Shri Modi said that today Gujarat has emerged as a benchmark for development- those who appreciate it praise and want to emulate it while those opposed to it say we are better than Gujarat. Referring to all those who keep asking about the Gujarat model of development, Shri Modi said that forget Gujarat, even Kutch presents a unique model of development. He listed the various challenges Kutch faced including drought, extreme heat, cold and lack of perennial rivers and recalled that earlier if any officer was transferred in Kutch it was considered a punishment posting. Shri Modi remarked that those never considered the growth of Kutch as important are now talking about inclusive growth.
In his address Shri Modi urged people to rise above votebank politics and said that growth with the Mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas is the way ahead. He shared that Kutch has a higher Muslim population as compared to the national average yet there is complete harmony in Kutch. Similarly, there are Sikh families who are living in Kutch and practicing agriculture after Lal Bahadur Shastri ji asked them to come to Kutch after 1965 war. Referring to the recent controversy about Sikh farmers in Kutch, Shri Modi said that there is no question of removing those who have been farming in Gujarat since 1965. He added that if any officer would try to remove them, the officer would go but not the Sikh farmers. However, Shri Modi avowed that the brokers of land who are immersed in the ‘Sarkari Damad’ culture are not welcome in Gujarat. He opined that these are people evicting poor farmers but they will not be welcome in Gujarat. Referring to the close bond between Kutch and the Sikh community, Shri Modi pointed that the revered Guru Nanak Dev himself spent ten days in Kutch and the Gurudwara where he stayed was rebuilt when it was destroyed during the 2001 quake.
Shri Modi paid tributes to the revolutionary freedom fighter Shri Shyamji Krishnavarma and said that he had the honour to bring back Shri Krishnavarma’s ashes in 2003. He came down heavily on the UPA for refusing to give the go ahead to name Bhuj airport after Shyamji Krishnavarma despite the fact that the NDA Government had given the go ahead.
Speaking about the development in Kutch Shri Modi said that the dairy sector that had shut down received an impetus in the last decade. Likewise, there is a lot of industries that are coming to Kutch. He added that despite not featuring in any advertisement campaign of the Centre, Kutch made a mark in tourism. He talked about the Pani Samitis in Kutch and how their success was replicated in the rest of Gujarat.
The eminent citizens of Kutch whom Shri Modi honored include Shri Bachubhai Rambhia, Shri Ratanbhai N Shah, Shri Navinbhai Bapat, Shri RR Patel, Shri Laljibhai Prajapati, Shri Mohabatsinh Bhai, Ms. Aminaben Khatri, Shri Khatri Abdul Gafoor and Shri Bipinbhai Soni. The books Shri Modi released are ‘Kutch Anmol Virasat’ that is published by the district administration, Vikas Vatika, Forrest & Wildlife of Kutch and a General Knowledge Quiz book for little children.
MLAs, dignitaries, Chief Secretary Shri Varesh Sinha, ACS Home Shri SK Nanda and other officials were present on the occasion.