Gujarat’s Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Nitin Patel ji, Gujarat BJP Pradesh president and MP, Shri C. R. Patil ji, other ministers, parliamentarians, legislators, my farmer friends and all the brothers and sisters of Gujarat!
Three important projects related to the development of Gujarat are being inaugurated today with the blessing of Ma Ambe. Today Gujarat is getting Kisan Suryoday Yojana, Girnar Ropeway and the country’s biggest and modern cardiac hospital. All the three projects are symbols of power, devotion and health of Gujarat in a way. Many many congratulations to the people of Gujarat for all these projects.
Brothers and sisters, Gujarat has always been the land of people with extraordinary potential. Many sons of Gujarat from revered Bapu and Sardar Patel have provided social and economic leadership to the country. I am happy that Gujarat has again come up with a new initiative through Kisan Suryoday Yojana. Kisan Suryodaya Yojana will prove to be a milestone for the farmers of Gujarat after the Sujalam-Suflam and Sauni schemes.
Top priority has been given to the needs of farmers of Gujarat under the Kisan Suryoday Yojana. The work done in Gujarat for years in the field of electricity has become the basis of this scheme. There was a time when Gujarat used to face severe scarcity of electricity. It was a big challenge to provide 24-hour electricity. Everything from students’ studies, irrigation for farmers to revenues of industries used to be affected. All the works from power generation to transmission were carried out in mission mode to create the capacity.
Gujarat was the first state in the country to have a comprehensive policy for solar energy a decade ago. When the solar power plant was inaugurated in Patan in 2010, nobody could have imagined that India would show the world the path for One Sun, One World, One Grid. Today, India is among the world's leading countries in terms of both production and use of solar power. In the last six years, the country has reached fifth position in the world in solar power and is making giant strides.
Brothers and sisters,
Those who are not well versed with villages and farming are not aware that farmers mostly get electricity for irrigation during nights. Therefore, the farmers have to stay awake throughout the night during irrigation of their fields. There is also the danger of wild animals in Junagarh and Gir Somnath areas, from where the Kisan Suryoday Yojana is being launched. Therefore, the Kisan Suryoday Yojana will not only provide security to the farmers of the state but will also bring a new dawn in their lives. This is the new dawn that farmers will get three-phase power supply from dawn to 9 PM instead of nights.
I would also congratulate the Gujarat government for carrying out this work by preparing a completely new capacity of transmission, without affecting the other existing systems. Under this scheme, about 3500 circuit kilometers of new transmission lines will be laid in the next 2-3 years. I have been told that this scheme will be implemented in more than a thousand villages in the coming days. Most of these villages are in tribal dominated areas. When the scheme will cover the entire Gujarat, then it will change the lives of lakhs of farmers.
We will need to make continuous efforts to double the income of farmers, reduce their investment and overcome their difficulties in line with the changing times. The goal is to strengthen the agriculture sector of the country and lessen the difficulties of farmers in cultivation whether it is by providing freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere, or the formation of thousands of Farmer Producers’ Organisations, or complete the languishing irrigation projects, or reform in the Crop Insurance Scheme, or 100 percent need coating of urea, or the Soil Health Card to crores of farmers of the country. Many new initiatives are being taken in this regard.
Work is also being done to make farmers the energy donors in the country. Under KUSUM Yojana, FPOs, cooperatives, panchayats and all such organizations are being assisted in setting up small solar plants on barren lands. Solar pumps of lakhs of farmers across the country are also being connected to the grid. The electricity generated from this will be used by the farmers for their irrigation and they will be able to sell the surplus power. Assistance is being provided to approximately 17.5 lakh farmer families in the country in setting up solar pumps. This will help farmers in irrigation and they will be able to generate extra income.
Gujarat has done commendable work in the field of irrigation and drinking water also along with power. All of us who are joined in this programme know what was the situation of water in Gujarat? For years, a big chunk of budget was spent on water. Not many people would be aware that Gujarat had to face economic burden for water. It is due to the efforts in the last two decades that today water has reached those districts and villages which could not be imagined before.
We will feel proud of the efforts of the people of Gujarat when we see the water of the Narmada River reaching the drought-hit regions of Gujarat through the Sardar Sarovar Project and the network of canals and water grids. About 80 percent of the households in Gujarat have piped drinking water. Very soon, Gujarat will be among the states of the country where every house will have piped drinking water. When the Kisan Suryoday Yojana is being launched in Gujarat, everybody has to reiterate one pledge and a mantra. This mantra is Per Drop, More Crop. We have to emphasise more on preserving water now that the farmers will get electricity during the day. If we drop our guard and let water flow waste because there is uninterrupted electricity, Gujarat will be doomed, water will be exhausted and life will become hell. With the provision of electricity during the day, it would be easier for farmers to set up micro irrigation facilities. Gujarat has made considerable progress in the field of micro-irrigation, whether it is drip irrigation or sprinkler. Kisan Suryodaya Yojana will help in the expansion of micro irrigation in the state.
Brothers and sisters,
"Sarvodaya" as well as "Arogyaday" is also happening in Gujarat today. This “Arogyaday” is a new gift in itself. The UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Center, which is the country’s biggest cardiac hospital, has been launched today. This is one of the few hospitals in the country that has a world class infrastructure as well as modern health facilities. We are experiencing heart problems due to changing life styles, which are increasing day by day and affecting young children as well. This hospital is a great facility for the people across the country, not just Gujarat.
Brothers and sisters,
Gujarat has done a commendable work in the field of health in the last two decades. Whether it is a network of modern hospitals, medical colleges or health centres, a great job has been done to connect villages with better health facilities. Gujarat is also enjoying the benefits of the health schemes which have been launched in the last six years. Under Ayushman Bharat scheme, 21 lakh people of Gujarat have received free treatment. More than 525 Jan Aushadi Kendras offering low cost medicines have been opened in Gujarat. Out of this, about Rs 100 crore have been saved by the patients of Gujarat.
Brothers and sisters,
The third gift that Gujarat has received today is linked to both faith and tourism. Girnar Mountain is the abode of Ma Ambe. It has Gorakhnath peak, Guru Dattatreya peak and a Jain temple. One experiences amazing strength and peace after reaching the top by climbing thousands of stairs. With the world class ropeway, devotees will get facilities to visit all these places. Till now, it used to take 5-7 hours to reach the temple. But with the ropeway, the distance will now be covered in 7-8 minutes. The ropeway will promote adventure and curiosity. With this new facility, more and more devotees and tourists will come here.
Friends, this is the fourth ropeway in Gujarat. Three ropeways are already there for people to pay respects to Ma Ambe in Banaskantha, Pavagadh and Satpura. Had the Girnar ropeway not been stuck for so long, people and tourists would have got the benefits long ago. As a nation, we will need to ponder over the inconvenience caused to the people if such systems are stuck for so long. How much loss the country suffers? I am happy that the Girnar ropeway will not only provide facilities to the people, but will also provide new job opportunities to the local youth.
The world's largest tourist destinations and piligrim centres acknowledge that there would be more influx of tourists only when we provide modern facilities to them. Today, the tourists looks for ease of living and ease of travelling when they go to any place with their family. There are many places in Gujarat which have the capability to become not only India’s but the world’s biggest tourist destination. If we only talk about the Mata temples, then there is an entire circuit for the devotees in Gujarat. I am not mentioning about all the abodes of Mata which continue to bless Gujarat. There are Ambaji, Pavagarh, Chotila Chamunda Mataji, Umiya Mataji, Mata No Madh in Kutch and so many. We can feel that Gujarat is an abode of power. There are many famous temples.
Apart from the places of faith, there are many places in Gujarat which are wonderful. Recently, Shivarajpur sea beach in Dwarka has got the international recognition through the blue flag certification. More tourists will come and there will be several employment opportunities if we develop these places. You see, the Statue of Unity, which is devoted to Sardar Sahab, is the tallest statue of the world and is now becoming a big tourist attraction.
About 45 lakh people had already visited the Statue of Unity before the Corona pandemic hit. This number of 45 lakh tourists within such a short time is a big deal. Now that the Statue of Unity has been reopened, the number of tourists is increasing. Similarly, I give a small example of Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad. There was a time when nobody used to pass through it. People used to take a detour. Now see the condition. After a little renovation and some facilities for tourists, about 75 lakh people are visiting it annually. In Ahmedabad alone, this place has become an attraction and a source of revenue for the 75 lakh middle and lower families. All these renovations help augment tourism and increase the income of the local people. And tourism is one sector which with little investment provides many job opportunities.
The people of Gujarat and all those Gujarati brethren who are spread over the world have left an imprint in the entire world by becoming brand ambassadors of Gujarat. I would urge all the people of Gujarat across the world to spread the message of new tourist destinations in Gujarat and help attract the foreign tourists. We have to take it forward.
Once again, I extend my best wishes to my brothers and sisters of Gujarat for these modern facilities. I pray that Gujarat should reach the new heights of progress with the blessing of Ma Ambe. May Gujarat remain healthy and become stronger. Thank you with these good wishes. Many many congratulations.