Visit of Defence Minister

Start : 20/09/2023 End : 30/09/2023

Hon’ble Home Minister Shri.Rajnath Singh unveils Mahatma Gandhi statue in Lakshadweep President

Kavaratti- Lauding the peaceful inhabitants of Lakshadweep islands, Honourable Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the island is strategically located in terms of national security but people here never allowed any anti-India force to disturb the peace and tranquility.

            The occasion of the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi became historic this year in Lakshadweep islands, when the guest of honour, Honorable Union Defence Minister Shri. Rajnath Singh unveiled a six-feet tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the august presence of Shri. Praful Patel, Honorable Administrator, Union Territory of Lakshadweep at Kavaratti island on the auspicious event of Gandhi Jayanti. The statue unveiled was the first of its kind in the centrally administered territory as a tribute to the enormous contribution of the famous freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the cause of India’s independence. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled in Kavaratti on the occasion of his Jayanti. My humble tribute to PujyaBapu”, was the first tweet by the Defence Minister immediately after the unveiling. The administration remarked that it was a significant moment for Lakshadweep as it could be a trigger to work jointly for bringing peace and harmony throughout the world guided by the Gandhian ideals.

         Member of Parliament, Shri. P.P Mohammad Faizal, Chairman, VDP Kavaratti and other senior officials were also present at the Lokarpan ceremony. The Minister said that certain forces attempted to push the island into extremism but people never welcomed such elements and their ideology and always followed the path of Mahatma Gandhi.

            “A certain group of people always try to portray that BJP is anti-minority government but I would like to say the schemes like Ujjwala, housing or free ration for 80 crore population is for all. We believe in justice for all and appeasement of none,” he said. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent the message that the island may be at a distance of a few thousand kilometres from Delhi but people of Lakshadweep are always close to his heart.

           The Gandhi Jayanti day started off with Prabhat Pheri at 6.30a.m. in the morning flagged off by the Honourable Administrator, Shri. Praful Patel, at Lakshadweep House. The Hon. Administrator along with the bureaucrats and natives of Lakshadweep walked from Lakshadweep House to Mahatma Gandhi Squire, where the statue of Mahatma is to be unveiled reverberated with the chants, bhajans and patriotic songs such as, Ragupathi Raghava Raja Ram, Vaishnav Jan, etc. The Honourable Administrator offered floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and interacted with the people who have gathered there. As part of the Prabhat Pheri, there was also a peace march of hundreds of students, teachers and other employees displaying placards coming up with slogans and music. The Honorable Administrator greeted and interacted with the students of the Peace March.

             The unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Mahatma Gandhi was followed by the State Function and cultural programs at Mahatma Gandhi Stage which was attended by more than six thousand people. The crowd, over six thousand in number erupted into cheers and applause as the Honorable Union Minister arrived on stage with Shri.Praful Patel.

            Congratulating the people of Lakshadweep for following the message of Mahatma Gandhi of respect towards all religions, the Defence Minister said: “In this Union Territory of Lakshadweep many people have tried to indict extremism and radicalism but I would like to congratulate the people who are staying in Lakshadweep that nobody has allowed to indict extremism, radicalism and terrorism here, for that I would like to congratulate people here.  And I would like to say that you are really the true followers of Gandhiji.  And there is no hate between one religion and other religion.  Because of this it says that this land has become a building hand of culture.’’

                Hailing the Honourable Administrator Praful Patel for his development-oriented programmes, the Defence Minister quipped: “We believe that political leaders speak more and do less work, may be like that.  Today whatever I have seen, I can say that Prafulji’s words and deed are same.  If words and deeds are same then no crisis and credibility will be there.”

               Mr Singh said that Mahatma Gandhi made positive political impact on the people in the 20th century and appealed to the people to follow the teachings of Gandhiji to overcome situations like poverty and inequality, climate change, and terrorism. He said that Gandhiji was not only a political leader but also an economical thinker as he believed that there are plenty of resources on the Earth that can fulfil the need of every human being but not their greed. The Defence Minister said that Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi was working in a mission mode to uplift those on the margins of the society and empower them.

                 Referring to the efforts directed at the development of Lakshadweep, he said that once Maldives was also an underdeveloped Island but today it has been developed because of tourism sector.  He assured the people of Lakshadweep that the island will also have its own identity in the tourism sector soon.  He said the Government favors realizing the potential of Lakshadweep as another Maldives.

               The Hon’ble Administrator, Shri Praful Patel greeted the gathering in Malayalam amidst a huge round of applause from the public and shared the ideals of Bapu and relevance of Gandhiji in the present times especially in making the AtmaNirbhar Bharat. The Administrator also briefed the people about the various initiatives of Lakshadweep Administration related to the fields of energy, health, education, tourism, poverty alleviation and so on and so forth. During the state function, while listing various initiatives taken up by the Administration such as the development of four new hospitals, expansion of Agatti airport, construction of new Government Senior Secondary School at Kavaratti, and others, the Hon’ble Administrator also shared the commitment of the Administration in removing illegal encroachment on government land by few people having vested interests so that the Administration may plan for a housing scheme for the landless residents and for those who are not having proper houses.

             Honorable Administrator Shri. Praful Patel said Mahatma Gandhi used to lay great emphasis on cleanliness and righteousness in life. Shri. Patel said that he only knew that Lakshadweep as a group of small islands about 400 miles from Kerala but got mesmerized by its untouched beauty. He said that it was unfortunate that even after more than seven decades of independence, development has eluded the island.

                With the direction and vision of the Honourable Prime Minister, he said, development plans have been drawn up and the emphasis will be on connectivity. He said that after three years Airbus 320 will land in Agatti and assured that further expansion of connectivity-related activities will take place. “If you want to go to Hajj, you will not have to travel to Kochi, you will be able to directly go to Hajj from here. We will give this facility,’’ he told the gathering.

                   Shri. Patel assured the people that all the 10 islands have got desalination plants and soon every household will get pure drinking water through taps. He said there are plans to set up green energy generation on the island and in another two years the entire union territory would be converted into green energy utilization place as diesel generators were damaging lagoons and corals.

                 He said that poor fishermen from Kadmat, Agatti and Minicoy would be able to start fish processing units soon. In every island, he said, there would be work of coir making and oil extraction as the island has nearly 10 lakh coconut trees but no processing facility.

                 He also outlined the initiatives in education and health care facilities. He said that para-medical college, polytechnic and nursing college have been sanctioned and there would not be any need to bring nurses from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

                   Shri. Praful Patel said that in near future a 50 bedded hospital in Kavaratti, 50 bedded hospital in Agatti, 30 bedded hospital in Kadmath, 30 bedded hospital in Minicoy, 30 bedded hospital in Androth would be upgraded. He said that with the cooperation of all inhabitants Lakshadweep would be turned into a world-class modern territory.

                 The State Function also became the platform for the inauguration of Government Nursing College, Kavaratti, Paramedical College, Kavaratti, Polytechnic College, Minicoy, the fourth PSA Oxygen Plant in Lakshadweep at CHC, Androth, distribution of agricultural implements to farmers, and for laying of the foundation stones for the landing stations of KLI Optical Fiber Connectivity Project of the Central Government worth Rs1073 crores in four islands. The three days mega fest also included various sports and cultural programmes, Education Fest, Water Sports Competitions, Kite Festival, Laser and Light Show, Sand Art Display, Cross Country, marathon, Flea Stalls, Food Fest, Film Fest and other activities which added more color and vigor to the occasion.

                 It was a grand celebration of Gandhi Jayanti witnessed by thousands of people across the islands. Lakshadweep witnessed a moodas that of a literally unprecedented festival for the three days especially on Gandhi Jayanti day.  Shri. Praful Patel Honourable Administrator, the arch beacon of developmental activities, is the driving force behind the entire mega event. The three – day mega fest organized by Lakshadweep Administration in connection with the 152nd Gandhi Jayanti culminated on 02.10.2021.