Gujarat to roll out golden carpet

via Rathin Das | Ahmedabad published on February 9, 2010

Soon after the series of State-wide Garib Kalyan Melas end on Wednesday, Gujarat would see another rath yatra for the next two months. As part of the preparations for the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Gujarat’s foundation in 1960, a ‘Swarnim Sankalp Jyot Rath Yatra’ would be flagged off from Gandhinagar on February 12.

The yatra, as the name suggests, is a campaign to make every citizen to take at least one pledge to contribute towards the Golden Jubilee celebration in whatever little way he or she can.

Gujarat Government spokesman Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas on Tuesday said 223 decorated raths would start from each of the 223 taluka headquarters of the State on February 12, the birthday of spiritual leader Ravishankar Maharaj who had inspired the campaign for a separate Gujarat.

Governor Dr Kamala Benniwal would flag off the yatra from Gandhinagar  in the presence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and others dignitaries.

The other raths would simultaneously start from their respective taluka headquarters, heading towards its villages. Each of the Swarnim Sankalp Jyot Raths would visit all villages within its taluka jurisdiction till April 14, the birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.

The 223 swarnim raths, decorated trailers hauled by tractors, would have achievements of Gujarat painted on its panels and will also distribute literature about the Government’s schemes meant for different sections of the society.

These 223 raths would cover all the 19,165 villages of Gujarat between February 12 and April 14, added Vyas.

Minister for Youth and Cultural Affairs Fakirbhai Vaghela said that the State Government has sanctioned a budget of Rs 50 crores for the Golden jubilee celebrations. The 223 tractors would later be used for agricultural fairs (krishi mela).

On the day the particular taluka’s swarnim rath visits a village, it would have a series of celebrations chosen locally. The celebrations can be anything like sports meet, women’s meet to discuss child health issues or honouring some achievers like craftsmen or village artistes.

While the raths would make villagers aware of the State’s achievements in past 50 years as also what more needs to be done to make Gujarat indeed ‘golden’, the citizens are expected take a pledge according to their likings or capabilities.

A nurse may pledge to teach hygienic habits to villagers, a brilliant student can coach weaker ones in the neighbourhood while some others may pledge to monitor cleanliness in the village. These are just a few of the wide range of pledges that Gujarat’s citizens can take for the golden jubilee of the State, the year-long celebrations for which begin on May 1, the foundation day.

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