KOCHI: “No one on earth can dare to doubt the patriotism of the Muslim people in Lakshadweep. No one can put a question mark on the patriotism of the people of Lakshadweep,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.
The Defence Minister was speaking after unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at a three-day mega fest organized by the Lakshadweep Administration in connection with the 152nd Gandhi Jayanti which culminated on Saturday. Rajnath Singh was the chief guest for the festival.
The Defence Minister during his speech also shared the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that although the islands of Lakshadweep are thousands of kilometers away from Delhi, the people living at Lakshadweep are not far from the hearts of the Central Government.
Rajnath Singh also underlined the significance of cleanliness as envisaged by Mahatma and inspired the people of Lakshadweep for a behavioral change so as to ensure that the maritime ecosystem is kept clean. He also spoke on the issue of climate change and how global warming and the resulting rise in ocean levels pose a threat to the existence of Lakshadweep. The Defence Minister also congratulated the Lakshadweep Administration for the developmental works undertaken, especially in the social sector and infrastructural developments under the leadership of Praful Patel.
Function and cultural programs at Mahatma Gandhi Stage was attended by more than six thousand people.
The Defence Minister, who arrived at Agatti via Defence Aircraft, was accorded a warm welcome with the traditional dance of Lakshadweep and more than two thousand people had gathered at Agatti Airport for the Defence Minister's arrival.
Rajnath Singh who arrived at Kavaratti on Saturday was received with the formal guard of honor followed by an overwhelming welcome by more than four thousand people who were gathered on both the stretches on a 6 km road leading from Helibase to Lakshadweep House.
As part of the national festival and in a historic milestone, the Statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled and dedicated to the nation by the Defence Minister.
Member of Parliament of Lakshadweep Constituency, PP Mohammad Faizal and the Chairman of the Village Dweep Panchayat were also present during the Lokarpan ceremony.
Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel greeted the gathering in Malayalam amidst a huge round of applause from the public and shared the ideals of Bapu and the relevance of Gandhiji in the present times especially in making the Atmanirbhar Bharat. Patel also briefed the people about the various initiatives of the Lakshadweep Administration in fields of clean energy, health, education, tourism, poverty alleviation and others.
During the state function, while listing various initiatives taken up by the Administration such as the development of four new hospitals, expansion of Agatti airport, construction of new Government Senior Secondary School at Kavaratti, and others, the Administrator also shared the commitment of the Administration in removing illegal encroachment on government land by few people having vested interests so that the Administration may plan for a housing scheme for the landless residents and for those who are not having proper houses.
The state function also became the platform for the inauguration of Government Nursing College, Kavaratti, Paramedical College, Kavaratti, Polytechnic College, Minicoy, the fourth PSA Oxygen Plant in Lakshadweep at CHC, Androth, distribution of agricultural implements to farmers, and for laying of the foundation stones for the landing stations of KLI Optical Fiber Connectivity Project of the Central Government worth Rs 1,073 crore in four islands.