Say along with me with both your hands up ... Narmade .... Narmade ... Narmade ... Sarvade ... Narmade .... Narmade ... Narmade ....
Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijaybhai
Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Bhai; My great brothers and sisters present in large numbers and all the dignitaries present on the stage!
At one point of time I was into photography. I loved taking photos. Over time my photography stopped but today as I am sitting here, I feel the urge to take some snaps. I am missing my camera. The view I am seeing from above is such that there is a river of people (Jan sagar) below, a river of water (Jal sagar) behind and I will also request all the people with camera, who have already taken a lot of our pictures, to shift the angle to the other side and click the photo of how Jan sagar and Jal sagar are converging. Perhaps such a view is very rare in the world of photography. And I also congratulate the administrators here for their aesthetic sense in choosing this location.
It's a great privilege to have got the opportunity to visit Maa Narmada on this day, and to offer prayers and I am thankful to all of you, and the Government of Gujarat for inviting me to be a part of in Namami Devi Narmada ceremony. I also congratulate all the people of Gujarat for this festival and today I want to say that the scheme benefits the people, the farmers of four states Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
In our culture it has always been believed that development can happen even while protecting the environment. Nature is worshipped by us; nature is our jewel. A live example of how development can be brought about while preserving the environment is now seen in Kevadia.
Since this morning I have had the opportunity to visit many places. And at every place I have experienced the wonderful synergy of nature and development. On one side there is Sardar Sarovar dam and electricity generating equipment, while on the other side there are very beautiful arrangements related to eco-tourism like Ekta Nursery, Butterfly Garden, Cactus Garden etc. Amidst all this, the grand statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is seen blessing us. I think Kevadia is having a wonderful confluence of progress, nature, environment and tourism and it is a great inspiration for all.
Today is also the birth anniversary of Vishwakarma ji, the God of creation. In our resolution of moving towards creating a New India, creativity like Lord Vish wakarma and willpower to achieve big goals are also very important. We all pray to Lord Vish wakarma to keep his blessings on India.
Today, as I am talking to you, the world's tallest statue of Sardar Saheb and the Sardar Sarovar Dam both are the symbols of willpower.
I believe that with his inspiration we will fulfill and accomplish every resolve and achieve every goal associated with the New India.
This occasion today is also very emotional. The dream that Sardar Patel had seen is being fulfilled after decades and that too is happening in front of those eyes of the grand statue of Sardar Saheb.
We have seen the Sardar Sarovar dam full for the first time. There was a time when reaching the target of 122 meters was considered a great accomplishment. But today, within 5 years, the filling of Sardar Sarovar by 138 meters is amazing and simply unforgettable.
Lakhs of people have contributed to bring us to the present day situation. The contribution was made by the most ordinary citizens. The sages and saints have also played an important role. Many social organizations have also contributed. Today is the day to express gratitude to those lakhs of friends who have contributed to this Sardar Sarovar Project. I salute every such person.
The enthusiasm in Kevadia today is as much as the enthusiasm in the whole of Gujarat. Today, the work of cleaning drains, ponds, lakes, rivers is being done. In the coming days, a large scale tree planting campaign is also planned. It is certainly a laudable and an admirable work. This is the inspiration on which the Jal-Jeevan mission is going to move forward and the water conservation movement in the country is going to be successful. We have to carry forward the successful experiments in Gujarat, the experiments of public participation, and many important tasks related to public participation. I would urge such friends who have been associated with such kind campaigns through public participation in the villages of Gujarat for decades to share their experiences across the country.
Mother Narmada is now blessing those areas of Kutch and Saurashtra today where once water could not reach for many weeks. There were days in Gujarat decades ago when bullets were shot during water wars. The daughters and sisters had to walk 5-5, 10-10 kilometers to make arrangements for drinking water. On the onset of summer the people of Saurashtra and North Gujarat had to travel hundreds of kilometers with their livestock in search of areas with water. There they were forced to leave their houses, villages and fields. I remember that in the summer of 2000, the condition was such that Rajkot had to run a special water train for providing water to Surya Nagar and Jam Nagar for the first time.
When we think of those old days today, it seems that Gujarat has come so far today. You are proud or not? Are you happy? When you gave me the responsibility here, the dual challenge before us was to speed up the work of Dam for irrigation, drinking water and electricity. On the other hand, the Narmada canal network was also to be extended and alternative irrigation system was also enhanced. Just imagine, till the year 2001, the work of the main canal could be completed only for 150 kilometers. The irrigation system and the network of canals were unfinished, incomplete and in a limbo. But all of you, the people of Gujarat have never lost courage.
Today, an extensive network of irrigation schemes has emerged in Gujarat. In the last 17-18 years, almost double the land has been brought under irrigation.
Brothers and sisters,
You can imagine that the area under drip irrigation, micro irrigation was only 14 thousand hectares in the year 2001 and about 8000 farmers families only were able to benefit from it. With 'Per drop more crop' campaign, campaign to save water, micro irrigation and drip irrigation today we have about 19 lakh hectares of land under the same micro irrigation. And about 12 lakh farmer families are getting its benefits. This would not have been possible without your cooperation. This was not possible without the sensitivity of the farmers sitting in the villages of Gujarat. The result of Gujarat's farmers accepting new science and technology was that we could accomplish such a big dream. Per drop more crop could reach every field in Gujarat. Recently, IIM Ahmedabad had conducted a study on this. I also want to tell you and the nation about it.
This study revealed that due to micro irrigation like drip and sprinkler irrigation Gujarat has saved water up to 50 per cent. Fertilizer use decreased by 25 per cent. Labor cost was reduced by 40 per cent and additionally savings from electricity were also there. Moreover, on the one hand there was savings while on the other hand there was an increase of up to 30 per cent in crop yield. Also, there was an increase in the income of every farmer family by about fifteen and a half thousand rupees per hectare.
I remember that when Narmada water reached Kutch I had said that water would prove to be a paras (philosopher's stone) for Kutch, today I am happy that the water of Mother Narmada is proving to be a paras for not only Kutch and Saurashtra but also for a large part of Gujarat. Narmada water is not just water. It is Paras which turns the soil into gold as soon as it touches the soil. Not only has the Irrigation facility improved due to Narmada water, but the percentage of tap water has also increased almost three times in the last two decades. In the year 2001, only 26 per cent of the households in Gujarat had water from the tap. That is, since the work of providing water through taps in the house started in the country till the year 2001, only 26 per cent houses were covered for nearly 5 decades. Today, as a result of your efforts and Gujarat government's schemes that 78 per cent of the households in the state get water from the tap. Now with this inspiration, we have to achieve the goal of delivering water in every house across the country.
Brothers and sisters,
Today with schemes like SAUNI Yojana, Sujalam-Sufalam Yojana, the villages and cities of Gujarat are fast connecting with water network. I congratulate first the former Chief Minister of the Government of Gujarat Anandiben Patel and the incumbent Chief Minister Rupani ji and the previous governments under which the mission of connecting every house, every field with water was successfully carried out.
The farmers of Gujarat have benefitted from the irrigation facility. Earlier farmers used to grow traditional crops only. But once the irrigation facilities were provided, the cash crops started to grow and the inclination towards horticulture increased. Recently another study has come out which shows that this change has increased the income of many farming families.
Brothers and sisters,
Many efforts are going on in many directions to double the income of every farming family of the country including Gujarat by 2022. After the formation of the new government, several steps have been taken in this direction in the last 100 days. The benefit of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi is now being extended to every farmer family of Gujarat.
A few days ago a pension scheme for small farmers, small shopkeepers, and small traders has also started. Its benefit will also be given to the farmer families of Gujarat and the country.
A comprehensive system of transport via water is also being prepared for farmers, traders and other citizens of Gujarat. I have had the privilege of starting the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro Ferry Service. I have been told that till now more than 1.25 lakh passengers have used this ferry facility. Moreover, about 70 thousand vehicles have also been transported with its help. Imagine, earlier you had to drive around 350 kilometers by road. Now you have to travel only 31 kilometers by sea. Compare the distance of 350 kilometers and 31 kilometers! This facility has increased the convenience of the people and has also saved their time. The environment is also protected and has also facilitated financially.
A similar service is being considered from Mumbai to Hazira. The Government of Gujarat has given constitutional consent to this. Work on it will start very soon. Water tourism in Gujarat is also getting boosted by projects like Ro-Ro Ferry.
When it comes to tourism, the discussion of the Statue of Unity is natural. Due to this, Kevadia and Gujarat have been prominently on the tourism map of the whole world. It has been inaugurated only about 11 months back; not even a year has passed, but in 11 months so far more than 23 lakh tourists from all over the country and the world have come to see Sardar Patel's Statue of Unity.
On an average 8500 tourists come here every day. I am told that on the day of Janmashtami last month, more than 34 thousand tourists had visited this place. When you see such a big achievement, you can guess that if the average number of people visiting the Statue of Liberty of America is 10,000 per day, although it has been 133 years old, the Statue of Unity is only 11 months old and 8500 tourists visit it per day. The visits made by 23 lakh people in 11 months is a unique wonder in itself.
Brothers and sisters,
The Statue of Unity is also becoming a medium of employment for the tribal brothers and sisters and young friends here. In the near future, when the roads here and other tourism related projects are completed, then the employment opportunities will increase further. Today I had spent most of the time reviewing the progress of the projects here. I was late here for the same reason and there was no traffic for me and even with high speed, it took four hours to reach here and yet I was not able to see the work completely. Work is very extensively here. When the tourists come here in future, they will feel like staying for two or four days. Here a huge market will be available to the tribal companions who produce vegetables, fruits, flowers and milk.
All we have to keep in mind is to protect this area from plastic. The whole country is trying to get rid of single-use plastic. I am aware that all of you are engaged in this work under the cleanliness drive. But let's not forget that our water, our forest and our land should be free from plastic. Our efforts should be expedited for the same, and every citizen should pledge and be committed.
As I said in the beginning, 17 September is celebrated as Vishwakarma Day. But with 17 September there is another importance of this day. This day is etched in the pages of history for Sardar saheb and his efforts for the unity of India. A golden chapter has been written on 17 September of his efforts made. Today is also celebrated as Hyderabad Liberation Day. On this day in the year 1948, Hyderabad was merged with India and today Hyderabad is contributing strongly in the development and progress of the country.
Imagine if Sardar Ballabh Bhai and his foresight was not there. If Sardar saheb did not have this work, then how would the map of India be today? The problems of India would have been much greater.
Brothers and sisters,
Today India is witnessing the fulfillment of Sardar's dream of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat'. Today, India is trying to complete the tasks which were left incomplete in the years after independence.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have faced discrimination for 70 years. As a result, the entire India has suffered from the consequences of violence, isolation, and unfulfilled hopes and aspirations.
The country has taken an important decision with the inspiration of Sardar Saheb. It has been decided to walk a new path to solve the decades-old problem.
I am confident that with the active support of lakhs of friends from Ladakh and Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, we are going to succeed in emanating a new stream of development and confidence.
This servant of yours is fully committed to the unity of India and the excellence of India. We have strengthened this commitment in the last hundred days. Many major decisions have been taken one by one in the last hundred days. It also includes solutions ranging from welfare of farmers to strengthening the infrastructure and economy.
I told you during the election too and I am saying it again today. Our new government will work faster than before, achieving even bigger goals than before.
Once again, I congratulate the entire Gujarat on realizing the spirit of Sardar Saheb. Thank you so much for making me a part of this occasion. I salute all of you, the people of Gujarat and the entire country and world who have showered their blessings on me today keeping Mother Narmada as a witness. I also bow down to her and thank her. Once again raise both hands and say with me .. ... Narmade... your voice should reach Kutch! Narmade... Narmade ... Narmade ....
Bharat Mata ki Jai!
Bharat Mata ki Jai!
Thanks a lot!