STATE TIMES NEWS
Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday termed Kashi as the cultural capital of India, and said the city is steeped in music and arts.
The prime minister was addressing the closing ceremony of the Kashi Sansad Sanskritik Mahotsav-2023 at the Rudraksh International Cooperation and Convention Centre here. On the occasion, he also inaugurated 16 Atal Awasiya Vidyalayas built across Uttar Pradesh at a cost of around Rs 1,115 crore.
Modi also announced a tourist guide competition and said that be it a tourist spot or a ‘dham’ (pilgrimage place), good guides are very necessary.
“The people of Kashi know the most about Kashi. Here, every person, every family is the brand ambassador of Kashi in its true meaning. But it is also important that everyone is able to convey the information about Kashi effectively,” he said. “I want to start for the first time in the country…’Kashi Saansad Tourist Guide Pratiyogita’…I want to do this because I want my Kashi’s glory to reverberate around the world,” said Modi, who represents Varanasi, also known as Kashi, in the Lok Sabha.
The prime minister said a guide should be talented and complete in terms of having all the information.
“This strength should be there in Kashi. Today tourist guide is a very big employment (avenue) as tourists who come here want to understand everything and they also want to pay,” he said.
The prime minister said India established its presence globally through the G20 Summit and there was a special discussion about Kashi and its ‘seva’ (service), ‘swaad’ (taste), ‘sanskriti’ (culture) and ‘sangeet’ (music) during the meet.
Addressing the gathering, Modi remarked that the respect for Kashi has continuously grown with the blessings of Lord Mahadev and the policies for the city are reaching new heights. He said that the success of the G20 Summit is owed to the blessing of Lord Mahadev.
“Kashi is now seeing unprecedented development. Today I laid the foundation of an international cricket stadium. I also got the opportunity to dedicate to the nation 16 Atal Awasiya Vidyalayas,” he said.
The 16 residential schools in Uttar Pradesh, named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have been opened to provide quality education to children of labourers and construction workers and those orphaned in the COVID-19 pandemic. The schools will accommodate 1,000 students each.
“When I came here in 2014, the dream of development and heritage of Kashi that I had imagined is now gradually coming true,” Modi said, referring to his first election from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.
The prime minister also said the biggest base for the educational success of Varanasi is its all inclusive nature. People from different corners of the country and the world come here to study, he said.
He also spoke about the new National Education Policy and the PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) initiative.
While talking about the Atal Awasiya Vidyalayas, Prime Minister Modi said, “Construction workers move from one village to another place and the studies of their children get affected. For them, a budget is allocated.”
“If you collect information, you will find that this money is with every state, and the Centre has given them a complete freehand (to utilise it). But many states (the parties governing them) are using the money on works that can fetch votes for them,” he said taking a dig at his political rivals.
Praising Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the schools, he said these schools reflect how those who don’t work for selfish interests or for seeking political mileage work.
But, “those whose minds and hearts are filled with only elections, (those who) have the habit of indulging in games to garner votes, they waste such money,” Modi said.
Before dedicating the residential schools to the nation, Prime Minister Modi interacted with some students.
These schools will enhance access to quality education and help in the holistic development of children. Each of these schools is constructed on an area of 10-15 acres with classrooms, playground, recreational areas, mini-auditorium, hostel complex, mess and residential quarters for staff members.
The prime minister, while sharing his experience from the interaction, said that the children may be from labourers’ families, but “the self-confidence, which I saw in them, I would like to congratulate their teachers”.
“The way in which they were talking and asking questions…I could see a spark and capability in these children. In a span of 10 years, ‘aan’, baan’, ‘shaan’ (pride, glory and splendour) of Kashi and of Uttar Pradesh will shine,” Modi said
The prime minister applauded the vast participation in the Kashi Sanskritik Mahotsav.
Noting that this was only the first edition of the Mahotsav, he said that around 40,000 artistes took part and several thronged the venue to witness it.
He expressed confidence that the Kashi Sansad Sanskritik Mahotsav will create a new identity for itself in the coming times with the support of the people. Modi said that Kashi is becoming a centre of attraction for tourists from around the world.
Referring to the portal of the Kashi Saansad Khel Pratiyogita, which was launched on Saturday, the prime minister said that whether it is Khel Partiyogita or the Kashi Sansad Sanskritik Mahotsav, it is just the beginning of new traditions in Kashi. He announced that the Kashi Sansad Gyan Pratiyogita will also be organised.
PM lays foundation stone of international cricket stadium
Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation stone of an international cricket stadium in Varanasi and said that through the game, the world is “getting linked” with India.
Highlighting that the design of the stadium dedicated to Lord Mahadev has instilled a feeling of pride among the citizens of Kashi, he said the facility would witness great cricket matches while young athletes would get an opportunity to train at the international level.
Modi said recent sporting successes of India were due to a changed approach as now sports have been linked with fitness, employment and career of youths.
Compared to nine years ago, this year’s sports budget has been increased threefold, he said.
“Through cricket, the world is getting linked with India” and many new countries are playing cricket leading to a greater number of matches, he said, adding this stadium will cater to the rising demand for such facilities in the coming years. To be built near the Ring Road in Rajatalab area here at a cost of about Rs 450 crores and spread across an area of more than 30 acres, the stadium is likely to be ready by December 2025. The Uttar Pradesh government said it has spent Rs 121 crore to acquire the land for the stadium while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will spend Rs 330 crore on its construction.
The spectators’ gallery of the stadium would resemble the steps of the ghats of Varanasi. This will be Uttar Pradesh’s third international cricket stadium after Kanpur and Lucknow.
Addressing the gathering, Modi said he is visiting Kashi exactly one month after India reached the Shiv Shakti point on the moon where Chandrayaan landed.
“One place of Shiv Shakti is on the moon, while the other one is here in Kashi,” he said.
He also noted the significance of the venue which is at the intersection of the route to Mata Vindhyavasini and its proximity with the village Motikot, the place from which socialist leader Raj Narain hailed.
Modi underlined that the development of sports infrastructure of such scale not only has a positive effect on sports but also on the regional economy. He said such developments attract more visitors which greatly benefits sectors such as hotels, eateries, rickshaws and auto drivers as well as oarsmen in the region.
The prime minister highlighted that it also has a positive effect on sports coaching and management institutions thereby paving the way for youth to venture into sports startups. He touched upon physiotherapy courses and said a new sports industry is expected to shape up in Varanasi in the coming days.
He also said there is a change in attitude towards sports among parents. “Now the mood of the nation is – Jo Khelega wo hi Khilega (one who will play will blossom).”
The prime minister also saw a change in Kashi towards sports. He said effort is to provide world-level sports facilities to the youth of Kashi.
That is why, along with this stadium Rs 400 crore are being spent on Sigra stadium where facilities are being developed for more than 50 sports, he said, adding this is going to be the first multi-sports complex which will be divyang friendly.
Khelo India’s budget got a hike of about 70 per cent compared to last year, he said.
“Government moves with the athletes like a team member from school to the Olympics podium,” he asserted.
The prime minister highlighted the World University Games where India won more medals in this year’s edition compared to all the medals bagged in the previous editions.
He acknowledged the presence of sporting potential in every village, city nook and corner of the country and emphasized the need to find them and develop their skills.
“Youth coming from small towns and villages have become the pride of the nation today,” Modi said as he stressed creating more and more opportunities for them.
Former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Shastri, BCCI president Roger Binny, vice president Rajiv Shukla and secretary Jay Shah were present on the occasion. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also attended the function.
Acknowledging the presence of the stalwarts from the sporting fraternity on the occasion, Modi thanked them for their affection towards Kashi.
“Good coaches and good coaching are equally important to encourage and hone new talent,” he emphasised as he informed that athletes who have won national and international accolades are encouraged to take up the role of coaches.
Modi said that new infrastructure will give new opportunities to the athletes from small towns and villages.
He informed that under the new National Education Policy, sports is treated as a proper subject rather than an extracurricular activity.
“The expansion of sports infrastructure is essential for the development of a nation,” he emphasised.
Modi mentioned that several cities in the world are known for organizing global sporting events and stressed developing sports infrastructure in the country capable of hosting such global events.
This stadium, he said, will be a witness to this resolution of development which will not merely be a structure of bricks and concrete but will also become a symbol of the future of India.