Jai Badri Vishal, Jai Badri Vishal, Jai Badri Vishal!
Jai Baba Kedar, Jai Baba Kedar, Jai Baba Kedar!
The Governor of Uttarakhand Gurmeet Singh ji; the popular, soft spoken and cheerful Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami ji; my Parliamentary Colleague Shri Tirath Singh Rawat ji; Dhan Singh Rawat ji, Mahendra Bhatt ji, other dignitaries and my dear brothers and sisters!
Today, after seeking blessings from Baba Kedar and Badri Vishal ji, I feel blessed and content. These moments became eternal for me. When I had come here the last time with God's grace and command, certain words came out of my mouth. Those words were not mine, then how did they come out of my mouth? I am not sure who had made me say those words but those words had come out of my mouth. The words are - "This decade will be the decade of Uttarakhand". And I firmly believe that these words will continue to get blessings from Baba, Badri Vishal and Mother Ganga. I am really fortunate that today I am here with you to reiterate the same resolve with these new projects and I have also got a chance to interact with all of you.
Mana village is known as the last village of India. But just as our Chief Minister has said, now even for me every village on the border is the first village in the country. All of you residing on the border are strong guards of the country. And today I want to bring back some old memories of Mana village. Probably some who used to be there at that time might remember it. It is not that I am talking about the first village at the border now because I became the Chief Minister and then the Prime Minister. About 25 years ago when I used to work as a worker of Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand, no one knew me and nor did I have any public life. I used to spend my time and work with the people of the organisation. And at that time I had called a meeting of Uttarakhand BJP working committee in Mana. So all the party workers in Uttarakhand were very angry with me at that time. They told me how difficult it was to reach this place and a lot of time would get wasted. So I said, the day Uttarakhand BJP understands the importance of Mana, even the people of Uttarakhand will understand the importance of BJP. And the strength of the soil of Mana village is now clearly visible. It is due to the command and love of the brothers and sisters of Mana village that several blessings are flowing in one after the other. And I am speaking for the first time in a public event after the formation of the new government in Uttarakhand. So as I have come here today, I express my heartfelt gratitude from the soil of Mana for giving us a chance to serve all of you and the entire Uttarakhand.
There are two major pillars in the making of a developed India of the 21st century. Firstly, being proud of our heritage and secondly making every effort for development. Today Uttarakhand is strengthening both these pillars. This morning I prayed to Baba Kedar and later went to Badrinath Vishal and prayed because I need to follow the command of the Lord. And for me, even the 130 crore people of the country are a form of God. So I reviewed the development work as well. And now I have got the privilege of being with you and laying the foundation stone of 2 ropeway projects. This will make it easier to visit Kedarnath ji and Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib. May the blessings of Guru Granth Sahib be with us! May the blessings of all the revered gurus be with us! We have got the opportunity to undertake such an auspicious work with the blessings of the gurus. Also may all of us be blessed by Baba Kedar! This ropeway is not limited just to the poles, the wires or the cars to sit in; this ropeway will also take you to Baba at a high speed and at the same time it will benefit the people working on it. So, the blessings of 130 crore countrymen of my country are going to be showered on them. All my brothers and sisters around the world who follow the teachings of the sacred Guru Granth Sahib must be showering blessings over us for this ropeway being constructed till Hemkund sahib. You can't even imagine the power it holds. You will see that it will be celebrated in the UK, Germany and Canada as the ropeway will connect Hemkund Sahib. Not only the time will be saved, but one would also be able to immerse him/herself in devotion in a deeper way.
Today, I congratulate Uttarakhand and every devotee in the country and abroad for all these development projects. And may all of you be blessed by the gurus, by Baba Kedar and Badri Vishal! I hope the almighty gives all our labourer brothers strength to start this work in full swing and complete it within the time limit. And let us pray together because this is a very difficult terrain. It is difficult to work here as strong winds blow here and working at a high altitude is not easy. So, let us pray to God to keep our labourer or worker friends safe during the construction work. The villages close to the project area are like a blessing. You need to take care of them. Don't consider them as labourers or workers who are working to get money. They are in fact serving God. They are the guests of your village. They are working hard. The more closely you look after them, the faster the work will be done. Will you look after them? Will you take care of them like your children, brothers or sisters?
Today when I went to Baba Kedar's dham, I got an opportunity to interact with the labourer brothers and sisters working there. I also got a chance to talk to the engineers. I was elated. They said that they were not doing construction work. Rather they were worshipping Baba and it was their way of worshipping.
On the completion of 75 years of the country's independence, I had made an appeal from the ramparts of the Red Fort. This is a call for complete freedom from the slave mentality. After so many years of independence, why did I finally have to say this? What was the need to say that? This is because our country is gripped by the slave mentality so much so that every act of development feels like a crime to some people. Here the work of progress is weighed with the scales of slavery. Thus, for a long time we had an aversion towards the development of our religious places. These people do not get tired of praising the cultural places of the foreign countries, but look down upon similar types of work being undertaken in India. There is only one reason for this - inferiority complex about our culture, distrust in our religious places and indifference towards our heritage. However, this mentality has not been amplified in our society today. We all know what had happened during the construction of Somnath temple after independence. Then, we are well acquainted with the history of construction of Ram temple. Such a slave mentality had turned our sacred places of faith to a dilapidated condition. The stones of the temple were eroded under the weather conditions of the past hundreds of years; the temple site, the path to the place of worship, water system, and everything was reduced to a state of ruin. Try to recall friends; for decades the condition of our spiritual centres was such that the journey to these places used to be the most difficult journey of life. These religious places that are venerated by various places from historic times, where people have a dream of going for 'darshans' were neglected by the previous governments. Those governments did not feel it necessary to facilitate their own citizens' visit to these places. I don't know the kind of slave mentality that was holding them behind. Wasn't it an injustice brothers? This is not just your answer. This answer belongs to all the 130 crore countrymen and God has given to me this task of answering your questions.
Brothers and Sisters,
This neglect was in a way an insult to the lakhs and crores of public sentiments. The vested interests of the previous governments were behind this. But brothers and sisters, these people did not understand the power of our thousands of years old culture. They had forgotten that these pilgrim centres are not just buildings, but are our soul and spirit. They are such powerhouses that give us vitality even in the most difficult situations. Despite their gross neglect, neither the importance of our spiritual centers has diminished, nor has our devotion to them diminished. And today, Kashi, Ujjain, Ayodhya and countless such pilgrim centres are regaining their glory. Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib are getting modern facilities while maintaining their sanctity. Such a grand Ram temple is being built in Ayodhya. India is announcing its cultural upliftment from the temple of Goddess Kalika in Gujarat's Pavagadh to the corridor of Goddess Vindhyachal. It is now becoming easier and easier for every devotee to reach these pilgrim centres. And as the systems and facilities are developing here, it is not only going to help the elderly population but will also attract the new generation of my country or the 12-22 year old sons and daughters too. That should be our policy. Now our Divyang friends are also visiting these places. I still remember when I built a ropeway in Girnar, 80 year old senior citizens used to write to me after visiting the place. They had never even imagined visiting Girnar mountain to worship at so many places. Today they are showering their blessings for the ropeway.
Many people do not even recognize this power. Today the whole country is filled with a sense of pride about its pilgrim centres. This Devbhoomi of Uttarakhand itself is witnessing this change. Before the formation of the double engine government, a maximum of 5 lakh devotees used to visit Kedarnath in a season. Now in this season these numbers have risen to 45 lakhs!
There is another aspect of revamping the pilgrim centres, which is not discussed enough; and that is the ease of living of the people and employment opportunities for the youth residing in the hilly regions. When rail, road and ropeway are well connected with the mountains, they bring employment opportunities with them. Similarly, life on mountains becomes even more thriving, luxurious and easier. These facilities also expand tourism on the mountains and make transportation easy. Now our government is also working on developing drones as the major means of transporting goods on the mountains because nowadays drones can pick up 20 kg, 25 kg or 50 kg goods and drop them at other places at high speed. We want to bring this technology so that the fruits and vegetables grown in your place can reach the big cities fresh and your earnings can also increase. And today I am amidst the villagers who are protecting the country on the border of India. And I was looking at how our mothers and sisters of the Self Help Groups were producing various products, the spices, mountain salt, and so on. The packaging too has really made me very happy. I salute the mothers and sisters for the wonderful work they have done. But I have a request for the tourists who come here from all over India. Whether you come here for adventure or for spirituality, draw an outline of your expenses in mind. How much are you spending on transportation, food and hotels?
I am making this request to all the 130 crore countrymen from that village of India which lies on the Indo-China border and is guarding this border of India. So, I am speaking on behalf of this village. Now I usually talk of 'Vocal for Local' right. So please make a resolution that no matter where you travel, whether you come to this difficult terrain or go to Puri, Kanyakumari or Somnath, please reserve 5% of your travel expenses for buying local products. Today I am just making this request. I cannot command my countrymen but I can always make a request to the countrymen. If you spend Rs 100 on your travel, please save 5 rupees to buy the local products of that area made by the local people. If you already have one at home, then don't hesitate to buy another one. You can give it as a present to someone. But please purchase it. I assure you that the income of the people in these areas will shoot up! A short while back, some mothers and sisters were telling me that the tourist footfall was huge this time. So, I asked them about their total sale. They were hesitating in telling me. When I insisted, they told me that it was about 2.5 lakh rupees this time. They were satisfied. If all the travellers and tourists allocate 5% of their travel budget to purchase local products, they will feel content with this contribution. You can tell your children that the painting they had purchased from Uttarakhand during the trip was painted by an old lady there. And the little money spent on the painting is helping that old lady. You will feel extremely happy and content. That is why I am making this request to the whole country from here today.
My dear brothers and sisters,
The people living in the mountains are known for their hardworking nature. They are also known for their courage. They don't complain about nature. They learn to live with challenges. But during the regime of earlier governments, the power of the people living in the hills was used against them. For decades, the governments had neglected the people living in the hills believing that they are hardworking; their courage is strong like a mountain; they are strong. So they don't need anything; they could manage. This was an injustice to their strength. Yes they are strong. But that does not mean that they should be allowed to fend for themselves. They too need facilities. The people of the hill regions should get assistance under difficult circumstances. When it came to providing facilities and benefits of the government schemes, the hills were given the lowest priority. How could the country move forward with this mindset? I had to put an end to this injustice happening against the people living in the hills. Therefore, we started development-related work from those areas which were ignored before as the last regions of the country. We have started working by focusing on the expectations of the people in the places that were earlier neglected because they were the last villages of the country.
Earlier, those whose contribution was not given importance in the development of the country, we have resolved to move towards the ambitious goals of development by taking them along. We tried to find solutions to the challenges of the mountain so that the energy of the people there doesn't get wasted in fighting those challenges. Because that is not acceptable to us. We started a campaign to provide electricity to every village, the benefits of which are being received by the brothers and sisters of hilly regions. I met a Sarpanch sister of the village here. I asked her if the toilets were all constructed. She replied in the affirmative. I asked her if the water is reaching them. She said that the pipes were being built. There was a lot of joy on her face. She was glad that work was being done in her village. So, she was proudly telling me everything. We started the campaign of 'Har Ghar Jal', due to which today more than 65 percent of the households in Uttarakhand have piped water. Supply. We launched a campaign to connect every panchayat with optical fiber, due to which digital connectivity is reaching every nook and corner of Uttarakhand today. I could see for myself today, that the people here were accepting money online or digitally. I want to ask a section of 'intellectuals' in our Parliament to come and visit Mana. Just come and see how my mothers who have studied till class VIII, are accepting digital payments in Mana. Paytm is written on the top and a QR Code is below that. They have placed this in front of their products. I feel extremely proud to witness this power of the people of my country's Mana village.
We launched a campaign to open health and wellness centres in villages, due to which medical facilities are reaching the village today. Our mothers, sisters and daughters have benefited a lot from these campaigns. The people in every corner of the country today are experiencing how a sensitive government or a government that understands the plight of the poor actually works. During the Corona pandemic, the vaccines wouldn't have reached this place if the previous governments were in power. But this is the Modi government. I said that we needed to take the vaccines to the mountains faster than the speed with which Corona was spreading. And I congratulate the government, my Uttarakhand and my Himachal. These two states have completed the vaccination work first. During this pandemic, we started Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana so that the people did not have to suffer from hunger and the children would not have to suffer from malnutrition. Due to this scheme, lakhs of people from Uttarakhand too have got free food grains and we have ensured that the cooking didn't stop and no child went to bed hungry. So, we were able to achieve this goal successfully, brothers and sisters.
Sometime back our government has extended the scheme's duration by another three months so that our poor families do not face any problem during these festive days. Due to the efforts of the double engine government, now development works in Uttarakhand are accelerating once again. Those who had migrated from here, are now returning to their old homes. The number of Homestays, guest houses, dhabas and small shops has started increasing. These facilities and the resultant expansion of tourism in Uttarakhand are going to give an impetus to its development. I am glad that the government of double engine is continuously providing financial assistance for skill development of the youth as well as to help them increase the home-stay facilities here. The campaign to connect the youth of border areas with NCC is also preparing the youth for a bright future. The good schools in the border areas all over the country will also run NCC there. NCC was run mainly in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Chennai for 75 years. Now NCC will start in these villages. And the children of my villages will get immense benefits.
The biggest challenge of the people in our hill regions is connectivity. If there is no connectivity, then life on the mountain will come to a standstill. Our double engine government is addressing this challenge as well. Today every means is being worked on to provide multimodal connectivity to Uttarakhand. The sound of a train on the green hills of the Himalayas will write a new story of Uttarakhand's development. Dehradun Airport is also now serving in a new avatar. I had just gone to Himachal Pradesh and started the Vande Bharat train there. And many people told me that there were some people from older generations in the villages who had never seen a train there. But now the Vande Bharat train has started in Himachal. Although the Vande Bharat train will stop at only one station in Himachal, it is a wonderful gift for the people of Himachal and the hills. The four lane highways and expressways are soon going to come up that will help you in commuting between Himachal and Uttarakhand. Even the people travelling from Delhi and UP to Uttarakhand will also be benefitted. Chardham All Weather Road is giving a new hope to the people of Uttarakhand as well as tourists and devotees. Now every tourist coming to Uttarakhand from other states can take with him a wonderful travel experience. The Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor will not only reduce the distance between Delhi and Dehradun, but will also give a boost to the industries of Uttarakhand.
Brothers & Sisters,
Modern connectivity is also a guarantee of national security. Therefore, for the last 8 years, we are taking several steps in this direction. Few years back we had launched 2 major connectivity schemes. One is Bharatmala and the other is Sagarmala. Under Bharatmala, the border areas of the country are being connected with the best and the widest highways. While under Sagarmala, the connectivity of its coasts is being strengthened. We have also done an unprecedented expansion of border connectivity from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh in the last 8 years. Since 2014, the Border Roads Organization has constructed about 7,000 kilometers of new roads and hundreds of new bridges. Many important tunnels have also been completed. There was a time when one had to take permission from the centre even for the construction of roads along the borders. We not only ended this compulsion, but also laid emphasis on building good roads along the border and at a faster pace. Now in order to further improve the connectivity of the hill states, we are moving ahead with the work of Parvatmala, just like Bharatmala and Sagarmala. Under this, a huge network of ropeways is being built in Uttarakhand and Himachal. When we think of the borders here, people imagine only military friends and soldiers here and it is assumed that everything else will be deserted. But we have to change this concept too and we have to change it on the ground as well. The border villages should be full of activities and hustle and bustle. Development here should be celebrated. This is what we are trying to do so that those who have left their villages should feel like returning to their villages. That's how I want to create vibrant villages. And I am not just saying. I have done that! For example, Dhordo is the last village on the border of Pakistan and Gujarat. Dhordo is in the desert of Kutch. Today Dhordo has become a huge tourist spot. Lakhs of people go there every year. Business there is worth crores of rupees. We have made the last village alive again! And because of that the whole area has become vibrant.
There is a desert in Gujarat near the Pakistan border. There used to be a small place of worship in that place. That small place has now been redeveloped into a huge pilgrimage centre. I had sent the officers of Uttarakhand to that place to assess whether it was possible to develop such things in and around Mana. I firmly believe that there has to be such things in the villages near the border. That's why I have come here today. I want to understand its nuances. I believe that the road that is being constructed from Mana to Mana Pass will be a huge attraction for tourists and will mark a new era. I will create such a situation that people who come to visit Badrinath will not return until they see Mana Pass. Similarly, widening the road from Joshimath to Malari will not only benefit the general public but will also help our soldiers to reach the border easily.
Brothers and sisters,
The challenges of our hill States are alike. Their aspirations for development are also tremendous. Uttarakhand and Himachal in many ways are connected with each other geographically and traditionally. This is Garhwal. And on the other side of Uttarkashi and Dehradun lies Shimla and Sirmaur. It is very difficult to distinguish between the hills of Jaunsar and Sirmaur. I recently visited a number of places in Himachal. There people talk a lot about Uttarakhand. The people of Himachal say that Uttarakhand has brought back the double engine government for rapid development of the places of worship and heritage, and for enhancing facilities in the border and hilly areas. This mantra is inspiring Himachal too. I reassure Uttarakhand that I shall leave no stone unturned to fulfil your aspirations. I have also come to seek the blessings of Baba Kedar and Badri Vishal so that I succeed in meeting the trust of the people. Once again I congratulate you all for the various development projects. Thanks to you all and to my mothers & sisters for coming here in such large numbers and showering their blessings. Probably no one is home today. Mana village has completely changed the scenario here. I am so grateful that the mothers and sisters have blessed me. My best wishes to you all on Diwali in advance! I conclude my speech by praying to Badri Vishal for your good health and for the success of your children!
Speak with me with all your strength - Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
Jai Badri Vishal, Jai Badri Vishal, Jai Badri Vishal.
Jai Baba Kedar, Jai Baba Kedar, Jai Baba Kedar.