New Delhi: Two days after the dates for Tamil Nadu and Assam assembly elections were announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday praised Tamil literature and also conservation efforts in Assam.
Addressing the nation through his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat, Modi said he regretted not learning Tamil, “the world’s oldest language”.
“I feel it is a regret of sorts that I could not learn the world’s oldest language Tamil. Tamil literature is beautiful. Many people have told me of the quality and depth of Tamil literature,” he said.
The Election Commission of India Friday announced the schedule for assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry. Assam election will be held in three phases on 27 March, 1 April and 6 April. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will have single phase elections on 6 April.
West Bengal elections, meanwhile, will be held in eight phases, beginning 27 March and ending on 29 April.
The Bharatiya Janata Party will fight the Tamil Nadu elections in an alliance with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and other regional parties.
The poll-bound state Assam, where the BJP has been in power for the past five years, was also mentioned in Modi’s speech. He praised Assam’s temples for their efforts to save turtles that are facing a threat of extinction. He said that the Hayagriva Madhab Temple at Hajo, the Nagashankar Temple at Sonitpur and the Ugratara Temple at Guwahati are using the ponds in their premises to save turtles.
“Our temples in Assam are also playing a unique role in the protection of nature. … Assam is home to the highest number of species of turtles. The ponds of theses temples can become excellent sites for their conservation and breeding and training about them,” he said.
The prime minister also appreciated the efforts of the state towards increasing the number of waterfowls — a species of birds — in the Kaziranga National Park.
Modi said that in the annual waterfowls census carried out by Kaziranga and Tiger Reserve Authority, three weeks ago, a 175 per cent increase in population was found, compared to last year.
He also praised the work of Padma Shri award winning environmentalist Jadav Payeng who turned 300 acres of barren land into a forest, all by himself, in Majuli Island, Assam.
Catch the rain
In his speech, Modi also touched upon the new campaign being initiated under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan for conservation of rain water.
“In a few days from now, Jal Shakti Abhiyan ‘Catch the rain’ is being initiated by the Jal Shakti Ministry. Its credo is ‘Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls’” he said.
“We shall commit ourselves to the task right now…we shall get existing rainwater harvesting systems repaired, clean up lakes and ponds in villages, remove impediments in the way of water flowing into water sources; thus we shall be able to conserve rainwater to the maximum,” he said.