Legislators in Mizoram paid their last respects to former president APJ Abdul Kalam with speeches remembering him and observed a minute of silence in the late rocket scientist’s memory on Tuesday, the first day of the state assembly’s budget session.
Addressing the house, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said Kalam during his visits to Mizoram while he was President had made several suggestions, adding some of these were followed up by the state government.
These suggestions included using 2,600 hectares of land that lay fallow at the time, initiating the exploitation of bamboo (the state’s largest natural resource) to earn as much as Rs 30 crores annually from it, more cultivation of yams, ginger, oranges, pineapples and papayas, boosting the growing of Anthurium (a flower in whose name the state has for years been organising an annual festival since) and setting up of nursing colleges in the state.
Leader of the Opposition and former Lok Sabha MP Vanlalzawma meanwhile recalled how he had the “privilege” of accompanying APJ Abdul Kalam during a presidential tour of Singapore, the Phillipines and South Korea back in 2006, and it was “the top honour of my life” that he got to sit beside the late scientist in Singapore because more senior MPs who were to accompany him could not make it initially.
“What struck me most at the time was that this rocket and nuclear expert was pursuing research on how inserting a chip in the brains of Down Syndrome patients could possibly improve their condition, which meant his scientific interests stretched even to medicine and healthcare,” Vanlalzawma said, adding Kalam was also the only President to have visited Mizoram more than once during his tenure.
The state assembly also observed a minute of silence to mourn Kalam before the house began its business.
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