Times of India, Dec 1, 2014
Bikash Khemka,TNN Dec 1, 2014, 02.47 PM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: Confidence of tribal youth can be boosted through education, President Pranab Mukherjee said at Madanpur Rampur, 70 km from here, in Kalahandi district on Sunday. He inaugurated a newly-constructed Vivekananda Memorial Building at Ramkrishna Ashram. He had sanctioned Rs 1 crore for construction of the building when he was Union finance minister.
He was commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananada. "I am indeed happy to have the opportunity of visiting the ashram," he said.
Centre decided to recognize contributions of Vivekananda and a national memorial committee was established under the leadership of Prime Minister.
"I am the chairman of the committee for the implementation of the programme and Kalahandi was chosen as one of the places to commemorate sesquicentenary of Vivekananda's birth," he said.
Addressing a function in tribal and Maoist-hit area, Pranab cited teachings of Vivekananda and asked all to work for socially-deprived to help in nation building.
"This region is considered backward and poverty-stricken. Members of Lok Sabha, have many times raised various issues, pertaining to the area, in parliament. What is to be done is to instill confidence in youth and that confidence can come only through education," he said.
Voicing concern over backwardness of the area, he noted that Madanpur-Rampur region was once home to a rich and glorious civilization and forest resources, which earned it the name of 'Mahakantara' or 'Great Forest'. The president announced Rs 2 crore for development of the area.
Pranab appreciated the work being done by the ashram for welfare of poor, especially children, living in the area. He congratulated ashram secretary, saying Swami Vairagyanandji Maharaj travelled throughout India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and spread the message of Swamiji.
The projects implemented by ashram include establishment of facilities to provide education, lodging and coaching for tribal children, an innovative school, a residential training centre in agriculture and allied subjects, an old-age home, a mobile allopathy unit, a mobile homeopathy unit, an ayurvedic dispensary and a drug de-addiction centre. These initiatives, he said, will make the poor tribals self-sufficient.
The President lauded a publication titled 'Bharat Parikrama-Kalahandi to Kashmir and Kanyakumari' brought out in Odia, saying it can help young minds understand what Vivekananda wanted to convey.
He also unveiled a Vivekananda statue and met the ashram kids, who performed ghumra dance.
Governor S C Jamir, Lok Sabha member Abhijit Mukherjee (Jangipur, West Bengal) and former MP Bhakta Charan Das, finance minister Pradip Amat and MP Arka Kesari Deo also spoke during the event.