India has faced pandemic, other challenges with courage, resolve for victory, says Modi
New Delhi, May 30, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the people of India, faced with the biggest pandemic in the last 100 years and facing several natural calamities including cyclones, floods and earthquakes, displayed great courage and resolve for victory to overcome each and every challenge.
In his monthly address, “Mann ki Baat” over All India Radio (AIR), the Prime Minister said that, in the past ten days, the country faced two major cyclones – cyclone Taukte on the west coast and cyclone Yaas on the east coast. Both these cyclones affected several states. However, compared to the past, there was minimum loss of life due to the Centre, State governments and local administration working together.
“However big the challenge be, India’s resolve for victory, her Vijay-Sankalp has always been equal in magnitude. Her collective strength and spirit of service has always rescued the country from every storm. We’ve seen in the days gone by how our doctors, nurses and frontline warriors have toiled day and night without bothering about themselves and continue to do so," he said.
There were several others who played key roles in ensuring the much needed supplies like medical oxygen reached the hospitals on time, he said.
“When the second COVID wave came, the demand for oxygen surged all of a sudden…this was a very big challenge…delivering medical oxygen to remote parts of the country was indeed a huge task. Many plants manufacturing industrial oxygen are located in the eastern parts of the country…transporting oxygen to other states of the country requires many days.
“In confronting this challenge, the country was helped by cryogenic tanker drivers, the Oxygen Express and Air Force pilots…many such people worked on a war footing, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Modi talked to Dinesh Upadhyay, resident of Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, an oxygen tanker driver. He said he had been driving an oxygen tanker for 15-17 years. Despite all the stress at work, he along with his colleagues, had been busy delivering the consignments.
Earlier, oxygen trucks used to be caught up in traffic jams. However, at present the administration has arranged for fast transportation. “Wherever we go, we feel an inner eagerness within…how soon can we reach and save people’s lives! Whether one gets to eat or not…or facing any other problem…when we reach hospital with the tanker, we see people at the hospital there gesturing at us with a V sign or thumbs up…people whose family members are admitted," Upadhyay said.
Modi said Indian Railways, too, had stepped forward. Oxygen Express has transported larger quantities of oxygen to all corners of the country, faster than oxygen tankers travelling by road. One oxygen express is being run fully by women.
The Prime Minister talked to Shirisha Gajni, a loco pilot of Oxygen Express. She said she had to ensure safety while transporting the tankers and watch out for leakages. She was given a green channel to transport oxygen and she managed to cover 125 km in one and a half hours.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy have also pitched in to transport oxygen, oxygen concentrators and cryogenic tankers from abroad also are being brought into the country. Group Captain AK Patnaik said, ”For the last one month, we have been continuously lifting oxygen tankers and liquid oxygen containers from both domestic and international destinations. The Air Force has completed more than about 1,600 sorties and we have flown more than 3,000 hours. We have completed nearly 160 international missions; due to which, from all places, oxygen tankers from domestic destinations which earlier took two to three days, now we can deliver from one place to another in two to three hours, in international missions too within 24 hours by doing continuous round the clock operations… Entire Air Force is engaged in this so that we can help the country by bringing in as many tankers as soon as possible.
“The planes have been sent on short notice to Singapore, Dubai, Belgium, Germany and UK. To all these places different fleets of the Indian Air Force sir, IL-76 , C-17 and other planes had gone… C-130 which had gone by planning at very short notice. Because of our training and zeal, we were able to complete these missions on time,” he added.
Modi said, “Similarly, millions of people are toiling day and night. The tasks they are performing is not part of their routine work. This type of disaster has hit the world in a hundred years. We have met such a big calamity after a century. Therefore, no one had any experience of this kind of work. Behind it lies the spirit of service for the country and power of resolve.
“This is why the country has been able to do work that has never been done before. You can guess for yourself, in normal circumstances we used to produce 900 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen in a day. Now, it has expanded to generating more than 10 times the normal output and producing around 9,500 metric tonnes per day. Our warriors are transporting this oxygen to far-flung corners of the country,” he added.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was only one testing lab in the country, but today more than 2,500 labs are in operation. Initially, only a few hundred tests could be conducted in a day, now more than 20 lakh tests are being carried out in a single day. So far, more than 33 crore samples have been tested in the country. There are countless frontline workers engaged in the work of sample collection, going amidst infected patients, and taking their sample is an example of yeoman service.
“Meanwhile, the agricultural sector protected itself from this attack to a great extent. Not only did it keep itself safe, but the sector also progressed. Do you know that even in this pandemic, our farmers have achieved record produce! The farmers produced record output and this time the country went on to procure record amounts of crop . This time in many places farmers have got more than the minimum support price (MSP) for mustard. Due to the record food grain production, our country has been able to provide support to every countryman. Today, 800 million underprivileged people are being provided free ration in this hour of crisis.
“The farmers of our country are doing wonders in many areas by taking advantage of the new arrangements. Take for example, the farmers of Agartala. These farmers produce very good jackfruit harvest. Anticipating their demand in the country and abroad, this time the jackfruit of farmers of Agartala was brought to Guwahati by rail. Jackfruit is now being sent to London from Guwahati.
"The Kisan Rail is ferrying hundreds of tons of Vizianagaram mangoes to Delhi. The people of Delhi and North India will get to eat Vizianagaram mangoes, and the farmers of Vizianagaram will earn well. The Kisan Rail has so far transported nearly 2 lakh tonnes of produce. Now the farmers are able to send fruits, vegetables, grains to other remote parts of the country at a very low cost," he said.
Modi noted that this edition of Mann Ki Baat also marked the completion of 7 years of his government.
"Over these years, the country has followed the mantra of 'Sabka-Saath, Sabka-Vikas, Sabka-Vishwas'. All of us have worked every moment with dedication in the service of the country. Whatever we have accomplished in these 7 years, it has been of the country, of the countrymen. Together, we have experienced many moments of national pride in these years. When we observe that now India moves ahead not with the thought and pressure of other countries but with her own conviction, then we all feel proud. When we witness that now India gives a befitting reply to those who conspire against us, then our confidence soars. When India does not compromise on the issues of national security, when the strength of our armed forces increases, we feel that yes, we are on the right path," the Prime Minister added.