The yatra would cover 1,500 km in 30 days and interact with farmers, unorganised labourers, and members of scheduled castes and tribes.

President Pranab Mukherjee, on Tuesday, flagged of the 9th P.N. Panicker Vigyan Vikas Yatra, from the State capital to Kasaragod, at a function on the Raj Bhavan premises here.

Addressing the function, the President recalled the contribution of P.N. Panicker to the library movement in the State, which provided sustenance to its total literacy programme.

He appreciated the effective methods of outreach adopted by the P.N. Panicker Vigyan Vikas Kendra at the grassroots level which encouraged the habit of reading and fostered a love for books among the youth.

The yatra, organised by the kendra in association with the Panchayat Department, is a development-cum-education campaign intended to highlight the need for participatory democracy and the significance of grama sabhas.

The yatra would cover 1,500 km in 30 days and interact with farmers, unorganised labourers, and members of scheduled castes and tribes.

According to the organisers, the yatra would create ‘micro units of excellence in innovation.’ A 45-minute educational street play, themed on development with people’s participation, will be part of the yatra.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy welcomed the gathering. Governor H.R. Bhardwaj; Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien; Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal; Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor; Minister for Panchayats M.K. Muneer; Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar; Mayor K. Chandrika; and former Ministers M. Vijayakumar and M.A. Baby were present. N. Balagopal, kendra vice-chairman, proposed a vote of thanks.