today means that they were constructed and completed entirely during the coronavirus pandemic period.

“In Gujarat, the inauguration of projects worth Rs 3,322 crore and (launching) many such projects in the last ten days shows that even during the coronavirus pandemic period, Gujarat ensured that the development never stops,” said Shah, who also holds the Cooperation Ministry.

Rupani and Nitin Patel had sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, of Gujarat on August 7, 2016.

They assumed office once more in December 2017 after the BJP won again in the Assembly elections.

He said the people of Gujarat fought against the pandemic well under the leadership of PM Modi, CM Rupani and Deputy CM Patel, and with the unforgettable contribution of BJP workers.

“We have crossed both the first and second waves (of the coronavirus pandemic) once again to continue on the path of development,” he said.

Shah said Gujarat is either ranked first or is on its way to get top ranking in different areas.

He praised the leadership of Rupani and Patel for ensuring that even after Modi became prime minister (for the first time in 2014), the development works in Gujarat continued without interruption.

He also hailed the CM and the deputy CM for the COVID-19 vaccination work in Gujarat.

“Narendrabhai has started a new system in the country’s democracy so that even when a leader is not serving as the chief minister, the development work continues on its own.

“I am proud that Narendrabhai started a system in Gujarat where even after he went (to the Centre as PM), the development work continued, and Vijaybhai (Rupani) and Nitinbhai (Patel) added momentum to development on the path shown by Narendra Modi.

They have ensured peace, safety in Gujarat and are working for all-around development,” he said.

Shah thanked his cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari, who heads the Road Transport and Highways ministry, for the construction of five over-bridges, two of which were inaugurated on Saturday, on the road connecting Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.

Shah appealed to Gujaratis settled outside the state to participate in the “Vatan Prem Yojana” under which they can make a monetary contribution for the development of their native villages or districts, with the state government making 40 per cent contribution.

The Yojana was launched by the Gujarat government at the function on Saturday.

He also slammed the Opposition for questioning the feasibility of the Sujalam Sufalam Yojana which was proposed by Modi when was chief minister of Gujarat.

Under the Yojana, various works such as deepening of lakes, desilting and repairing of existing water bodies, cleaning of water canals are being carried out.

“The Opposition had criticised that scheme saying will the pipes carry air? I would like to say to my friends in Opposition that the water from these pipelines has reached Banaskantha, and to every village in the Saurashtra region. The work to rid the state of ‘tanker raaj’ started by Modi is almost complete today,” he said.