French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday inaugurated a solar power plant built with French collaboration in Uttar Pradesh.
The move came one day after the leaders formally launched the International Solar Alliance Initiative (ISA), an inter-governmental organisation that aims to help sunshine-rich countries around the world harness solar energy at an affordable cost.
Macron, who is on a four-day visit to India, unveiled the 100MW plant in Dadarkala.
The plant has been built in collaboration with French company Engie Solar and is one of the projects under ISA.
Smiling all along and holding hands off and on, both Modi and Macron unveiled the inaugural plaque in the presence of federal minister Anupriya Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and French First Lady Brigitte Macron, besides others.
The power plant has been built at a cost of Rs6.5bn over a stretch of 380 acres in the Vindhya mountain range.
The plant has 118,000 solar panels and the power produced there will be transmitted to the Jigna Power sub-station of the Power Corp.
The electricity produced will then be divided into ‘a’ and ‘b’ sections of Mirzapur and the remaining electricity will be supplied to Allahabad.
Officials said the generation of power will begin with the first rays of the sun and the plant will shut down with sunset.
The plant has 318,650 solar plates with each plate having a generation capacity of 315 watt. It can feed 150,000 households every day.
The two leaders also visited a handicrafts centre in the ancient Hindu holy city of Varanasi, which is Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
Macron and his wife Brigitte walked through the Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul, a trade facilitation centre, where they saw samples of locally woven silk Banarasi saris and carpets from Mirzapur and interacted with artisans.
The prime Minister told the French president about various handicrafts on display at the stalls.
They briefly halted to hear the locals playing shehnaai.
The two retired for lunch at the Nadesar five-star hotel, belonging to the Taj Group.
While Macron stayed back at the hotel to rest, Modi drove to keep his other engagements.
They also watched a brief show of Ramleela, a song-and-dance account based on Rama.
The two leaders later took a boat ride on the river Ganges, along the riverbank’s famous ghats (steps) that have existed for thousands of years.
Modi briefed Macron about the history and significance of various. The president asked him some questions and Modi promptly responded.
The two leaders held talks in New Delhi on Saturday which was followed by the signing of several accords.
Earlier in the day, the Lodhi Colony area of Delhi which was transformed into India’s very first open public art district as part of the St+art Festival in 2015 was graced by Brigitte Macron.
St+art senior architect Pierre Guyot, who conducted the special tour for Macron walked with her for an hour-and-a-half across the Art District. Macron was impressed by the diversity of techniques used by artists, St+art India Foundation said in a statement.
She was particularly impressed by the creation of an open air art museum that offers art to all in the most relatable and engaging manner.
“It was a great honour for the organisation to receive the first lady of France at the Lodhi Art District for a special curated tour. Mrs Macron’s momentous visit reaffirms St+art’s strong partnership with the French government in India and we hope to continue this partnership for many years to come,” said Arjun Bahl, co-founder and director St+art India Foundation.
The visit also highlights the collaboration between St+art India Foundation and the French institutions in India (Embassy of France, Institute Francaise, Alliance Francaise), which recently culminated in four projects across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkataand Chandigarh as part of the Bonjour India project.
lCongress president Rahul Gandhi met the French president on Sunday and said they discussed issues common to both democracies including fake news and looked forward to collaborating with him on issues like climate change.
“Yesterday, I met Macron. We discussed a range of issues common to our liberal democracies, including fake news. I look forward to building on this meeting and to collaborating with him on global challenges such as climate change,” Gandhi tweeted attaching a picture with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Macron.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive by boat to a ‘ghat’ during a visit to Varanasi yesterday.