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CM kicks off one-month long Gujarat Khel Mahakumbh 2011

State-level month-long Khel Mahakumbh-2011 invites registration by record 21-lakh athletes

“Gujarat to set up Sports University, beach sports along its long seacoast”

“Record 60,000 physically challenged, 27,000 kabaddi teams to take part”

– Narendra Modi

The second annual state-level month-long mega sports event, christened Khel Mahakumbh, has invited registration by record 21-lakh athletes in different events this year, surpassing last year’s participation by 14-lakh athletes.

Inaugurating the impressive opening ceremony at the Maharaja Sayajirao University Ground in Vadodara, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced that Gujarat would soon set up the Gujarat Sports University to encourage youths of the state excel in sports fields too, along with other avocations. He also announced his decision to start beach sports along its long 1,600-km coastline, to placeGujaratin international sports map.

The ceremony began with a colourful march past and cultural show, including a group dance by 4,200 sportswomen and sportsmen to the tune of a theme song, followed by song dance by famous film star Akshay Kumar, reflecting the enthusiasm and energy of the athletes – with a galaxy of 50 celebrated sportspersons in the spectators’ pavilion.

The preparation for this year’s 2nd Khel Mahakumbh began with lighting of the torch in Ahmedabad on 11-11-11, which toured acrossGujaratto arrive in Vadodara today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that it was for the first time that a special Olympic for 60,000 physically challenged, and beach sports for 3,500 athletes from the fishing community will be held during this year’s Khel Mahakumb. Over 27,000 kabaddi teams expected to participate during the Khel Mahakumbh is also set to create a record of sorts.

He wished this state-wide Khel Mahakumbh would generate youth’s interest in sports and emergence of a sports culture, which was missing so far. He stressed on the need for infusing sporting spirit in the genes of Gujaratis, in every town, every village and every house. Unfortunately, he said, even the nation of 120-crore lacked that sports culture. He said thatGujaratwould rope in Chinese sports management experts to provide adequate physical infrastructure, training and coaching facilities.

Sports Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela said the idea of Khel Mahakumbh is the Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s gift toGujaratin the year of its golden jubilee celebration.

Film star Akshay Kumar described Mr. Modi as a true sports lover and one who instilled the competition among youth. He exuded confidence that Mr. Modi’s slogan of ‘Ramshe Gujarat, Jitshe Gujarat’ would soon materialize into ‘Jitshe Hindustan’.

Ramshe Gujarat, Jitshe Gujarat ( Gujarat shall play, Gujarat shall win) slogan is very big in size and this slogan will travel to all states of this country and a day will come when Ramshe Hindustan, Jitshe Hindustan(India shall play, India shall win) will be achieved, said bollywood filmstar Akshay Kumar in his speech at Khel Mahakumbh 2011 inaugural function in Vadodara.

Akshay Kumar was special guest in this function. He sat with Chief Minister Narendra Modi and watched the inaugural extravaganza of one-month long Gujarat-wide sports festival with deep interest.

Akshay said, ” I am an actor, I don’t know very well, how to give a speech, but I know how to speak from heart.”

“You know how much Gujarat Chief Minister loves sports, and today this programme is happening because of him. The matter to notice is that he has not only put his heart into this sports festival but has also put his soul in it. I am very thankful to him for giving me an opportunity to witness this initiative,” he said.

In his speech Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi welcomed and thanked Akshay Kumar and said, “whenever I got opportunity to talk with him (Akshay), I observed his commitment to sports. Just now there were many exercises showcased in this ground, but when Judo karate group appeared Akshayji immediately stood up from his seat. He felt nice because he is from the world of black belt and even today he gives time for that.”

“Akshay is after me saying Modiji, Gujarat must have marshal art,” said Modi adding that Akshay’s this idea will be taken well through sports university inGujarat.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Vadodara District Guardian Minister Nitin Patel, other ministers, parliamentary secretaries, legislators, office-bearers, Sports Secretary Bhagyesh Jha, Gaekwad princely family members Ranjit Singhji, Dr. Mrinalini Devi and Shubahngini Devi.

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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today interacted with Governors of States regarding the Covid-19 situation and ongoing vaccination drive in the country, through video conferencing.

Prime Minister said that in the battle against Covid, along with the vaccines, our values and sense of duty are our biggest strengths. Praising the citizens who participated in this battle last year considering it their duty, he said that the same feeling of Janbhagidari needs to be encouraged now as well. He said that the role of the Governors, through appropriate utilization of their social capacity, thus becomes all the more critical to achieving this. Governors are an important link to ensure better coordination between State Governments and society, he said, adding that the combined power of all community organizations, political parties, NGOs and social institutions needs to be harnessed.

Prime Minister suggested that the Governors can actively engage to ensure that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with the State Governments towards micro containment. He said that their social network can help ensure an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals. Along with spreading the message about vaccination and treatment, the Governors can also spread awareness about AYUSH related remedies.

Prime Minister noted that our youth, our workforce, is an important part of our economy. Hence, it is important to ensure that our youth follows all Covid related protocols and precautions. He said that the Governors’ role is also critical in ensuring the greater engagement of our students in University campuses towards this Janbhagidari. We also need to focus on better utilization of facilities at University and College campuses, he added. He said that just like last year, NCC and NSS also have a key role to play this year as well. Prime Minister said that the Governors are an important pillar of Janbhagidari in this battle and their coordination with State Governments and guidance to institutions of the State will further strengthen the nation’s resolve.

Discussing the rise in the number of Covid cases, the Prime Minister said that in this stage of the fight against the virus, the country stands to gain from last year’s experience and improved healthcare capacity. He discussed the increase RTPCR testing capacity and noted that the country has become Aatmanirbhar with respect to kits and other material related to testing. All this has led to a reduction in the cost of RTPCR tests also. He added that most of the products related to testing are also available on the GeM portal. Prime Minister emphasized the significance of increasing tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60% to 70%. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested.

Prime Minister underlined that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of vaccines. He highlighted that India has become the fastest nation to reach the landmark of 10 crore vaccinations. Noting the positive impact of Tika Utsav in the last four days, he said that in this period, the vaccination drive was expanded and new vaccination centres also came up.

Interaction

The Vice President of India, Union Home Minister and Union Health Minister also attended the interaction.

The Vice President appreciated the Prime Minister for leading the fight against Covid and his proactive steps to develop the infrastructure required to tackle the pandemic. He also highlighted the scientific community's contribution in giving a vaccine to India and the whole world. He also talked about the contribution of healthcare workers, sanitation workers, and other frontline workers who have played a vital role during the pandemic.

The Vice President called upon the Governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their respective states and engaging with civil society organisations to spread awareness about covid-appropriate behaviour. The Vice president said that a 'Team India spirit' cutting across policy lines should be adopted, and in this regard, Governors as the 'Guardians of the State' could guide the State Governments.

Union Home Minister stressed the importance of saving each and every life. Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on Covid cases and vaccination drive. He gave an overview of how India has followed a proactive and pre-emptive approach in this endeavour.

The Governors shared details of how their respective states are tackling the spread of the virus and coordinating activities towards ensuring a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive, while also mentioning the deficiencies of healthcare facilities in the States.

They gave suggestions for further improvement in the efforts and shared plans of how Janbhagidari can be increased through the active social engagement of various groups.