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SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE AT THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UTTARAKHAND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY – Dehradun
It is indeed a privilege for me to be present amidst you to attend the Special Session of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly in this beautiful capital city of Dehradun. I thank Shri Govind Kunjawal, Honourable Speaker, Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly for his kind invitation to be amidst you today.
Uttarakhand has been described as ‘Dev Bhoomi’ or the Abode of Gods. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, it is home to snow capped mountains and glaciers as well as the holiest of rivers, the Ganga and Yamuna. Further, the simplicity, warmth and hospitality of the people of this state is well known across the country.
Uttarakhand shares international boundaries with two of India’s most important neighbours. On your north-east is China while in the south–east is Nepal. Recently, tragedy struck Nepal in the form of a series of earthquakes leading to large scale devastation and loss of human lives. I take this occasion to extend my deepest condolences to the families of our brothers and sisters in Nepal who have lost their lives in this tragedy. The Government of India is extending all possible help and support and we have assured the Government and people of Nepal that we are with them in their hour of need.
The mountains of Uttarakhand are believed to be the chosen residence of the Gods. It is said the great Rishi Ved Vyasa wrote the Mahabharata here and Guru Dronacharya had his ashram near Dehradun. The Pandavas are believed to have stopped by Uttarakhand on their final journey. Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharaya visited Kedar Nath in 8th Century and according to some, attained nirvana here. The famous Advait Ashram established by Swami Vivekananda is situated at Mayawati in Champawat district of the State.
Some of the most sacred places of India are located in Uttarakhand. The Chardham Yatra encompassing Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath occupies a cherished place in the heart of most Indians. Haridwar draws people from all over the world who come to take a holy dip at Har ki Pauri. The state is also home to Shri Hemkunt Sahib and Piran Kaliyar which are visited by people in large numbers from India and abroad. One of the routes for the famous Kailash Mansarovar Yatra also passes through Uttarakhand.
I compliment all of you for the efforts made to rebuild the state after the natural disaster of 2013. It is reassuring to know that the Char Dham Yatra has begun on time this year and is attracting people in large numbers. I am also happy that the Assembly has been united in its deliberations on how to face extraordinary situations like natural disasters.
Born in the year 2000, Uttarakhand has made significant progress since it became the 27th State of the Indian Union. Uttarakhand has been a leader in efforts for sustainable development. The country’s first effort at conservation of forests, the Corbett Park came up in 1936 in this region. It was the first Park of its kind, not only in the country, but in the whole of Asia. The world famous ‘Chipko Movement’ was launched by Gaura Devi, a simple village woman from the remote village of Raini in district Chamoli. It subsequently gained momentum under the leadership of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna and other environmentalists.
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