Shillong, May 08: Aiming to make the Northeast a gateway of Southeast Asia, the government has initiated focus on connectivity and major infrastructure projects that could help develop the North East to become a gateway to South East Asia in the seven states, including investing Rs. 40,000 crore to improve the roads and highways,19 big railway projects have also been started in the region, said Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while addressing the concluding ceremony of the centenary celebration of Bharat Sevashram Sangha (BSS), a worldwide philanthropic organization, through video conferencing here in the city on Sunday.
He said the distance between New Delhi and Shillong is over 2000 km but technology has do away with the distance as he is addressing people in the northeastern city from New Delhi through video conferencing.
The PM said that Srimat Swami Pranavananda Maharaj, founder of BSS, stood for “Seva” (service) and “Ashram” in line with the tradition and culture of this country while recalling his own days when he was closely associated with the Gujarat centre of BSS.
Evoking the efforts of BSS in serving humanity Prime Minister Modi said that it is a matter of pride for any organization to complete hundred years of service while pinpointing, “when floods, earthquakes or any natural calamities strikes, the BSS monks can be seen providing relief works to the needy.” He said societal development through ‘Bhakti’, ‘Shakti’ and ‘Jan Shakti’ was achieved by Swami Pranabananda
Modi urged Bharat Sevashram Sangha to work towards ‘Swachhagrah’ – or cleanliness, especially in northeastern India. He said the work of the organisation in the North East, and during the time of disasters, has been praiseworthy. He recalled the time that he had worked with Bharat Sevashram Sangha in Gujarat. He conveyed his best wishes on the occasion to the Bharat Sevashram Sangha, which he said, combined the virtues of service (seva) and labour (shram).The Prime Minister explained the significance of serving the poor and the needy as described in the scriptures.
However, Modi lamented that only Gangtok the capital of Sikkim, had fared well in the Northeast which had found a place in the first 50 clean cities, out of the 12 cities from the region surveyed as part of the recent nationwide cleanliness survey. Modi on Sunday said that Shillong’s ranking at 276 in the recent nationwide Swachh Survekshan 2017 (cleanliness report) which is a cause of concern for the state government, social organization and NGOs. While four Northeastern cities found a place between 100 and 200 clean cities, seven were positioned between 200 and 300, with Shillong being the 276th, he said while stressing that ‘Swachhata’ or cleanliness was a major challenge for everyone in the region. He further called upon the people to participate stating that they (the people) are an authority of Swachhta (cleanliness) and can make a difference on their own as is the case in other better ranked cities and towns in the country. If the northeastern region is linked well with the regional states then it can be the Gateway to South East Asia but this cannot be achieved by shunning cleanliness, said the Prime Minister.
Our government is for Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (together, development for all) and to achieve this all organization should join hands together, he added.
Earlier, welcoming the Prime Minister on the occasion, the General Secretary of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Sreemat Swami Biswatmanandaji Maharaj, spoke of the glorious spiritual and service traditions of India.Sreemant Swami Ambareeshanandaji Maharaj, who had worked with the Prime Minister in Gujarat, and who was mentioned by the Prime Minister during his address, also spoke on the occasion.