NEW DELHI: Concerned over looming water crisis ahead of summer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized on water conservation by reviving ponds and lakes and said that the government is constructing five lakh farming ponds to collect rain water.
Addressing people via his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the Prime Minister said that focus has been on creating assets for water conservation under the MNREGA and pitched for people’s movement to save water.
He also touched upon issues related to excess use of fertilizers by farmers which have badly impacted the soil and ground water. Many parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka are facing acute water shortage and situation is expected to worsen in summers.
Modi also talked about India hosting FIFA Under-17 World Cup and rued that India's standard in football has been falling over the last few decades after the country won gold medals in 1951 and 1962 Asian Games and stood fourth in the 1956 Olympic Games.
The prime minister emphasized that it is important to take football to every village and said that the FIFA U-17 is a great opportunity.
"A country with 65 percent youth and losing out in the world of sports, it does not make sense. It is time for a new revolution in the field of sports. We can see that like cricket, there is growing interest towards football, hockey, tennis and kabaddi," he said.
Modi said that due to the tournament, India will get an opportunity to create good sporting infrastructure and sought suggestions from public about its logo, slogans, songs and souvenirs for the FIFA event.
"I want that every youth of this country becomes the ambassador of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, 2017. Get involved in this. It is golden opportunity for the country's recognition," he said.
The ongoing T-20 World Cup also made it to his address and Modi congratulated Indian over its last two wins against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Modi, during the 30-minute radio programme, touched upon issues ranging from eradicating TB from the country and fighting diabetes. He also asked students to develop some skills during the summer vacations.
He also mentioned that the government is developing all the five places associated with Dalit icon B R Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary which falls on April 14.