Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the “extraordinary” Narmada Seva Yatra, which ended here on Monday. He said that a similar campaign elsewhere in the world would have earned a global praise “but unfortunately for us’’, the association of a government or politicians “gives some people an opportunity to belittle the achievement”.
The PM was speaking at the conclusion of the Narmada Seva Yatra, which began here on December 11 last year and ended on May 15 after covering 3,184 km and passing through 16 districts and 950 villages, with participation of nearly 25 lakh people. “The Narmada protected us for centuries but we exploited the river by turning away from our duties and treating it as our right. We have to save the Narmada that once saved us,” he said.
Referring to the CM’s announcement that 6 crore saplings will be planted along the river on July 2, Modi said the effort would serve future generations. “I come from Gujarat and know the importance of every drop of water,’’ he said, adding that people and farmers from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan would also be grateful for the campaign to revive the river.
The PM released a blueprint for the Narmada, prepared by the Madhya Pradesh government. Calling it a “perfect document for future vision”, he said he has asked Madhya Pradesh to share it with other states.
He said Narmada is the only river where Parikrama (circumambulation) is performed. “I once tried to live that life. Narmada parikrama ahankar chur chur kar deti hai. Ahankar mitti me mil jata hai, sare badhano se mukta kar deti hai, zameen par la deti hai (circumambulating the Narmada destroys your pride, frees you from all fetters, makes you rooted).”
Modi also lauded the state’s cleanliness campaign, saying that sustained efforts had resulted in ranking of Indore and Bhopal as India’s cleanest cities. Describing Modi as “rashtra rishi (saint dedicated to the country), yugpurush (man of the generation) and Bharat ko bhagwan ka vardan (God’s gift to the nation)”, Chouhan said that Narmada would become the cleanest river.