Popular Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Patel ji, my Parliamentary colleague and Gujarat's BJP President Shri CR Patil ji, all the MPs present here, all the ministers and MLAs of the Gujarat government and my dear sisters and brothers of Kutch who have come here in large numbers!
My dear brothers and sisters how are you? Is everything fine? It has rained a lot in Kutch and its joy is visible on all your faces.
Today I am full of myriad emotions. The inauguration of the Smritivan Memorial at Bhujiyo Dungar and the Veer Bal Smarak at Anjar, Kutch, Gujarat, is a symbol of the shared agony of the entire country. It not only reminds us of the sweat and hard work put in its construction, but also of the tears shed by many families.
I still remember that the family members of the children in Anjar had proposed the idea of building a children's memorial. At that time, all of us had decided that we would complete it with 'kar seva'. The vow we had taken has been fulfilled today. Today, I dedicate these monuments with a heavy heart to all those who had lost their loved ones and their children.
Today, other projects worth more than Rs 4,000 crore related to the development of Kutch have also been either inaugurated or their foundation stones have been laid. These include projects related to water, electricity, roads and dairy. This shows the commitment of the double engine government for the development of Kutch, Gujarat. To make the visit to Maa Ashapura easier, foundation stone of new facilities has also been laid today. When these facilities for the development of ‘Mata No Madh’ are ready, the devotees coming from all over the country will get a new experience. It is also a proof of how Kutch and Gujarat are progressing under the leadership of our popular Chief Minister, Bhupendra Bhai.
Brothers & Sisters,
After coming to the land of Bhuj today, as I was going to Smritivan, I was showered with a lot of love and blessings from the people of Kutch. I bow down to this land and to the people here as well. I was a little late in coming here. I had come to Bhuj on time but the welcome that went on during the road show and my visit to the Smritivan Memorial later, did not allow me to take a leave from the place easily.
Smritivan is a reflection of what Kutch had suffered two decades ago and the courage shown by Kutch after that. We have an imagination as mentioned in the saying "Vayam Amritasya putra"; there is the mantra of "Charaivati-Charaivati" as a source of our inspiration. Similarly this memorial is also inspired by the eternal spirit of moving forward.
When I was passing through different parts of Smritivan, many old memories were flashing back in my mind. Friends, after the major terrorist attack of 9/11 in America, a memorial had been built there, "Ground Zero". I have seen that too. I have also seen a museum built in Japan as a memorial after the tragedy of Hiroshima. And after seeing the Smritivan today, I want to say with great humility to the countrymen that our Smritivan is not even a step behind in comparison to the best monuments like these in the world.
It provides complete information on nature, earth and life. I would like to urge the people of Kutch that whenever any guest visits the place, you should not let them go without bringing them to the Smritivan. I would also like to urge the education department of Kutch to ensure that the school children are brought here whenever an educational trip is organised for them so that they get to know the behaviour of the earth and nature.
I still remember when the earthquake happened on 26th January, I was in Delhi. The tremors of the Earthquake were felt in Delhi too. And within a few hours I had reached Ahmedabad from Delhi. And the day after, I had reached Kutch. I was not the Chief Minister at that time. I was just a small worker of a simple political party i.e. Bharatiya Janata Party. I had no clue about how I could help and how many people I would be able to help. But I had decided that I would be with you all in that period of sorrow and I would try my best to help you in whatever way possible.
I didn't even realize that suddenly I would become the Chief Minister. And when I became the Chief Minister, the experience of my previous organizational work was very useful to me. I remember one more thing from that time. Many people from abroad had also come here to help the earthquake victims. They used to wonder how selflessly volunteers were helping the people here and their religious, social organizations were also engaged in relief and rescue operation. They used to tell me that they had been to many places around the world, but had probably never seen such a spirit of service ever before. It is this power of unity that handled Kutch and Gujarat in those difficult times.
Today, when I stepped on the land of Kutch, I was reminded of the countless names. I have had a very long and a deep relationship with you. I can remember the names of so many people like Dhirubhai Shah, Tarachand Chheda, Anantbhai Dave, Pratap Singh Jadeja, Narendra Bhai Jadeja, Hira Lal Parikh, Bhai Dhansukh Thakkar, Rasik Thakkar, Gopal Bhai, Champak Lal Shah of Anjar and countless others with whom I had the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder. Today they are not in this world anymore but wherever their souls are, they would definitely feel satisfied about the development of Kutch. They must be showering their blessings upon us.
And even today, when I meet my friends such as Pushpadan Bhai, Mangaldada Dhanji Bhai, or Jeeva Seth, they are still inspiring the work of development in Kutch. Kutch has always had one specialty which I always talk about. Even if one person sows the seed of his dream here, then the whole of Kutch gets involved in making it happen. These values of Kutch have proved every apprehension and every doubt wrong. There were many who had said that Kutch would never be able to get back on its feet. But today the people of Kutch have completely transformed the scenario here.
I didn't celebrate my first Diwali as the Chief Minister as it was also the first Diwali for the people of Kutch after the earthquake. No minister in my government had celebrated Diwali. After the earthquake, it was quite natural to remember our loved ones on that Diwali. So, I stayed with you. And you are also aware that every year I spend my Diwali day at the border with the soldiers of the country. But that year I didn't follow the tradition and instead spent my day with the earthquake victims. I still remember staying in Chobari all day. And later I also went to Trumbo village in the evening. Besides me, all the members of my cabinet too had gone to the places affected by the earthquake in Gujarat and had shared the burden of the people's pain and sorrow on the day of Diwali.
I still remember that in those difficult days, I had said with a great confidence that we would turn that disaster into an opportunity. I had also said that I could see India's 'growth' in that ‘challenge’. And today I have declared from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August that by 2047, India will become a developed country! Those who have heard and seen me in Kutch, they know that I had said something under adverse circumstances during the period of 2001-02 after the earthquake. Today that has emerged as the truth in front of your eyes. Today you must have seen various shortcomings within the country. But I have a dream for the year 2047 today. Friends, in 2001-02, Kutch was under a grave crisis but the dreams that we had at that time have come true and are successful today. In 2047, India will also fulfil today's dreams.
And the people of Kutch and Bhuj have revamped the entire area. Revival of Kutch is a topic of research for research institutes not only in India but all over the world. The work that has been done in Kutch since its complete destruction in 2001 is unimaginable!
Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma University was formed in 2003 in Kutch. At the same time more than 35 new colleges have also been established. Moreover, more than 1000 new schools were built in such a short time.
The district hospital of Kutch was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Today Kutch has a modern earthquake resistant hospital; and more than 200 new medical centres are functioning. Today Narmada water has started reaching every household in Kutch which was always in the grip of drought earlier, where water scarcity was the biggest challenge for people.
Sometimes we take a dip in Ganga ji, Yamuna ji, Sarayu and also in Narmada ji out of faith and reverence and even say that Narmada ji is so pure that just saying its name helps us gain a lot of punya (virtue). People used to travel long distances to get a glimpse of river Narmada. But today mother Narmada has come to the land of Kutch.
No one could have imagined that the Narmada's water could ever reach Tappar, Fatehgarh and Suwai dams. But the people of Kutch have fulfilled this dream too. No one could ever think of an irrigation project in Kutch. But thousands of hectares of land have been brought under irrigation by constructing thousands of check dams under the Sujalam-Sufalam water campaign.
Brothers & Sisters,
When the water of Mother Narmada reached Rayan-village last month, the people around the world were surprised to see the way people here celebrated it as a festival. They were amazed because they had no idea what water meant for Kutch. There was a time when a child wouldn't have seen or experienced a rainfall in his life for about four years since his birth. My Kutch has lived through such difficult times. Two decades back, very few people would have believed if someone had said that Kutch too would have canals and drip irrigation facility one day.
I still remember when I came to Mandvi during Gujarat Gaurav Yatra in 2002, I had sought blessings from the Kutch residents so that I could connect maximum parts of Kutch with the waters of Mother Narmada. It is because of the strength of your blessings that today we are becoming a part of this beautiful event. The Kutch-Bhuj canal has been inaugurated today. Thousands of farmer families from hundreds of villages have benefited from the same.
Brothers & Sisters,
The language spoken by the people of Kutch is so sweet that whoever comes here once cannot forget Kutch. And I have had the privilege of visiting Kutch hundreds of times. Kutch is known for various things like Dabeli, Bhelpuri, the light buttermilk, salt of Kutch, and taste of saffron and so on. There is an old saying that the fruit of hard work is sweet. Kutch has proved this proverb to be true by taking actions.
I am glad that today Kutch has become the number one district in the whole of Gujarat in terms of fruit production. Green dates, saffron, mango, pomegranate, kamalam of Kutch and many such fruits are carrying their sweetness not only to the different parts of the country but around the world too.
I can't forget the day when people living in Kutch had to take their animals and migrate for miles or sometimes they were forced to leave the animals behind and go on their own. Due to lack of resources, abandonment of livestock was the compulsion of this entire region. In an area where animal husbandry has been a means of livelihood for hundreds of years, this situation was very worrisome. But today in the same Kutch, the farmers have started increasing their wealth from livestock. Milk production in Kutch has increased more than three times in twenty years.
When I used to work here as the Chief Minister, in the year 2009, Sarhad Dairy was started here. At that time, this dairy used to store less than 1400 litres of milk in a day. But today this Sarhad dairy collects up to 5 lakh litres of milk from farmers every day. Today, because of this dairy, about 800 crore rupees are going into the pockets of my Kutch farmers. Today, the new modern plant of Sarhad Dairy, which has been inaugurated in Chandrani village of Anjar taluka, is also going to benefit the farmers and livestock rearers a lot. The kind of milk products that will be made with the modern technology will help in increasing the income of the farmers.
Brothers & Sisters,
Kutch has not only lifted itself up, but has given a new pace of development to the whole of Gujarat. There was a time when one crisis after another was striking Gujarat. There had been conspiracies while Gujarat was dealing with the natural calamity. In order to defame Gujarat in the country and around the world, several conspiracies were hatched to stop investments from flowing here. Even under such a situation, Gujarat became the first state in the country to enact a Disaster Management Act. Taking inspiration from this act, a similar law was made for the whole country. During the Corona crisis, this law helped every government and administration a lot.
Leaving every conspiracy behind, Gujarat had chosen a new path of industrial development in Gujarat by bringing a new industrial policy. Kutch benefited a lot from this initiative. Kutch started receiving a lot of investment. Lakhs of crores of rupees have been invested for the industrial development in Kutch. Today Kutch houses the largest cement plants in the world. Kutch ranks second in the world in terms of welding pipe manufacturing. The second largest textile plant of the whole world is in Kutch. Asia's first Special Economic Zone has been created in Kutch. Kandla and Mundra ports handle 30 per cent of the country's cargo. Kutch is the area from where more than 30 percent of India's salt is produced. There is no Indian who wouldn’t have consumed the salt of Kutch that houses more than 30 salt refineries.
Brothers & Sisters,
There was a time when no one in Kutch could even think of solar power or wind power. Today about 2500 MW electricity is generated from solar and wind energy in Kutch. Today the largest solar-wind hybrid park is being built at Khavda in Kutch. Gujarat plays a major role in the Green Hydrogen campaign that is going on in the country today. Similarly, when Gujarat makes its mark as the Green Hydrogen Capital of the world, Kutch will have a huge contribution in it.
Kutch has set an example not only for India but for the whole world. There are few such places in the world, which are ahead in terms of multiple fields like agriculture and animal husbandry, industrial development, tourism as well as art and culture. Kutch is ahead in terms of most of the fields. Kutch and Gujarat have also set an example in front of the country in terms of adopting and embracing its heritage with pride.
This time on August 15, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I have called upon the country to be more proud of its heritage. In the last 7-8 years, the feeling of pride towards our heritage has become stronger. It is becoming the strength of India today. Today India has come out of that state of mind when those who talked about their heritage were filled with inferiority complex.
What all things Kutch doesn't have? Our expertise in city building is reflected in Dholavira. Dholavira has been given the status of World Heritage Site last year itself. Each brick of Dholavira reflects the skills, knowledge and scientific thinking of our ancestors. At a time when many civilizations of the world were in their early stages, our ancestors had established and developed cities like Dholavira.
Similarly, Mandvi was a pioneer in shipbuilding. There was apathy towards our history, heritage and our freedom fighters. An example of the same is associated with our Shyamji Krishna Verma. Even after independence, his ashes were kept abroad for decades. I was fortunate as the Chief Minister to have brought back his ashes and to hand it over to the motherland. Today, when the country is celebrating the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', the people of Gujarat and the countrymen are able to pay homage to him on the Kranti Teerth built in Mandvi.
Sardar Saheb had dedicated his life to the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ and for transforming the lives of farmers and livestock rearers. Today his ‘Statue of Unity’
has also become the pride of the country. Every day thousands of tourists visit the place and seek inspiration from the place, taking a pledge of national unity.
Relentless efforts are being made for the last 2 decades to preserve these heritage of Kutch and Gujarat and to bring them in front of the world. Rann of Kutch, Dhordo Tent City and Mandvi Beach are becoming major tourist destinations of the country today. The products made by the artisans and handicraftsmen here are reaching all over the world today. The handicrafts of villages like Nirona, Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur are making a mark in the country and the world today. The people around the world are talking about Rogan Art, Mud Art, Bandhani and Ajrakh Printing of Kutch. After getting the GI-tag for Kutch shawls and Kutch embroidery, their demand has increased even further.
That is why today not just within Gujarat or the country but across the world, people are saying that one who has not seen Kutch has not seen anything. This is benefiting the tourism of Kutch, Gujarat and my younger generation. Today the work of widening the National Highway No. 41 has started. It will not only help the tourists but is also very important from the point of view of the border area.
The valour of mothers-sisters-daughters here at the time of Indo-Pakistan war, is still described in the best heroic-sagas. The development of Kutch is a perfect example of a meaningful change with everyone's efforts. Kutch is not just a place; it is not just a part of the land. Kutch is a spirit, a vibrant feeling and a lively spirit. It is this feeling which shows us the way to the fulfilment of the colossal resolutions of the 'Azadi Ka Amritkaal'.
Brothers and sisters of Kutch, I would like to reiterate that your love and blessings are not only for the welfare of Kutch, but also a source of inspiration to do something in every corner of India. It is due to your strength, friends! That’s why I used to say, “kutch ka ‘k’ aur khameer ka ‘kh’. Uska naam mera kutchi baarah maah”.
I am deeply grateful to you for the way you welcomed me, as well as for your love and respect. But this Smritivan is an important place of attraction for the world. The responsibility of handling it rests with Kutch i.e. with my brothers and sisters. There should not be a single corner without a dense forest. We have to make this Bhujiyo Dungar green.
Friends, you cannot even imagine that this Smritivan is even more powerful than the Rannotsav of Kutch. Do not miss this opportunity, brothers! I have a lot of dreams associated with this work. I have done this with a great determination, and I want your lively participation in it as well. Continuous cooperation is needed. I need your support to ensure that the name of Bhujiyo Dungar echoes in the world.
Once again my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to all of you for all the development projects! Today after a long time come say with me-
I will say Narmade - you will say Sarvade -
Narmade - Sarvade!
Narmade - Sarvade!
Narmade - Sarvade!
Thanks a lot!