See, when a major problem in life starts gets solved, it starts reflecting a different confidence altogether. I could see that confidence while interacting with you. Even though I was not able to talk to everyone due to a technological glitch, I was able to see you. I could see the way you have dressed up just like one dresses up for a celebration! I could also see all the decorations. I could see the level of enthusiasm and zeal in you. This enthusiasm, this zeal itself depicts the immense value of this scheme. It shows your sensitivity towards water. You have created an atmosphere like that of a major event in the family such as a marriage.
This means that the government not only understands your problems but is also moving in the right direction of solving those problems and as you are so enthusiastic, I am sure that the scheme will show results faster than expected. Probably you will also save money. Where there is public participation, the results are huge!
It is due to the blessings of Maa Vindhyavasini on all of us that such a major scheme is being started today for lakhs of families of this region. Under this scheme, lakhs of families will get pure drinking water through taps in their homes. Governor of Uttar Pradesh Smt. Anandiben Patel, Shri Yogi Adityanath ji, Yashwavi Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh present in Sonbhadra, my colleague in Union Cabinet Mr. Gajendra Singh ji, Minister in UP Government, Bhai Mahendra Singh ji, other ministers, MPs and MLAs have also joined this event. I congratulate all the brothers and sisters of the Vindhya region present there !!
This entire stretch of Vindhya Mountains has been a great center of faith, purity and devotion since ancient times. Most people from Uttar Pradesh know what Rahimdas ji said - ‘जापर विपदा परत है, सो आवत यही देश!’
Brothers and sisters,
The reason for this confidence of Rahimdas ji, was the vast resources of this region and immense possibilities present here. Streams of several rivers like Shipra, Wainganga, Son, Mahanad & Narmada originate from Vindhyanchal. This region is also blessed by rivers like Mother Ganga, Belan and Karmanasha. But this region had been the most neglected area for decades since independence. Be it Vindhyachal, Bundelkhand, or the entire area, it had become a region of deprivation despite the vast amount of resources. Despite so many rivers flowing through this region, it had been identified as one of the parched and severe drought affected areas. Consequently, many people were forced to migrate from here.
Constant work has been done to overcome this major problem of Vindhyanchal over the years. This effort to provide water to every household and irrigation facilities here is a very crucial part. Last year, work was started on a major water related project in Bundelkhand, which is going on at a rapid pace. Today, the foundation stone of Vindhya Jalapurti Yojana has also been laid.
This is an opportunity to congratulate lakhs of friends from Sonbhadra and Mirzapur districts, and especially mothers, sisters and daughters, for this project. And when I talk to the people of this region today, it is natural for me to commemorate my old friend Late Sonelal Patel. He used to be very concerned about the water-related issues of this area. Looking at the inception of these projects, today Sone Lal Ji's soul will be very satisfied and he will shower his blessings on all of us.
Brothers & Sisters,
In the future, when the piped water reaches 3000 villages here, the lives of more than 40 lakh friends will change. This will also boost the resolve of delivering water to every household both in UP and the country. This project is also an example of Uttar Pradesh moving forward on the development journey rapidly despite the Corona pandemic. The image of the employees of Uttar Pradesh, the state of Uttar Pradesh and the Government of Uttar Pradesh is changing completely before those who used to make assumptions about Uttar Pradesh earlier due to the way the schemes are being implemented one after another in Uttar Pradesh today.
During this time the way Corona is being fought in UP, the migrant workers who returned to the villages from outside have been taken care of, employment has been arranged, this is not a small thing. Working on so many fronts together so closely in such a large state, Uttar Pradesh has done wonders. I congratulate the people of Uttar Pradesh, the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the entire team of Yogiji.
It has now been more than a year of 'Har Ghar Jal Abhiyan'. During this period, piped drinking water has been provided to more than 2 crore 60 lakh families. Of them, lakhs of families belong to Uttar Pradesh.
We are relentlessly trying to provide facilities that exist in cities for our brothers and sisters living in the villages. The projects will also give further momentum to this campaign. Besides, the work being done to increase the ground water level under the Atal Bhujal Yojana is also going to benefit the region a lot.
Brothers & Sisters,
It is said - 'Ek Panth Do Kaaj'. But this saying can be turned into 'Ek panth Anek Kaaj' in the context of the various schemes that have been started today and several goals are being accomplished. Due to the supply of piped water to every household under Jal Jeevan Mission, the life of our mothers and sisters is getting easier. It has also improved the health of poor families immensely. It is also reducing the incidents of diseases like cholera, typhoid and encephalitis caused by contaminated water.
Moreover, the benefit of this scheme is being extended to humans as well as livestock. When animals get clean water, they too remain healthy. We are also moving ahead with the aim of keeping the animals healthy so that the farmers and the cattle herders do not face any trouble. Here in UP, the efforts of Yogi ji's government have reduced the number of cases of encephalitis, and people are talking about it far and wide. Experts too are holding discussions on it. I believe every resident of Uttar Pradesh must be showering his/her blessings on Yogi ji and his entire team for saving the lives of innocent children. When piped water reaches thousands of villages of Vindhyanchal, it will also improve the health of innocent children of this region; their physical and mental development will also get better. Moreover, when pure water is available, our fight against malnutrition will be strengthened and our hard work towards ensuring nutrition will bear positive results.
Jal Jeevan Mission is also part of the government's resolve, under which the power of Swaraj is being made the medium of village development. With this thinking, more and more powers are being given to gram panchayats & local institutions. There is a lot of emphasis on water management, water supply and maintenance under Jal Jeevan Mission; and the role of the villagers is very crucial in this. Work is also being done to conserve sources of water in the villages.
The government is with you like a partner, a friend and as a support in your development journey. Besides Jal Jeevan Mission a similar kind of thinking is also reflected in the houses being built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Now the officials in Delhi no longer decide the kind of house that should be built or the area in which it should be built. If the houses are to be built following a special tradition in a tribal village, then the officials in Delhi will not decide that; the houses will be built in the exact way the tribal would want.
Brothers & Sisters,
When you get freedom to make decisions for the development of your village and get to work on those decisions, then it increases the confidence of everyone in the village. Consequently, the campaign for self-reliant village and self-reliant India too gets a lot of impetus. This leads to a higher consumption of goods produced at the local level. Skilled people get employment opportunities at the local level; Be it the masons, fitters, plumbers, electricians, many such friends get employment either in the village or close to the village.
As much priority had not been given to our villages or to the poor living in the villages or to the tribals before as our government has been giving to them. The scheme to provide LPG gas cylinders to the poorest of the poor has given double benefit to the villages and areas adjacent to the forests. One of the advantages is that our sisters have got freedom from smoke and they do not have to spend time and labour in searching for wood. When the mothers and sisters sitting here in such large numbers used to cook on the fuelwood, it was like smoking 400 cigarettes in a day. Children used to cry at home, the Mother used to cook food, and smoke equivalent to 400 cigarettes used to harm them. Their health has been getting harmed! So, we launched a massive campaign to get rid of this problem and provided every household with a gas stove or a gas cylinder so that these mothers and sisters are no longer forced to inhale so much smoke equivalent to 400 cigarettes. At the same time, the compulsion to cut forests for fuel has also ended.
Like other villages of the country, there was a huge problem of electricity here. Today, this region is becoming a pioneer in the field of solar energy and is turning into an major center of India. Mirzapur's solar power plant is writing a new chapter of development here. Similarly, due to lack of irrigation facilities, many areas of the country like Vindhyanchal were left behind in the race for development. But in this particular region, irrigation projects that were in a limbo for years are being completed and at the same time the farmers are being supported so that they can earn extra by generating electricity on barren lands through solar power. Our food producers should turn into energy producers. He produces food and feeds people. Now he can produce energy along with it in his own field and provide electricity and light to the people.
We are making every effort to develop the Vindhya region. Whether it is to develop medical infrastructure or construction of roads in this area, work is going on at a very fast pace on every front. You know very well what the condition of electricity was before but how better it is now!
Brothers & Sisters,
Disputes related to house and land are the reasons for lack of trust and development in the villages. Who would understand this problem better than those living in this part of Uttar Pradesh! It is because even after living for generations in a house, that house and land of the village did not have legal papers. There were no papers to describe the length, breadth and height etc of the house. People have lived like this for decades and have faced problems. Sometimes controversy escalated and even led to fights, quarrels between brothers. There used to be fights between neighbours over a piece of land.
Under the Svamitva scheme, house and land maps are being made in UP with drone technology in UP to bring a permanent solution to this problem. On the basis of these maps, the legal documents of the house and land are being handed over to the owner of the house and land. As a result, the poor, tribal and deprived people living in the village will also be able to live their lives without the fear of their houses getting forcefully occupied. I know that a lot of people from your region work in Gujarat. Sometimes I used to talk to them and ask them why did they leave their place? So they would say - "we had a fight over the land there and someone took possession of our house. I used to work here but some intruder entered the house". Now after getting this legal paper, you will be free from all these problems. Moreover, if you need to take loans from the banks, you can use these documents or papers for the same. You can go and take a loan from the bank by showing this paper.
Today, this mantra of 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas , Sabka Vishwas' has become a mantra of confidence & trust in every part of the country, and for every citizen. Today every person, every region of the country feels that the government is reaching them and they are also partners in the development of the country. Today this confidence is well established even in our tribal areas and it reflects a new strength; I can see it. Not only the basic facilities are reaching the tribal areas today, but the work is also being done under special schemes for these areas. Hundreds of new Eklavya Model Residential Schools have been approved in the country for the education of tribal youth. It will provide hostel facilities to the children of our tribal areas. Many of these schools are also opening in UP. We are trying to ensure that this system is available to every tribal dominated block.
We are looking for possibilities in terms of earning and income besides education. 1250 vandhan kendras have been set up all over the country so that the tribal friends are able to get higher prices for their forest produce. Business worth hundreds of crores of rupees has also been transacted through them.
Moreover, several necessary steps are being taken under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, so that forest produce based industries are set up in tribal areas as well. The District Mineral Fund has been formed to ensure that there is no shortage of money for the development of tribal areas. The idea is that a part of the wealth emanating from tribal areas should be invested in that area. In Uttar Pradesh too, about 800 crore rupees have been collected so far in this fund. Under this, more than 6500 projects have been approved and hundreds of projects have also been completed.
Similar projects are boosting India's confidence everyday. All of us are engaged in building a self-reliant India with this confidence. I am confident that the Vindhya Water Supply Scheme will strengthen this confidence.
Yes, in the meantime you also have to remember that the risk of corona infection still remains. The rules of social distancing or 'do gaj doori', wearing masks and washing hands with soaps are not to be forgotten under any circumstances. A little bit of laxity can endanger oneself, a family and a village. Our scientists are working hard to find the medicine. Scientists from all over the world are engaged in the same task; people from the richest countries and from poor countries are also engaged in the same task. But there should not be any laxity unless there is a medicine.
You must keep this in mind. Thank you very much and my best wishes !!