Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Shri BD Mishra ji, the young and popular Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Pema Khandu ji, my cabinet colleague Shri Kiren Rijiju ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Chowna Mein ji, respected MPs, MLAs, mayor, all other dignitaries and my dear brothers and sisters of Arunachal Pradesh!
I have visited Arunachal several times. Whenever I come, I leave with a fresh energy and a new zeal. I have lost count of the number of times I visited Arunachal. But this is the first time that I am witnessing such a grand event at 9.30 in the morning. The people gathering here from the mountains of Arunachal shows the importance of development work in your lives. That is why you all have come here in such large numbers to shower your blessings.
Brothers and Sisters,
I must stress upon the warmth and affection of the people of Arunachal. The people of Arunachal always have big smiles on their faces. They never show any pessimism or despair. And they are known for their discipline. They set the perfect example of what discipline means on the borders. It is visible in every house, in every family and in every person's life in Arunachal.
This double engine government's hard work and commitment for development under the leadership of our Chief Minister Pema ji is taking Arunachal to this new height today. I congratulate Pema ji and his entire team. You might remember; even Pema ji has mentioned that the foundation stone of this airport was laid in February 2019 and I was fortunate to have laid the foundation stone. And as you are aware that in our work culture, we inaugurate every project whose foundation stone is laid by us. The period of keeping the projects in limbo is gone. But let me mention one more thing. I laid its foundation stone in February 2019. The elections were scheduled for May 2019. All these political spokespersons and commentators, with an old mindset had started shouting and writing that the airport would never come up. Elections are round the corner and that's why Modi has come here to lay the foundation stone. They see elections as the reason behind everything. It has become fashionable to paint every good work in the colours of elections.
The inauguration of this airport today is a befitting reply to all these people, a slap on their faces. And I request these political commentators to change their old way of thinking. This country is moving forward with a new zeal and enthusiasm. So, stop weighing it with the scales of politics. The people who used to call it an election gimmick are seeing our airport taking shape in this grand and modern form within three years. And I am fortunate that in the presence of lakhs of people we are inaugurating it. Today the entire Arunachal is connected with us online. This is also a matter of great pride.
There is no election round the corner. Yet the inauguration is happening because this government's priority is the development of the country and the development of the people of the country. 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, we work only for the development of the country. And you see, right now I am in Arunachal where the sun rises first while in the evening I will be in Daman where the sun sets. I will also visit Kashi in between. We are working wholeheartedly with only one dream – my country should move forward. We never work keeping the elections in mind. Our dream is only and only Maa Bharti, India and 130 crore citizens.
Today, along with this airport, the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Project has also been inaugurated. This is also a great achievement in itself. This combination of the 'flight' of development and the 'energy' for development will take Arunachal to new heights at a new pace. For this achievement, I congratulate my dear brothers and sisters of Arunachal Pradesh and all the Northeastern states. I extend my best wishes to all.
After independence, the Northeast has witnessed a completely different era. For decades, this area has been a victim of neglect and apathy. At that time, the people who formulated policies in Delhi only aimed at winning the elections here. You are well aware that this situation continued for several decades. When Atal ji's government was formed, for the first time an attempt was made to change the situation. It was the first government to create a separate ministry for the development of the Northeast.
But the government after him did not take that momentum forward. A new phase of change had begun after 2014, when you gave me the opportunity to serve. The previous governments used to believe that Arunachal Pradesh was a remote place. The places on the far-flung border areas were earlier considered to be the last villages. But our government has marked these places as not the last villages, rather the first villages of the country. As a result, the development of the Northeast became the priority of the country.
Now be it culture or agriculture, commerce or connectivity – Northeast gets top priority, not the last. Be it trade or tourism, telecom or textiles – the Northeast gets the top priority. From drone technology to Krishi Udan, from airports to ports connectivity – the Northeast is now the priority of the country.
Be it India's longest bridge or the longest railroad bridge, laying a rail line or building a highway at a record speed – the Northeast comes first for the country. As a result, today a new era of hope and opportunities has begun in the Northeast.
Today's event is a great example of this approach of New India. Donyi-Polo Airport is the fourth operational airport in Arunachal Pradesh. Throughout the seven decades since independence, there were only 9 airports in the entire Northeast. But our government has built seven new airports in just eight years. There are many such areas here, which are now connected with air connectivity after 75 years of independence. Consequently, now the number of flights to and from the Northeast has more than doubled.
This Donyi-Polo airport of Itanagar is also a symbol of Arunachal Pradesh's history and culture. And Pema ji was telling me that Donyi means the Sun and Polo means the Moon. And I see the ‘Donyi-Polo culture of Arunachal' as a lesson for our development journey as well. Light is the same, but the rays of the sun and the coolness of the moon both have their own importance and power. Similarly, when we talk about development, whether it is a major development project or a public welfare scheme for the poor, both are important aspects of development.
Today, equal importance is given to the major infrastructure projects like the airport as well as to the facilities for the poor. If an airport is built today, work is also done on the 'UDAN' scheme to ensure that the common man gets its benefit. After the flight services begin, we also work on subjects like: how the number of tourists can be increased or how small traders, shopkeepers and taxi drivers can get the benefits from it.
Today in Arunachal Pradesh, roads and highways are being built in not only the border areas but also at the most difficult terrains. The central government is going to spend about Rs 50 thousand crore more for the construction of roads. With such well-developed infrastructure, a large number of tourists will also throng this place. Nature has beautified every corner of Arunachal. There are immense possibilities of tourism expansion in every village. The income of every family can increase through homestays and local products. For that, there should be arrangements to reach every village. That is why, today roads have been built in more than 85 percent villages of Arunachal Pradesh under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak scheme.
After the construction of the airport and better infrastructure facilities, a huge potential for cargo facilities will be developed in Arunachal. With this, the farmers here will be able to easily sell their produce in big markets outside Arunachal. They will make several times more money than at present. The farmers of Arunachal are also getting a lot of benefits under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.
Bamboo cultivation is also an example of how our government is working for the Northeast. Bamboo is an important part of the lifestyle here. Today bamboo products are becoming popular all over the country and the world. But since the time of British rule, there were such legal restrictions on cutting bamboo that it had become a hindrance in the lives of our tribal brothers and sisters, and the people of our Northeastern region. So, we changed that law. Now you can grow bamboo, cut bamboo, sell bamboo, add value to bamboo, and conduct business in the open market. Just as we grow crops, we can also grow bamboo.
Brothers & Sisters,
As soon as the poor are freed from the basic concerns of life, they start creating new dimensions of development for themselves as well as for the country. Today the priority of the country is to ensure that the poorest of the poor people come out of neglect and misery and get a dignified life. Earlier it was said that education and healthcare are always a problem in the mountains. But now, besides good healthcare facilities, arrangements have also been made for free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh each under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Every poor is being given a pucca house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. In tribal areas, the central government is opening Eklavya Model Schools by spending Rs 500 crore, so that no tribal child is left behind in education.
Efforts are being made to bring those youngsters who have deviated to the path of violence due to some reason, back into the mainstream through a separate policy. A separate fund has been created for them. To connect with the power of Startup India, Arunachal Pradesh is also walking hand-in-hand through Arunachal Startup Policy. That is, our eternal stream of development is reaching the villages, the poor, the youth as well as the women and becoming their strength today.
After 2014, the country started a campaign to provide electricity to every village. The villages of Arunachal Pradesh have also benefited a lot from this campaign. There were many such villages here, where electricity had reached for the first time after independence. Thereafter, the central government started a campaign to connect every household with electricity under the Saubhagya scheme. Here in Arunachal too, thousands of households were given free electricity connections. And when electricity reached the houses here, it illuminated not only the houses but also the lives of the people here.
Brothers & Sisters,
We are working on the mission of taking the journey of development to every village and every household of Arunachal Pradesh. It is our endeavour to empower the border villages by giving them the status of ‘Vibrant Border Village’. When new doors of possibilities open up in every village adjacent to the border, prosperity will automatically begin.
Under the Vibrant Border Village Programme, work is going on at a rapid pace to stop migration from border villages and promote tourism there. A special campaign has been started by the government to connect the youth of border areas with NCC. We are trying to ensure that there is maximum participation of the youth from the villages situated along the border in the NCC. The children of these villages joining NCC will get training from army officers. This will not only pave the way for a bright future for the youth, but will also inculcate in them a spirit of service towards the country.
Following the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, the double engine government is committed to the development of Arunachal Pradesh and ‘Ease of Living’ for the people. I hope that this 'Arun' or 'sun' of development continues to spread its light here like this.
I once again congratulate Pema ji and his entire government for their active cooperation in taking forward all these central Government schemes. And I congratulate our friends as well as our mothers and sisters from the entire Northeast.
I wish you the very best! Thank you very much!