NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed confidence that the people of Kutch will rapidly emerge from the devastation caused by Cyclone Biparjoy and hailed the strength of disaster management that India has developed.
The cyclone made landfall near Jakhau on the Kutch coast of Gujarat on Thursday evening, felling trees and electric poles and damaging houses.
The cyclone affected eight coastal districts of Gujarat the most but the state reported no loss of life, with the authorities shifting more than a lakh people to safer places.
In his “Mann Ki Baat” radio broadcast, Modi said, “Be it the loftiest goal, be it the toughest challenge, the collective might of the people of India, the collective power provides a solution to every challenge.”
“Just two-three days ago, we saw how big a cyclone hit the western part of the country… Strong winds, heavy rain. Cyclone Biparjoy caused a lot of destruction in Kutch. But the courage and preparedness with which the people of Kutch fought such a dangerous cyclone is equally unprecedented too,” he said.
He noted that just a couple of days later, the people of Kutch are going to celebrate their new year — Ashadhi Beej.
It is also a coincidence that Ashadhi Beej is considered a symbol of the onset of rains in Kutch, he said.
“I have been going to Kutch for many years. I have also had the good fortune to serve the people there… and that’s how I know very well the zest and fortitude of the people of Kutch. Kutch, which was once considered to be the place that would never be able to recover after the devastating earthquake two decades ago, today, the same district is one of the fastest growing districts of the country,” he said.
“I am sure the people of Kutch will rapidly emerge from the devastation caused by Cyclone Biparjoy,” Modi added.
While noting that no one has any control over natural calamities, Modi said the strength of disaster management that India has developed over the years is becoming an example today.
“There is a significant way to combat natural calamities — viz conservation of nature. These days, during monsoon, our responsibility in this direction increases manifold. That is why today the country is making collective efforts through campaigns like ‘Catch the Rain’,” he said.
Pointing out that start-ups associated with water conservation were discussed in the “Mann Ki Baat” broadcast last month, Modi said this time, too, he has come to know through letters about many people who are trying their very best to save every drop of water.
He also talked about one Tulsiram Yadav of Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district.
“You too know that there have always been hardships regarding water in the Banda and the Bundelkhand regions. To overcome this challenge, Tulsiram ji has built more than 40 ponds in the area, taking the people of the village along with him. Tulsiram ji has made the basis of his campaign farm water in farms, village water in villages,” he said.
Today, the result of his hard work is that the groundwater level in his village is improving, Modi said.
Similarly, in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh, people collectively have revived an extinct river, he said.
“A long time ago, there used to be a river there named Neem. As time went by, she disappeared but was always remembered in local memories and folklore. Eventually, people decided to revive this natural heritage of theirs. On account of the collective efforts of the people, the Neem river has started flowing again,” he said.
The point of origin of the river, the headwater, is also being developed as an ‘Amrit Sarovar’, Modi said.
“These rivers, canals, lakes are not only water sources… life’s myriad hues and emotions are also associated with them,” Modi said.