Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday credited Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s “vision of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” for the government’s ‘recent step’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government in the first week of August abrogated Article 370 to revoke special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two union territories.
Addressing a gathering near the State of Unity in Narmada on his 69th birthday, Modi recalled Patel’s role in integration of princely states with India after Independence. “September 17 is celebrated as Vishwakarma Jayanti. But the date is known in the history for another important development. It was on September 17, 1948, when Hyderabad was integrated with India thanks to the efforts of Vallabhbhai,” Modi said.
“Sardar’s vision of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat was the motivation behinda my government’s recent step in Jammu and Kashmir. My government is committed to this vision,” the PM said in an apparent reference to the revocation of J&K’s special status.
After offering prayers to the Narmada at the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which has touched its full capacity of 138.68 metre for the first time in 30 years’ history, Modi said, “The dream of Vallabhbhai has been fulfilled today… And this dream is coming true in the front of the Sardar’s statue’’.
Located 3 km from the dam at Sadhu Bet overlooking the dam, at 182-metre it is the tallest statue in the world. Commenting on the long journey of the dam’s construction, PM Modi said, “There was a time that even raising dam level up to 122 feet was an achievement. But in the last five years, the dam has attained its full height of 138 metres, which is amazing’’.
In 2006, Modi as Gujarat CM had gone on a hunger strike to protest the Center’s decision over the dam’s height. In his last couple of years in Gujarat, his office was at loggerheads with the then PM Manmohan Singh over installation of radial gates that take the height to the maximum level. Within 17 days of becoming the PM in 2014, one of the first steps of his government was to install these gates.
He opined that Gujarat’s successful projects like ‘more crop per drop’ involving drip and micro irrigation method, can be useful in doubling farmers’ income across the country.
Citing Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad’s recent study, Modi said micro irrigation has saved 50 per cent of water, 25 per cent fertilizer, crop production increase by 30 per hectare and the farmer’s income has gone up by Rs 15,500.