'Post-Independence, new construction took place for few families from Delhi'
Ahmedabad: In a veiled attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that post-Independence, new construction took place only for a "few families from Delhi", but his government brought the country out of this "narrow" mindset and is building new monuments of national importance while adding glory to the existing ones.
Although Modi did not name anybody, his remarks were apparently aimed at the Nehru-Gandhi family.
He was speaking after virtually inaugurating a newly-built circuit house near the famous Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat, where he also said that development of religious and cultural centres give a boost to the local economy.
He added that cleanliness, creation of facilities, ensuring that tourists' time is saved and having a modern mindset are four things that are required for tourism development.
"Our ancestors have left many things (in the form of religious and cultural heritage) for us, but there was hesitation in talking about our rich religious and cultural heritage," Modi, who is also the chairman of the Somnath Temple Trust, said.
"After Independence, new construction took place for a few families from Delhi. We have brought the country out of this narrow thinking. We are building new national monuments and adding glory to the existing ones," Modi said.
"It is our government that built the memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Delhi. We built APJ Abdul Kalam's memorial in Rameshwaram. In the same manner, the places associated with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Shyamji Krishna Verma were made more glorious by our government. We are also building museums to highlight the rich heritage of our tribal population," Modi said, adding that such memorials will not only help in the growth of tourism, but also make us bond with our identity.
Speaking about the Somnath temple, Modi said that after he became the member of its trust, he has seen many initiatives being taken up for the development of the town, and the new circuit house is one of them.
"The history of Somnath temple is a big message for us and everybody should study the way how despite being destroyed several times it came up again every time, as well as how under Sardar Patel (country's first home minister) it was reconstructed," the prime minister said.
Referring to his government's move of developing the religious and cultural centers, Modi said that development of such places would give a boost to the economy of the areas they are located in.
He said that he was surprised to know the kind of revenue some countries earn through tourism.
According to him, every state in India has a huge potential for tourism-related development as each one of them has a unique and rich heritage.
"For development of tourism, we require four things. Cleanliness is the first and essential thing, which has been taken care of by the Swachh Bharat Mission. Facilities at tourist sites are very important to attract a large number of footfalls. Tourists want to visit many places in a short time, so not to waste their time and hence providing better connectivity is also important," Modi said.
The fourth thing is that we should improve our mindset and make it innovative and modern to attract tourists, he added.
"Although we have to be modern, we should not forget our heritage as well as roots, and showcase them properly to the world," Modi said.