Bharat Mata Ki - Jai!
Bharat Mata Ki - Jai!
(Opening remarks in local language)
First of all, I would like to apologize to the people of Chamba because I am coming here after a gap of a few years. But I am fortunate that once again I have got the opportunity to come and interact with all of you; and also seek your blessings today.
Two days ago, I was in the city of Mahakal in Ujjain. And today I am present in the land of Manimahesh. Today as I have come to this historic place, it is quite natural for me to recall certain old memories like the moments spent here with my friends and the Rajma-Madra which were truly delightful experiences.
Chamba has given me a lot of affection and blessings. That's why a few months ago, during the Minjar Mela, a teacher had written a letter and had shared various things related to Chambe with me. I too had shared this with the country and the world in my 'Mann Ki Baat' programme. So today I feel extremely delighted to dedicate the roads and employment generating power projects to the inaccessible villages of Himachal Pradesh including Chamba.
When I used to live here amidst you, I used to say that we needed to eradicate the old saying that meant 'mountain's water and mountain’s youth are generally not used for its development'. Today we have changed that old scenario. Now the water here can be used by you; and the youth here will also carry forward the journey of development with a lot of zest. Heartiest congratulations to you for all these projects that have made your lives easier!
Brothers & Sisters,
Sometime back, India completed 75 years of its independence. The milestone we are at today is very crucial from the point of view of development because from here we must make that leap which perhaps no one could have imagined before. India's 'Azadi Ka Amritkaal' has already begun and we must accomplish the resolve of a 'developed' India. The resolve of each and every Indian has to be fulfilled now. In the coming few months, Himachal will be completing 75 years of its formation. That means, when the country will complete 100 years of independence, even Himachal will be completing 100 years of its formation. Therefore, every day, every moment of the coming 25 years is vital for all of us, for all the countrymen and particularly for the people of Himachal.
What does our past experience tell us? We have seen how Shanta ji and Dhumal ji had dedicated their lives to this place. During their regime in Himachal, the leaders and workers of Bharatiya Janata Party had to visit Delhi for every little thing, for the rights of Himachal - the basic rights like electricity, water, development and its due share. But no one would listen to these demands of Himachal in Delhi. The files of Himachal just kept rotating from one desk to the other. That is why areas like Chamba that were rich in natural resources, cultural and spiritual aspects were left behind in the race for development. After 75 years I had to pay special attention to it as an aspirational district because I was aware of its potential.
The lives of the people living here were difficult due to the lack of facilities. How could tourists coming from outside reach here?
Jairam ji reminded us of the song of Chamba -
जम्मू ए दी राहें, चंबा कितना अक् दूर,
This is enough to describe the state of affairs. That is, there was a lot of eagerness to come here, but it was not so easy to reach here. Jairam ji mentioned Devika, the daughter of Kerala. She has sung a Himachali folk song on the land of Kerala. This is how the dream of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' gets fulfilled. When a girl, who has never seen Himachal or has never been associated with Hindi language, sings songs of Chamba with full devotion, we get evidence of the power of Chamba. And I am grateful to Chamba for praising daughter Devika so much so that the message of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' has spread across the country. I was stupefied on seeing this sentiment of the people of Chamba towards 'Ek Bharat- Shreshtha Bharat'.
Today Himachal has the power of a double engine government. The power of this double engine has propelled HP's growth forward by double the speed. The previous governments used to provide facilities in places where it was easier to work or the workload was less and the political gains were more. Therefore, the facilities used to reach the inaccessible areas and the tribal areas only in the end. But these facilities were needed the most in these very areas. As a result, amenities like roads, electricity and water used to reach the hilly areas and the tribal areas in the end. But the working culture of the double engine government is different. Our priorities are to make people's lives easier. That's why we are putting maximum emphasis on tribal areas and hilly areas.
Earlier in the mountains, gas connections were available to only a few people. I still remember when Dhumal ji was the Chief Minister, he used to think throughout the night as to how to bring electric stoves in the homes of the people here. He used to make various plans. We have solved those problems now. And, the double engine government has made it accessible to every household.
There was a time when it was believed that the people who had access to tapped water supply were either very rich people or had political reach. But today, Chamba, Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur are the first in Himachal to have 100% tapped water coverage under the Har Ghar Jal Abhiyan.
For these districts, the earlier governments used to make an excuse that these were inaccessible districts. So development was not possible. The convenience of water supply is not only reaching the women but also the newborn babies whose lives are being saved with potable drinking water. Similarly, pregnant women or children had to face a lot of trouble in order to get vaccines. Today all types of vaccines are available in the village health centres itself. ASHA and Anganwadi sisters are providing door-to-door facilities. Assistance worth thousands of rupees is also being given to pregnant mothers under the Matru Vandana Yojana.
Today, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh is being given. The biggest beneficiaries of this scheme are also those people who could never go to the hospitals, particularly our mothers and sisters. No matter how serious their illness was, or how much pain they had to bear, they wouldn't let the family know about it. Yet she would continue to serve everyone in the house. She would think that if the family members came to know about the illness, they would take her to the hospital. Hospitals are expensive and expenses are high. So, the children might be in debt after that. Hence, she used to bear the pain but would not let the children fall in debt. Dear mothers and sisters, if this son of yours does not understand your pain, then who will? And therefore, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the poor families are getting free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh.
Due to the lack of roads, it was also difficult to get education in this area. Many daughters had to drop out of school because they had to walk long distances. That's why today on one hand we are setting up good dispensaries and wellness centres near the villages, while on the other hand we are also opening medical colleges in the district, friends.
When we were running the vaccination campaign, it was clear in my heart that there should not be any hindrance to Himachal's tourism sector. So first of all the vaccination work of Himachal was expedited. And Himachal was the first to complete the vaccination process. The other states followed suit. And I congratulate Jairam ji and his government for working hard day and night to save your lives, brothers.
Today, the double engine government's effort is also to ensure that paved roads reach every village faster. Just imagine, 8 years prior to 2014, only 7000 Km of rural roads were built in Himachal. Now remember these figures. How many kilometres? It was 7000 Km! And how much was spent at that time ? Rs 1800 crores were spent. But we have built 12,000 km long village roads in eight years so far at the cost of Rs 5000 crores. I have tried my best to change your lives. That is, almost double the roads have been built compared to before with more than double the investment.
Hundreds of villages of Himachal are connected by roads for the first time. The scheme which has started today, will also build new roads of 3,000 kms in the villages. The villages of Chamba and other tribal areas will be benefited the most. Many areas of Chamba are also getting a lot of benefit from the Atal Tunnel. Due to this, these areas have been connected to the rest of the country throughout the year. Similarly, you must have seen the special 'Parvatmala' scheme of the central government announced in the budget. Under this, a network of ropeways is also being developed in the districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Kullu and Chamba. This will benefit both the local people and the tourists.
Brothers & Sisters,
Since you have given me the opportunity in the last eight years to serve you, I had the privilege of offering several projects to Himachal as one of your servants and there is a feeling of tremendous satisfaction in my life. Earlier the political leaders used to visit Delhi with the request or to beg them for projects and clearances. Today, if the Chief Minister of Himachal comes to me, he brings with him a handkerchief from Chamba, or a gift of Chamba's special Thal. And at the same time they give us the information or the good news about the completion of certain projects or the commencement of work on a new project.
Now the people of Himachal do not plead for their rights. Now they come to Delhi to claim their rights and give us orders. These orders are from the public and you are my high command. I consider your orders to be my good fortune, brothers and sisters! Therefore, the joy of serving you all is a different feeling altogether.
During the regime of previous governments, no one could have ever imagined the gift of development projects that Himachal gets in a single go these days. In the last 8 years a great yajna of rapid development is going on in the hilly areas, the inaccessible areas as well as the tribal areas all over the country. Himachal's Chamba, Pangi, Bharmour, Chhota-Bara Bhangal, Giripar, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti are reaping the benefits of the same.
Last year, Chamba ranked second among more than 100 aspirational districts of the country in terms of improvement in development. My special congratulations to Chamba! I also congratulate the government servants here who have done a commendable job here! Some time back our government has taken another important decision. The decision to give tribal status to the Hatti community of Giripar area of Sirmaur shows our government's priority in terms of welfare and development of the tribal people.
For a long time, the governments in Delhi and Himachal would think of these inaccessible areas of the country only during the elections. But the double engine government is at your service day and night, 24x7. During the difficult period of the Corona pandemic, we tried to do our best to ensure that you do not face any trouble.
Today free ration is being given to rural families and poor families. The world feels astonished at the Indian Government's initiative as it didn't let cooking be stopped in any household. And so the food grains are delivered for free to every poor family. It didn't let any poor family go hungry.
Brothers and sisters,
To ensure that everyone was vaccinated on time, the vaccination campaign was expedited. Himachal Pradesh was also given priority. And for this, I would also like to congratulate Anganwadi sisters, ASHA workers and health department workers. Under the leadership of Jairam ji, you have made Himachal a leader in the country in terms of Covid vaccination.
Such development works take place only when service-consciousness becomes the intrinsic nature, resolve and a spiritual practice. Employment is another major challenge in hilly and tribal areas. That's why we are trying to make the strength of this place as the strength of the people here. The wealth of water and forest in tribal areas is priceless. Chamba is among those areas of the country where hydro-electricity was first generated.
The projects for which the foundation stones have been laid today will increase the share of Chamba and Himachal in terms of power generation. Chamba and the entire Himachal will make hundreds of crores of rupees from the electricity generated here. The youth of this place will get employment opportunities. Last year also I had the opportunity to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of 4 major hydro-electric projects. The Hydro Engineering College which was inaugurated in Bilaspur a few days back is also going to benefit the youth of Himachal.
This place is also known for gardening, art and craft. We have various products that are our heritage like the Flowers of Chamba, Chukh of Chamba, Rajma Madra, Chamba's slippers, Chamba's Thal and Thangi of Pangi and so on. I would also appreciate the sisters of Self Help Groups because they are giving impetus to the efforts of the government to promote these products, i.e. Vocal for Local. Such products are also being promoted under the One District One Product Scheme. It is also my endeavour to present these things to foreign guests, so that the name and glory of Himachal spreads across the whole world and more and more people get to know about the products of Himachal. I take things made by villages of Himachal as mementos to give to someone.
Brothers & Sisters,
The double engine government is a government that respects its culture, heritage and faith. The entire Himachal, including Chamba, is a land of spirituality and heritage. It is known as Devbhoomi. On one hand there is the holy Manimahesh Dham, while on the other hand we have the Chaurasi temple in Bharmour. Be it Manimahesh Yatra or Shrikhand Mahadev's Yatra passing through Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu; these are very crucial for the devotees of Bholenath all over the world. A short while back Jairam ji had mentioned that on the day of Dussehra I had got the opportunity to participate in the International Dussehra festival in Kullu. Similarly, I got the chance to come to the land of Minjar fair today.
On one hand we have such a rich heritage, while on the other hand there are several tourist places like Dalhousie, Khajjiar. They are going to become the strength of developed Himachal. Only the government of double engine recognizes this power. That's why Himachal has made up its mind to change the old tradition this time and will create a new tradition.
When I reached this ground, I was watching everything. I am familiar with every bit of Himachal, every street and locality. It is extremely difficult to organize a rally on a massive scale like this. So after seeing the people, I asked the Chief Minister if the crowd of the rally were from the entire state? He said, "no, these people have come only from Chamba district".
This is not a rally; I can see the resolution of a bright future for Himachal. I am not seeing a rally here today. I am seeing the potential of a bright future for Himachal and I am a great admirer of your abilities. I will stand like a wall behind your resolutions. I have come to give you that assurance, friends. I assure you that I will be with you always. I congratulate you for organizing such a grand and lively event. Festivals are going on currently. And it is difficult for mothers and sisters to leave their homes during such festivals. Yet, so many mothers and sisters have come to bless me and all of us. I couldn't have asked for more.
I once again congratulate all of you on these various development projects. And now Himachal is also getting the Vande Bharat train up to Delhi. I wish you all the very best!
With both your hands in the air, say aloud with me -
Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
Bharat Mata Ki Jai!