Shimla: President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Friday addressed a special session of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha to mark the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Statehood of Himachal Pradesh.
President Kovind, in his address, said he felt honoured to address the assembly on its golden anniversary. “This Council Chamber building where we are meeting has been witnessing historic moments. It was here that Vitthal Bhai Patel defeated the British nominee to win the Central Legislative Assembly election,” he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind recalled all former CM’s, both from the Congress and the BJP, for their contribution in taking Himachal ahead on the path of development. He appreciated contributions made by former Chief Ministers – Late Dr. Y.S. Parmar, Late Thakur Ram Lal, Shanta Kumar, Prem Kumar Dhumal and Late Virbhadra Singh. He said that the initiative taken by the Himachal Pradesh government to take the development journey of the state to the people is highly commendable. Himachal Pradesh has set new dimensions of development in various fields. He noted that according to a report by NITI Aayog, Himachal Pradesh ranks second in the country in the “Sustainable Development Goals – India Index 2020-21”.
He said that Himachal Pradesh is the leading state in the country on many parameters. He appreciated the government of Himachal Pradesh for these achievements.
Pointing to the fact that the water of the rivers of Himachal Pradesh is clean and the soil is full of nutrients, the President urged the farmers of the state to adopt natural farming more and more and keep their land free from chemical fertilizers.
The President said that eco-friendly agriculture, horticulture, tourism, education, employment – especially self-employment – etc. have immense potential for sustainable development in Himachal Pradesh. This state is full of natural beauty. Therefore, we should make continuous efforts for development while preserving its natural beauty and heritage.
He also paid tributes to valiant soldiers. “Peace-loving yet brave people of Himachal Pradesh have been valiantly responding to injustice, terror and any attack on the country’s pride when required,” President said.
He pointed that youth from almost every village of Himachal Pradesh serve in the Indian Armed Forces. He noted that the number of ex-servicemen in the state is more than 1,20,000. He said that Ram Singh Pathania, who laid down his life in the struggle against British rule, Param Vir Chakra – Major Somnath Sharma, Captain Vikram Batra, Subedar Sanjay Kumar – and many other heroes like Captain Saurabh Kalia have raised the head of the entire country and Himachal Pradesh. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on behalf of a grateful nation, he bows to the holy memory of those brave hearts, he said.
Earlier, Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar felicitated the President on his visit to Himachal Pradesh. He said that it was a matter of pleasure that we became part of this important and historical moment of 50 years of the golden journey of the State.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while extending his warm greetings to the President of India, said that it was a matter of great happiness that the State was celebrating this year as the golden jubilee year of the Statehood. He said that despite difficult geographical conditions, the 50 years journey of this hill State had been glorious and full of achievements. He said that in the year 1971, the per capita income of the state was Rs. 651 which had now gone up to Rs 1,95,000. Similarly, the length of the roads in 1971 was 7370 kilometres whereas today the State had over 37,808 kilometers of roads. He said that in 1971, there were only 4945 educational institutions in the state whereas today this number had gone over 15000. Today, the State had several national level prestigious institutions such as AIIMS, IIM, IIIT and the State had also made extensive progress in agriculture and horticulture sector in these years.
The Chief Minister also expressed his gratitude to all the people of the State for their significant contributions in the development journey of the state, besides paying his tributes to former Chief Ministers of the State late Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, Ram Lal Thakur and Virbhadra Singh. He also thanked former Chief Ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal for their contributions in the development of the State.
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said that the role of Dr. Y.S. Parmar and Virbhadra Singh in development of the State was immense as both these leaders remained Chief Ministers of the State for maximum time. He also urged the President of India to constitute a Himachal Regiment of the State, keeping in view the immense role the youth of Himachal they were playing in the Armed Forces.
Speaker, State Vidhan Sabha Vipin Singh Parmar welcomed the President and other dignitaries present on the occasion. He thanked the President for gracing the Vidhan Sabha. He said that this Vidhan Sabha was probably the first Vidhan Sabha of the country which could be truly called ‘E-Vidhan Sabha’.
Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Ministers, MPs, MLAs, former MPs and former MLAs were also present on the occasion.