Modi invokes Gandhi,calls for mission to clean cities

Urban development Summit: ‘Urbanisation should be treated as opportunity and matter of strength’.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published:October 18, 2013 3:29 am

Repeatedly invoking Mahatma Gandhi,Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday proposed to name 2019,the year of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary,as “Clean Cities” year. “Gandhiji had given utmost importance to cleanliness. We should work towards this mission: Nirmal Nagar (clean city) and collectively try to clean our cities,” he said.

He was speaking at the inaugural programme of the National Summit on Inclusive Urban Development at Mahatma Mandir. At the summit,Modi spoke of how Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar used to be just an ordinary city named after Gandhiji,until he decided to create a memorial — the Mahatma Mandir — whose building was founded by “the waters and soil from across the world”.

Aiming at a cleaner nation,Modi said that all its citizens should now begin to think of how our villages,towns and cities could be developed by 2022,when the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence.

“I had gone to Japan two years ago. Be it their biscuits or their china,everything read ‘2020 Japan Olympics’. Back then,Japan had not even won the bid to be the host,” Modi said,adding: “Can’t we also find an occasion to motivate the nation?” Japan is the partner country at the summit and Japanese ambassador Takeshi Yagi was present in the audience.

Stating that the near future presents two such opportunities before India,Modi suggested one to be Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019,the second being India’s 75th year of Independence in 2022. “Can’t we from today decide how our villages,towns,cities,and states will be by 2022. We still have seven to eight years in hand,” he said.

Speaking up for Dalits,Modi said,“Why should my Valmiki friend have to carry night soil on his head? Be it Dalits or victims or exploited or deprived,why should anybody be a slave of another? Last Sunday,nearly 10,000 Dalits from Gujarat converted to Buddhism in Junagadh to get rid of the social stigma and discrimination against them. The Gujarat government has ordered an inquiry into the conversion,terming it “illegal”.

Calling Gandhiji “Vishwamanav” (a citizen of the world),Modi said he was the first to think of a memorial for Gandhiji,“Whether my predecessors did or did not do is a different issue. I thought I should do it.”

“Because the Mahatma was a Vishwamanav,soil and water from all over the world was used in building the Mahatma Mandir — this place you are standing today. It was constructed in record time of 182 days,” said Modi.

He called the gathering at Mahatma Mandir a miniature “urban parliament”. “With delegates from 26 states and 411 districts,134 mayors and deputy mayors,what I have in front of me is an unofficial parliament of the urban section. Thirty-four per cent of urban development policy makers from various parts of India are present here,” he said.

According to Modi,initiatives like Jyotigram Yojana,which ensured three-phase uninterrupted power to villages,have resulted in “migration going down by 30 per cent”. Instead of treating urbanisation as a burden,it should be treated as an opportunity and a matter of strength,he added.

“The glory of a city is not attained merely by installing big gates or by infrastructure. It comes when each and every person in the city is integrated in the development journey,he said,adding that he believed in taking the public private partnership (PPP) model one step further — “People-Public-Private-Partnership”.

Vadodara Cong wants participants to see government’s ‘failure’

Vadodara: Vadodara city unit of Congress has invited the participants of the summit,which is to be held in Gandhinagar on October 18,to the city to see for themselves the state of housing colonies constructed in Vadodara under the various government schemes. The invitation letter,written to CM Narendra Modi,urges that all participants,discussing Inclusive Urban Development in the summit,must see why the model fails in Gujarat. Narendra Ravat,the president of Vadodara city Congress,says,“Does the CM have the right to host this summit? Today,the poor residents of Madhavnagar demand justice,compensation and rehabilitation. Stop this farce and do some solid work.

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