NEW DELHI: Concerned over looming water crisis ahead of summer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on water conservation by reviving ponds and lakes and said that the government is constructing five lakh ponds to collect rain water.
Addressing people through his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister said that the focus had been on creating assets for water conservation under the MNREGA and pitched for a people’s movement to save water.
He also touched on issues related to the excess use of fertilizers by farmers, which had badly impacted the soil and ground water. Many parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka are facing acute water shortage and the situation is expected to worsen in summers.
Modi also talked about India hosting FIFA Under-17 World Cup and rued that India’s standards in football had been falling over the last few decades after the country won gold medals in the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games and stood fourth in the 1956 Olympic Games.
The Prime Minister emphasised that it was important to take football to every village and said that the FIFA U-17 was a great opportunity. “A country with 65 per cent 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 would 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,” he said.
Modi also congratulated the Indian cricket team 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 mentioned that the government was developing all five places associated with Dalit icon B R Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary, which falls on April 14.