Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited his home state of Gujarat to inaugurate a series of projects in Anand and Anjar, including Mundra LNG terminal.
After inaugurating Amul’s Rs 533-crore modern chocolate plant at Anand, the PM said that the dairy cooperative has become an inspiration the world over and the cooperative model is a viable economic alternative to the capitalist and socialist models.
“People from overseas also ask me about Amul. Amul is not only about milk processing. This is an excellent model of empowerment,” he said at a public gathering following the inauguration and a tour of the chocolate plant.
Tracing the history of cooperative projects in Gujarat to India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Prime Minister said that the world has seen both socialism and capitalism but through Amul “Sardar Patel showed a way where neither government nor industrialists call the shots”.
“It’s the people who matter. This is a unique model,” he added.
“Few would know that when Sardar Patel became chairman of the then Ahmedabad Municipality, for the first time in Gujarat, the concept of urban development planning was introduced,” he said.
Modi said that it was then that Sardar Patel, who was the founder of the Amul dairy cooperative movement in Gujarat, did the first experiment of creating a cooperative housing society to provide houses to people from the middle income group.
“One Pritam Rai Desai was asked to initiate work on the project,” he said, adding that under Sardar Patel’s leadership and guidance, the first housing society was formed in the country in Ahmedabad.
“Sardar saheb inaugurated it on 28 January 1927 and said it was a new model of development. Since he wanted people to remember this, the place was named Pritam Nagar (after Pritam Rai Desai),” he told the gathering.
“It fills me with pride that it is the result of farmers’ cooperative movement of over seven decades that Amul has become an identity, inspiration and necessity in the country,” Modi said.
Praising BJP for bringing in a change in the attitude towards cooperatives in the state, the PM said that the economic system found a footing in Surashtra region only after the late 1990s.
“For a long time, we had people sitting in Gandhinagar who disliked the cooperatives,” he said referring to Congress governments in the state. “They prevented the sector from acquiring a foothold in Saurashtra. Things changed after the late 1990s and today almost all districts in Gujarat are doing well in the sector,” said Modi pointing at arrival of the BJP which has been ruling Gujarat uninterrupted since 1998.
“A long time back, I had gone to Kutch and spoken about the need to popularise camel milk. That time a group of people mocked me. But, today the camel milk chocolate of Amul is doing well,” the PM said recalling the time when he was the Chief Minister of the state.
He called upon Amul to set a target of making India the third largest milk processor in the world from its current ranking of 10th, by the time it completes 75 years of its existence.
Referring to the issue of malnutrition, the prime minister said he is convinced that if a mother and her child remain healthy, the country can never be unhealthy.
He said that development projects worth Rs 1100 crore are either being inaugurated or their foundation stones are being laid at Anand.
In Anjar in Gujarat’s Kutch region, the PM inaugurated the Mundra LNG terminal, the Anjar-Mundra Pipeline Project and the Palanpur-Pali-Barmer pipeline project.
“From the land of Anjar, development projects worth Rs. 6000 crore have either been inaugurated or their foundation stones have been laid,” he said while addressing a public gathering.
“The inauguration of the LNG terminal is the highlight of today’s programme. I am fortunate to have inaugurated three LNG terminals,” the PM said, adding that the state is poised to make a fourth LNG terminal which are providing energy to India’s eastern coast.
The PM highlighted the achievements of his government in sectors such as aviation, energy, tourism, and infrastructure development in the country.
He said that his government has fulfilled the promise of electrifying 18,000 villages of India and is now working towards electrifying every single household in the country.
The PM also slammed non-BJP governments in Gujarat for ignoring the needs of the people in Kutch.
“Those born after 2001 cannot imagine the lack of development in Kutch. The water problem was acute. Very few people came here,” said Modi.
Beside the chocolate plant at Anand, the PM also inaugurated a centre of excellence in food processing of the Anand Agriculture University and a Rs 20-crore ice cream plant of the Vidya Dairy.
He also launched a Rs 1.44 crore solar cooperative society of Mujkuwa village constructed with the help of Anand-based National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), and laid the foundation stone of Amul’s milk processing, packaging and butter-making plants.