Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi File photo

Modi pays tributes to soldiers on Kargil Divas, calls for support for medical personnel fighting COVID-19

New Delhi, July 25, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tributes to the defence personnel on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Divas, as on this day the army had unfurled the victory flag on the battlefield, and urged the people to extend full support to the medical personnel in the forefront of the ongoing battle against the Coronavirus.

Delivering his monthly “Mann ki Baat” address over All India Radio (AIR), Modi said Pakistan had embarked on “a misadventure nursing delusions of encroaching upon Indian soil, to distract attention from their internal strife” at a time when India was making efforts to foster good relations with its neighbour.

He quoted a couplet stating that “to the wicked, enmity with one and all for no reason comes naturally… that is why when India extended a hand of friendship, Pakistan tried to respond, stabbing in the back.”

"However, with gallant deeds, high morale and bravery, the armed forces earned a well-deserved victory. The enemy lodged in soaring mountainous heights were evicted by our armed forces," he said.

Saluting the brave soldiers on behalf of all the countrymen, he urged the youth to share stories of the heroic deeds of our brave hearts and visit the website for more information on the soldiers and tales of their valour.

“In times of war, whatever we say or do has an immense bearing on the morale of the soldier, ever vigilant at the border, as well as the morale of his family. We should never forget this… and that is why our conduct, our demeanour, our speech, our statements, our limits, our aims… whatever we do and say, must distinctly be conducive to enhancing their morale and honour," he said.

The Prime Minister regretted that, at times, without paying heed to the essence, certain things appear on the social media that are detrimental to the country. “There are times when we keep forwarding things out of sheer curiosity. Despite knowing that it is wrong, we keep doing it. These days, battles are fought not just on borders, they are fought within the country, too, on many fronts simultaneously. And every countryman has to decide his or her role in that. We too should determine our roles, fully bearing in mind soldiers fighting on the borders under the harshest conditions,” he added.

Referring to the ongoing battle against COVID-19, he said while the recovery rate from the pandemic in India was better and the death rate lower than many countries, the threat was far from being over.

“At many places, it is spreading fast. We need to be extra vigilant. We should bear in mind that the infection is as fatal today as it was in the beginning – that’s why we have to be fully prepared. Wearing a face mask, using a gamchcha or a light towel to cover, two-yard distancing, frequently washing hands, avoiding spitting anywhere, taking full care of hygiene & sanitation- these are our weapons to protect us.

“There are times when masks cause inconvenience, one feels like removing them from the face -- especially during a conversation. When a mask is required the most, we tend to remove it. At such times, I urge you that whenever you feel your mask is bothersome and you want to remove it, spare a thought for those doctors, those nurses; think of our Corona warriors.

“You will find them wearing masks for hours together, diligently working to save our lives -- sometimes wearing masks for a span of eight to ten hours. Doesn’t that discomfort them? Just think about them… you too will feel that as citizens, we should not be negligent at all; nor let others be so,” he added.

In this context, he lauded the efforts by the panchayat chiefs and people in rural areas in the fight against COVID-19. At Treva village in Jammu, Balbir Kaur as the Sarpanch took the initiative to set up a 30-bed Quarantine Centre, ensured availability of water to wash hands and herself participated in the sanitisation of the panchayat and neighbouring areas.

Similarly, Kashmiri woman sarpanch Zaitoona Begum of Chauntliwar, Ganderbal not only distributed free masks and free ration but also crop seeds and apple saplings to ensure that farming and horticultural activities proceeded unhindered. Mohammed Iqbal, the Municipal President of Anantnag, found that a sprayer he wanted for sanitization cost Rs six lakh. Through his efforts, he designed and made a sprayer machine at a cost of just Rs 50,000.

Talking about positive approaches to overcome job losses and employment opportunities during the pandemic, he said several women self-help groups in Bihar have started making masks with Madhubani motifs.

“These Madhubani masks, in a way, propagate a regional tradition; besides protecting health, they also create livelihood opportunities. You surely know of Bamboo which grows abundantly in the North East. Now, using the same bamboo, artisans of Tripura, Manipur and Assam have started crafting high-quality water bottles and tiffin-boxes. The bamboo is first boiled, adding Neem and other medicinal shrubs. Thus, these bottles also acquire medicinal value.

"At Bishunpur in Jharkhand, more than 30 groups are collectively cultivating lemongrass. It takes four months for lemongrass to mature and its oil fetches a decent price in the market. These days, this product is much in demand. In Ladakh, a distinct fruit called Chooli or apricot also known as Khubani is grown. This product can transform the economy of the area. But unfortunately, vagaries of supply chains and weather are some of the formidable challenges it keeps facing. To reduce spoilage to the minimum, innovation has been adopted for use. This is a Dual system, called solar Apricot Dryer & space heater. This desiccates apricots, other fruits & vegetables as per requirement; that too in a hygienic manner. Earlier, when apricots used to be dried in the vicinity of farms, there would be spoilage, besides the loss of quality of the fruit on account of dust & rainwater.

"On the other side, these days, farmers of Kutch are making commendable efforts in the cultivation of Dragon fruit. Many people are perplexed when they hear Kutch and Dragon fruit together. But, today, many farmers there have taken to this activity. Many innovations are taking place for enhancing fruit quality, productivity & yield.

"In Bihar, some youths began cultivating pearls after gathering all the requisite information and then going to Jaipur and Bhubaneswar for training. Besides earning for themselves, they have also started training the migrant labourers returning from other states at Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Patna," he said.

During the broadcast, Modi also talked to several children across the country to congratulate them on passing the board exams and achievements in sports.

He also congratulated Suriname’s new Indian-origin President Chandrika Parasad Santokhi who took his oath of office reciting hymns from the Vedas and speaking in Sanskrit.


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