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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

At Bhopal tribal meet, PM Modi accuses Opposition of ‘neglect’, cites change in forest laws

The PM announced that the birth anniversary of tribal icon Birsa Munda on November 15 will be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas.

By: Express News Service | Bhopal |
Updated: November 16, 2021 8:19:46 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi news, Narendra Modi Bhopal, Bhopal news, Adivasis, tribal communities, Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, Gandhi Jayanti, Sardar Patel Jayanti, Indian Express, India news, current affairsPM Narendra Modi at Kamlapati Railway Station on Monday (Twitter: @narendramodi)

ADDRESSING a mega tribal meeting here Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government had made Adivasis partners in the country’s development and beneficiaries of various welfare schemes, unlike previous governments, when they were “neglected”. He also said tribals had been part of Indian culture through the ages and Lord Ram had “drawn inspiration” from them during his exile.

The PM announced that the birth anniversary of tribal icon Birsa Munda on November 15 will be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, on the lines of Gandhi Jayanti, Sardar Patel Jayanti and Ambedkar Jayanti, and said tribal art and culture, their contribution to the freedom struggle and nation-building, is for the first time being remembered with pride.

Without naming the Congress, Modi told the crowd of around two lakh, assembled at Bhopal’s Jamboree Ground from across the state’s 52 districts: “After Independence, those who ruled for many decades, they only gave priority to their selfish political interests. Despite tribals comprising 10% of the population, their traditions, talent were neglected. Adivasi pain, their children’s education, health did not matter.”

Development is now taking place in 100 “aspirational” districts, Modi said, calling the “neglect” a “crime”. Forest laws had also been tweaked to benefit tribals, he said.

“Janjati samaj ke yogdaan ke bina, kya Prabhu Ram ke jeevan mein safaltaon ki kalpana ki jaa sakti hai? Bilkul nahin (Without tribal society, could what all Lord Ram achieved be imagined? Absolutely not),” Modi added. “Vanvasiyon ke saath bitaye samaye ne, ek rajkumar ko maryada purushottam Ram banane mein aham yogdaan diya hai (The time he spent with tribal communities played an important role in Ram’s transition from a prince to the ideal man).”

The country cannot forget the bravery of Gond queen Durgawati, the sacrifice of Rani Kamlapati or the help provided by Bhils to Rajput king Maharana Pratap, he said.

Modi also said he was moved to tears by the recipients of the Padma Shri who are working for tribals coming barefoot to the recent award ceremony. He cited the appointment of Mangubhai Patel as Madhya Pradesh Governor, the first tribal in the post in the state, and said the Jal Jeevan Mission had provided tap water to 30 lakh rural households in Madhya Pradesh, most of them in tribal areas.

The PM announced multiple initiatives for the welfare of tribals, including the Ration Aapke Gram (Ration In Your Village) scheme and 50 more residential schools across the country, and said products being made by them are being marketed online. “A simple thing such as bamboo cultivation was stuck in the cobwebs of law (earlier). Was it not their right to sell bamboo and earn their living? We made changes to forest rights laws. Earlier governments only gave MSP on 10 items, but 90 forest items come under MSP now,” said Modi.

He handed over genetic counselling cards to beneficiaries to mark the launch of the Madhya Pradesh Sickle Cell (Hemoglobinopathy) Mission, for checking the hereditary disease.

Later, inaugurating the Rani Kamalapati Railway Station, renamed from Habibganj, Modi said the creation of facilities such as at the station heralds the beginning of transformation from VIP culture to “EPI (Every Person is Important)”.

The railway station has a central concourse connecting all platforms. The PM listed its facilities including a gaming zone, hospital, mall, and said those times were past when travelling by trains was associated with congestion, filth, delays and safety concerns. As many as 175 railway stations in the country are being revamped on similar lines, he said.

Accusing previous governments of being sluggish in implementing railway projects, Modi cited work on the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors as example of how construction had picked up.

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