Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the “people of Kashmir are eager to join the national mainstream’’ and the “power of development is stronger than the might of bullets and bombs’’.
In his address to the nation through his Mann Ki Baat, Modi said: “I read a very interesting comment on MyGov.in. This comment came from Muhammad Aslam, who lives in Shopian, Jammu & Kashmir. He wrote, ‘I like listening to the programme Mann Ki Baat. I am happy to let you know that I played a positive active role in organising the community mobilisation programme, ‘Back to Village’, in my state. I feel such programmes should be organised every quarter. Simultaneously, there should be a provision for online monitoring too’.”
The Prime Minister said that under the ‘Back to Village’ programme, senior government officials, for the first time, visited villages across the state to “judge for themselves, to gauge the obstacles in the path of progress, and to remove the hurdles’’. The week-long programme involved 4,500 panchayats across the state.
Modi said the programme was not just a “government formality’’ and the officials stayed in these villages for two-three days, interacting with residents. Calling it a “festival of people’s awakening’’, Modi said the programme was implemented in remote villages across Kashmir, including the sensitive districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag, as well as villages “living under the shadow of cross-firing’’.
“The people of Kashmir open-heartedly became equal stakeholders in this festival… Programmes like these and people’s participation or stake-holding indicates that our brothers and sisters in Kashmir want good governance and proves the dictum that the power of development is stronger than the might of bullets and bombs. It is clear that those who wish to spread hatred en route to development, pose hurdles, will never succeed in their sinister plans,’’ Modi said.
The Prime Minister said 3 lakh pilgrims had already visited Amarnath — the highest in the last four years. “These are portents of booming tourism in the future,” he said.
Speaking on the floods in parts of India, he said: “I assure all the citizens affected by floods that the Centre, in tandem with state governments, is working at lightning pace to provide relief and succour. On television, we witness just one aspect of monsoon — floods everywhere, water-logging and traffic jam. The other picture of monsoon — the overjoyed farmer, chirping birds, gurgling waterfalls and earth wrapped under a green cover — to witness this, you will have to step out with your family.”
Reiterating his concern over depleting groundwater levels and emphasising the need for water conversation, Modi talked of a people’s movement in Ormanjhi block, near Ranchi in Jharkhand, where villagers have collectively changed the course of a mountain spring, leading to “effective irrigation of their fields’’, while preventing both soil erosion and crop damage.
Modi also spoke on the successful launch of Chandrayaan II. “I firmly believe that you must have felt immensely proud on India’s achievement beyond the skies, in outer space, with Chandrayaan II. In fact, in the realms of space, 2019 has been a very fruitful year for India… Chandrayaan II is a mission that is special on many counts… But if you ask me what are the two greatest lessons I have learnt from Chandrayaan II, I shall say they are faith and fearlessness. We should trust our talents and capacities; we should have faith in them.”
The Prime Minister announced that a nation-wide science and technology quiz competition will be held for children, and the winners will be taken to visit Sriharikota for the Chandrayaan’s landing on the Moon.