Chhattisgarh is counted among one of the fastest developing states in India which claims of least unemployment, booming rural economy, prospering public and a place where Naxalism is on the decline and emerging as a new place for Hindu pilgrimage as a pious maternal place of Lord Ram. It has been claimed transformation occurred under the able leadership of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. As the Congress government has recently completed its fourth year of successful governance, FPJ State Correspondent Avdhesh Mallick carried out an exclusive interview of CM Baghel on a wide range of issues to have a detailed overview:
Q) Any five achievements of your government that helped uplift the lives of common people?
When we were voted into power my objective was quite clear: We focused on human holistic development for that putting money in the pockets of the public is quite essential. Being a paddy bowl of India we need to prioritize increasing the income of farmers and procured the paddy of farmers on increased MSP with bonus and also augmented the quota of paddy procurement. We have provided a loan waiver to 16.65 lakh farmers. Secondly, concentrated on forest area where a great number of people inhibit there and we have more than 44% area of forest cover. Observing their dependency on forest produce first we raised the tendu leaves per bag rate from Rs 2500 to Rs 4000 and then also declared the MSP of other forest produce. An agriculture-dependent state, Chhattisgarh has huge potential in the agro-food sector. Therefore, to exploit the enormous available potential in the food sector, several food processing units started operations in Chhattisgarh. Nowadays running a dairy becomes quite expensive to make it sustainable. We have started Godhan Nyay Yojana under which the government procure cow dung from the cattle and dairy owners. We have carried out several types of such initiatives to generate employment and boost the economy. As a result, the unemployment rate in the state is the lowest.
Q) Your popular Atmanand English School model has become a debatable issue on a national level. Delegations of several states want to visit it. Can you put some light on it?
Our children are no less potential than children of any other state but have seen their performance gets compromised by a lack of English knowledge. Private Schools lack quality education. Finally, after studying all the aspects, we started the Atmanand English School model and now we have more than 279 Atmanand English Schools whichever assembly constituencies I visited during the Bhent Mulakat campaign, people put forward the demand of opening Atmanand English School on priority. The craze for quality education in public can be understood. However, I am happy that my government is successfully providing an equivalent level of quality education to children of marginalized and financially weaker sections which got imparted in top-rated private schools.
Q) What is the status of health services in the state?
In order to provide proper health services to all especially the downtrodden, we have started Mukhyamantri Haat Bazar clinic, Shahari Swasthya Slum Yojana, renovated CSC, PHC, Hospitals, opened four medical colleges in the last four years to have an adequate supply of doctors. We have provided treatment facilities to the needy up to Rs 20 lakh under Mukhyamantri Swasthya Yojana. From Dhanwantari medical shops, medicines are made available up to 70% less than MRP.
What is the significance of your flagship project Narwa, Garba, Ghurwa, Badi?
Actually, Narwa- recharging of soil, river, and water reservoirs, Garwa- cattle, Ghurwa- pits for decomposition of biodegradable waste and conversion into compost, and Badi- vegetable garden. These are key elements to strengthen lives in rural areas and provide a sustainable environment to revive the rural economy. Meanwhile, water is needed by all of us and initiative has been taken to create an atmosphere where our lives can sustain.
Q) Chhattisgarh will also host the G20 meet, what are your preparations and what will y showcase in it?
The G20 meet will be held in September. Chhattisgarh has an enriched vibrant culture and sustainable economy. We are proud of our capacity that even during the Covid pandemic, Chhattisgarh is the maiden state which started its economic activities and took it to its full capacity. Our factories are running, we became the largest manufacturer of Covid safety-related equipment. At a time when the nation is battling with Covid scarcity, our state has become a surplus in oxygen manufacturing and supplied to the neighbouring states including UP. Our economy is based on Mahatma Gandhi's self-sustainable economic model which is the need of the modern world. We will present our vibrant culture, rich tradition and economic potential of the state.
Q) It has been alleged that you are trying to snatch a cow and Ram from BJP
Mahatma Gandhi said Cow is more than a mother to us. But BJP and RSS had refused to recognize the cow as mother. BJP and RSS lack fundamental thought processes. But Congress acknowledges Cow as a mother. From 1952-69 oxen were Congress party election symbol. 1971-77 we fought the election on Gay aur Bachda (Cow and calf) symbol. As far as Ram is concerned, in Chhattisgarh, we identify Ram as Kaushalya’s Ram, Adiwasiyon k Ram, Sabri’s Ram and we call him Bancha (nephew) Ram. Mahatma Gandhi meeting prayers start with Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. RSS and BJP talk in volumes about Swadeshi Andolan. It is the Congress party which set foreign clothes on fire. So, I feel those allegations were baseless.
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