Text of PM’s address at the closing function of the Manipur Sangai Festival

Published By : Admin | November 30, 2014 | 17:42 IST
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The Chief Minister was just speaking on a lot of topics - there are no roads, no hospitals and nothing of Film Division of any sort. I felt satisfied to hear him discussing these problems as it made me feel that this Chief Minister trusts this government to change things. And since he has such faith in my government, I feel the need to fulfill these wishes. 

The Porbandar-Silcher Road that he mentioned - I had laid the foundation stone of the road in Gujarat at Porbandar in the capacity of Chief Minister of the State during the period of Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. It is also possible that I come here for a similar inauguration in future. But all the subjects that the Chief Minister has mentioned are important. We too are keen on developing North East, the land of Ashta Lakshmi and hence we have allotted a budget of about Rs 60000 crores towards the development of its infrastructure. 

During the bilateral talks in Myanmar on my recent visit there, the maximum impetus was on the subject of how to establish connectivity with Imphal. Be it air connectivity, road connectivity or i-ways, it should benefit everyone and the government of Myanmar has also taken important decisions to get associated with the infrastructure projects with the government of India so that this region can be made more accessible. You will surely notice the results in the coming days. 

Today, I have had the good fortune of being here for the Sangai festival. Our country has a lot of potential for tourism. No matter where in the world a tourist goes, our one State of India is capable of showcasing more than all that one country can offer the tourist. A tourist can easily tour a State for a month and if he keeps visiting our country every year, choosing to experience a new State, a lifetime wouldn't be enough to see entire India. Every State of our country has a different highlight, such varied is the heritage of our country! 

North East and especially Manipur have a lot of opportunities for the development of tourism. Like the Chief Minister just pointed out, I belong to Gujarat. Krishna is celebrated in Dwarka there and I have been brought up in a similar environment, worshipping Lord Krishna. When I saw you worshipping Lord Krishna, singing his praises, I felt right at home in Manipur. 

The world tourism sector has an estimated potential worth 3 trillion dollars. If there is any one sector that is growing by leaps and bounds globally, it is the tourism sector. Some places have shown a growth of 40 per cent in this sector. India has a lot to offer to the world that can influence and inspire them. But this area is still largely untapped. It is our constant effort to attract the world through our rich heritage. 

The game of Polo was born here. There was a Polo programme arranged here yesterday, in which, according to the information I have, 8 countries participated. This is your heritage. I want the world to know about the place that gave birth to Polo and hence I will match steps with the state in its efforts to highlight their assets. 

I just met with delegates from the HRD Ministry and asked them if there was a possibility of about 100 students from all the universities of the country visit North East as tourists. Only if university students start visiting, the tourism scene of the region will change drastically. 

They have already begun work towards making this a possibility and you should be able to see the results soon. And there is such diversity of heritage in Manipur. There is song, dance, theatre, costumes and what not. It is truly reflective in its rich cultural heritage. The reason of my joining in the Sangai festival is the same. I want the world to see what Manipur has to offer and when they see the PM visiting, they might want to find out what the hoopla is all about. 

There are two theories - one that says if the infrastructure is developed, tourism will develop and the other goes if tourism prospers, infrastructure will have to develop. Both theories carry equal weight. If tourism prospers, the quality of infrastructure will improve which in turn will bring in more visitors. These changes take place gradually over a period of time. We just need to create a friendly environment. 

If there is good connectivity then there will be a droves of visitors here. I firmly believe that tourism is one such sector that gives maximum returns in the minimum investment. Everyone - from a snack vendor, an auto rickshaw driver, a florist, a vegetable vendor to a cab driver, a guest house owner and even those offering the option of home stay and a tea vendor - everyone can benefit from the development of tourism. I will be particularly happy if the tea vendor earns well. What I mean to say is that even the poorest of poor would benefit from it. 

The government of India has recognised the power of Manipur and hence we have decided to establish a sports university here. Manipur has a huge role to play in India's achievements in sports. We want to harness this power to the optimum as this power is inherent in the DNA of the people of Manipur. Additionally, the people of Manipur have a sportsman spirit and we want to set an example for the rest of the country. 

Some people think that a sports university only helps in creating good players but that is not the case. A sport in itself is a large economy. Right from making a playground to those who write scoreboards, the one involved in collection of data, those looking after the players' food habits, physiotherapy and sportsman costumes - everyone finds employment. The youth of Manipur who might not have been able to become players but they can train themselves in this university to become an umpire, a scorer or become a physiotherapist of a good sportsman or can become dietician of a good sportsman, they can also become makers or architects of a playground. In a manner, opportunities of overall development are associated with a sports university. Many people might otherwise think that a sports university would mean a place where players would be trained. But that is not the case. It is a science, an economy, a complete creation with elements of technology, arithmetic and many such elements. You cannot imagine the amount of changes a university can bring about in Manipur. 

When I visited Australia recently, I have asked them to collaborate with us on the Manipur Sports University. I want to connect the countries of the world with Manipur and you will reap the benefits in the coming days. 

The youth of Manipur wants job and there is a need for skill development that will eventually lead to jobs. I have also asked an IT professional that I just met, to focus on the possibility of establishing call centers here in cities like Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram etc. instead of in cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore. The weather here would diminish the need of air conditioners, thus bringing down the cost hugely. The youth here also speak fluent English, so the language shouldn't be a barrier. I am trying to get this done. I will try and pull some companies here due to which there will be a lot of opportunities for the youth here and they wouldn't have to leave Manipur in search of better jobs. 

I have also thought of the possibility of employing the youth of Manipur in the police force of Delhi. When the world sees the youth from the North East policing the streets of Delhi, keeping it safe, they will realise the true potential of these States. I want to work towards this as well. 

When I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I had a plan that wasn't put into action. I had envisioned a strategy of sort where every State of the North East - 8 of them - will select and send 200 women each to be a part of the police force in Gujarat, in every two years. So, a total of 1600 women would have joined the police forces in Gujarat. Imagine the kind of national integration that would be! 

At the same time I had also emphasised how Gujaratis were the best tourists in the whole world. No matter where you go, you will find a Gujarati there. We like to roam around, spending the wealth we have. So as per my plan, if 1600 girls would stay in Gujarat for 2 years, they would at least mingle with 15-20 families each who would in return visit their State thus enhancing tourism. I have told the Chief Minister of Gujarat to explore the possibility and if anyone from the North East wants to visit Gujarat, we would welcome them with open arms. Imagine the benefits these states will reap by associating with a prosperous state like Gujarat. 

Therefore, my brothers and sisters of Manipur, all the points that have been raised by the Chief Minister at the closing ceremony of the Sangai festival today, naturally having faith in me, please be assured that I will do my best to keep that faith as I am a man who tries to live up to them. I will go back and discuss the issues with the people of the concerned departments and see what can be done about them. I will also try to fulfill all the promises I have made here today and put all the plans into action. I will also expect that the manner in which Manipur has made us proud in the field of sports, similarly it becomes the flag bearer in the arena of development. 

However, I am deeply concerned by one issue here which I would like to address. The youth of Manipur are victims of drug abuse and this deeply hurts me. My heart goes out to the parents of such youth. It is our responsibility to ensure that our future generation does not suffer due to this. It is a dangerous path and it is not about an individual but the whole family and eventually the society and the country suffers immensely due to this. 

Hence we need to make a collective decision as a society, to ensure that we will end this. In a land where Lord Krishna and his miracles are celebrated, where we find the country's best players, we will not let Manipur suffer from such a disease. The youth of Manipur have the capability of changing the future of the country. Drugs destroy everything and today as we have gathered here at the pious occasion of the Sangai festival, I request the youth of Manipur to give up drugs. I know it is a difficult addiction to kick, but once you decide, you will be able to come out of it. Once you save yourself, you and your family will benefit from it and grow. 

With this request, I thank the people of Manipur for inviting me here and being a part of your celebrations. Thank you! 

(The original speech was in Hindi, this is the English rendering. Original speech remains the authoritative version)

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आप सभी को आज़ादी के अमृत महोत्सव की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं।

अब से कुछ ही दिन बाद देश अपनी आज़ादी के 75 वर्ष पूरे कर रहा है, और हम सब इस ऐतिहासिक स्वतन्त्रता दिवस की पुरजोर तैयारी भी कर रहे हैं। हिंदुस्तान के हर कोने में तिरंगा ही तिरंगा छाया हुआ है। गुजरात का भी कोई कोना ऐसा नहीं है, जो उमंग से भरा हुआ ना हो। और सूरत ने तो इसमें चार चांद लगा दिए हैं। आज पूरे देश का ध्यान सूरत पर है। सूरत की तिरंगा यात्रा से एक तरह से लघु भारत के दर्शन हो रहे हैं या शायद ही हिन्‍दुस्‍तान का कोई कोना ऐसा नहीं होगा, जिसके लोग सूरत में न बसते हों और आज एक प्रकार से पूरा हिन्‍दुस्‍तान सूरत की धरती पर तिरंगा यात्रा के अंदर शामिल हुआ है। और ये भी खुशी की बात है समाज का हर वर्ग शामिल है। तिरंगे में जोड़ने की कितनी ताकत है, ये आज सूरत में हम देख रहे हैं। सूरत ने अपने व्यापार-कारोबार, अपने उद्योगों के कारण दुनिया में अपनी एक अलग पहचान बनाई है। आज सूरत में हो रही तिरंगा यात्रा, दुनिया भर में भी आकर्षण का केंद्र बनेगी।


आपने तिरंगा यात्रा में भारत माता की झांकी के साथ-साथ देश की संस्कृति और पहचान से जुड़ी झांकियों को भी शामिल किया है। विशेष रूप से, बेटियों द्वारा शौर्य प्रदर्शन और युवाओं की जो भागीदारी है, वो वाकई-वाकई अद्भुत है। सूरत के लोगों ने हमारे स्वतंत्रता संग्राम की भावना को तिरंगा यात्रा में जीवंत कर दिया है। कोई वस्त्र विक्रेता है, दुकानदार है, कोई लूम्स का कारीगर है, कोई सिलाई या एम्ब्रायडरी का कारीगर है, कोई ट्रांसपोर्टेशन से जुड़ा है, कोई हीरे-जवाहरात से जुड़ा हुआ है। सूरत की पूरी टेक्सटाइल इंडस्ट्री, सूरत के लोगों ने इस आयोजन को बहुत भव्य बना दिया है। हर घर तिरंगा अभियान की इस जनभागीदारी के लिए, और इस विशेष तिरंगा यात्रा के लिए मैं आप सबको बहुत-बहुत बधाई देता हूँ। मैं विशेष रूप से, सांवर प्रसाद बुधिया जी, और 'साकेत- सेवा ही लक्ष्य' ग्रुप से जुड़े सभी वॉलंटियर्स की सराहना करता हूँ, जिन्होंने ये पहल शुरू की। संसद में मेरे साथी सी आर पाटिल जी का सहयोग, इस पहल को और सशक्त बना रहा है।


हमारा राष्ट्रीय ध्वज अपने आपमें देश के वस्त्र उद्योग, देश की खादी और हमारी आत्मनिर्भरता का एक प्रतीक रहा है। इस क्षेत्र में सूरत ने हमेशा से आत्मनिर्भर भारत के लिए आधार तैयार किया है। सूरत के वस्त्र उद्योग ने भारत की उद्योग भावना का, भारत के स्किल और भारत की समृद्धि का प्रतिनिधित्व किया है। इसलिए, ये तिरंगा यात्रा अपने आप में उस गौरव और प्रेरणा को भी समेटे हुए है।


भारत के स्वाधीनता संग्राम के इतिहास में गुजरात ने गौरवशाली योगदान का अपना एक अलग ही स्वर्णिम अध्याय लिखा है। गुजरात ने बापू के रूप में आज़ादी की लड़ाई को नेतृत्व दिया। गुजरात ने लौह पुरुष सरदार पटेल जी जैसे नायक दिये, जिन्होंने आज़ादी के बाद एक भारत-श्रेष्ठ भारत की बुनियाद रची। बारडोली आंदोलन और दांडी यात्रा से निकले संदेश ने, पूरे देश को एकजुट कर दिया था। गुजरात के इसी गौरवशाली अतीत का एक अभिन्न हिस्सा हमारा सूरत है और इसकी विरासत है।


भारत का तिरंगा केवल तीन रंगों को ही स्वयं में नहीं समेटे है। हमारा तिरंगा, हमारे अतीत के गौरव को, हमारे वर्तमान की कर्तव्यनिष्ठा को, और भविष्य के सपनों का भी एक प्रतिबिंब है। हमारा तिरंगा भारत की एकता का, भारत की अखंडता का और भारत की विविधता का भी एक प्रतीक है। हमारे सेनानियों ने तिरंगे में देश के भविष्य को देखा, देश के सपनों को देखा, और इसे कभी झुकने नहीं दिया। आज आजादी के 75 वर्ष बाद जब हम नए भारत की यात्रा शुरू कर रहे हैं, तो तिरंगा एक बार फिर भारत की एकता और चेतना का प्रतिनिधित्व कर रहा है। मुझे खुशी है कि, देश भर में हो रही तिरंगा यात्राओं में, हर घर तिरंगा अभियान में देश की वो शक्ति और भक्ति एक साथ झलक रही है। 13 अगस्त से 15 अगस्त के बीच भारत के हर घर में होगा तिरंगा, भारत के हर घर में फहराएगा तिरंगा। समाज के हर वर्ग, हर जाति-मत-पंथ के लोग स्वतः स्फूर्त एक ऐसे भाव के साथ एकता की पहचान के साथ, नए सपने और संकल्‍पों के साथ पूरा देश जुड़ रहा है। ये पहचान है- भारत के कर्तव्यनिष्ठ नागरिक की। ये पहचान है- माँ भारती की संतान की। महिला-पुरुष, नौजवान, बुजुर्ग, जो जिस भूमिका में है, इस अभियान में अपना सहयोग दे रहा है, अपना कर्तव्य निभा रहा है। मुझे संतोष है कि हर घर तिरंगा अभियान की वजह से कितने ही गरीबों की, बुनकरों की, हैंडलूम में काम करने वालों की अतिरिक्त आय भी हो रही है। आजादी के अमृत महोत्सव में इस तरह के आयोजन हमारे संकल्पों को एक नई ऊर्जा देंगे। जनभागीदारी के ये अभियान नए भारत की बुनियाद को मजबूत करेंगे। इसी विश्वास के साथ, आप सभी को, गुजरात को, पूरे देश को और खास करके मेरे सूरत के लोगों को खूब-खूब शुभकामनाएँ, और सूरत एक बार जो ठान लेता है तो कभी पीछे नहीं हटता। यह सूरत की विशेषता है, सूरत जिस तरह आगे बढ़ रहा है, सूरत जिस तरह प्रगति की नई-नई उंचाई पार कर रहा है, उसके मूल में यह मेरे सूरत के लोग हैं, यह मेरे सूरत के भाई-बहन हैं, आज यह तिरंगा यात्रा का अद्भूत दृश्य देश के लिए भी प्रेरक बनेगा।

मेरी आप सभी को खूब-खूब शुभकामनाएँ।