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Modi begins Gujarat visit by paying homage to Keshubhai Patel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Aarogya Van in Kevadiya, Gujarat on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning paid homage to former chief minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel, who passed away on Thursday, while arriving in his home State for two-day visit to attend a parade and inaugurate several new projects at the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya near the Narmada dam.

During a meeting with family members of the late former chief minister, PM Modi offered his condolences and recalled his long association with the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, whom he described as a “mentor to me and many others”.

After a brief stop at Gandhinagar to meet the family members of the former CM, and also the family members of the late Gujarati film star and BJP leader Naresh Kanodia and his brother Mahesh Kanodia, both of whom died recently, the PM flew to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia.

At Kevadiya, Mr. Modi was accompanied by the Gujarat Governor and Chief Minister, and took a tour of the ‘Arogya Van’, which he inaugurated. 

‘Arogya Van’ has hundreds of medicinal plants and herbs, and also provides information on their usage and importance. It has been developed as one of the many tourist attractions at the Statue of Unity site, which has emerged as a major tourism hub. According to an official statement, the newly developed forest is spread over an area of about 17 acres and has 5 lakh plants of 380 selected species. Within the forest, there is a lotus pond, alba garden, aroma garden, yoga and meditation garden, indoor plant section, a digital information centre, a souvenir shop and a cafeteria serving Ayurvedic foods and other products.

Besides the ‘Arogya Van’, the PM also opened a newly developed nutrition park for children, another attraction for tourists, and also a local shopping site, the Ekta Mall, which houses handicrafts shops from across the country.

Over a packed day, the PM also opened the Sardar Patel Zoological Park or ‘Jungle Safari’ at Kevadia, a day before the 145th birth anniversary of country’s first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel. The zoo houses wild animals and birds brought from all over the world. He also unveiled the Statue of Unity website in all of the United Nations’ official languages, and the Kevadia App, at the Unity Glow Garden.

On the morning of October 31, Mr. Modi will first visit the Statue of Unity to pay floral tributes to Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary. On the occasion, a parade, named the Ekta Diwas Parade, by the Central Armed Police Forces and the Gujarat Police, will be organised in the PM’s presence.

After participating in the parade, the PM will interact with Civil Services probationers or Officer Trainees (OT), through video conferencing. They will join him from the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

“The Academy is gearing up for Aarmabh 2020 in which a galaxy of thought leaders are sharing their views on India @ 100, culminating in the PM’s interaction with OTs from the Statue of Unity on 31st October, the birthday of Sardar Patel, the Patron Saint of Indian Civil Services,” Academy Director Sanjeev Chopra had tweeted earlier.

Later in the afternoon, the PM will launch the famed seaplane service connecting Kevadiya and Ahmedabad, a first in the country. A water aerodrome having a floating platform has been built in a lake near the Sardar Sarovar Dam. 

On Friday, the PM launched boat services for tourists at Kevadiya. 

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 11:47:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pm-modi-arrives-on-two-day-gujarat-visit/article32979314.ece

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