Prime Minister Narendra Modi, visited Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands today. In Port Blair, he laid a wreath at the Martyrs Column, and visited the Cellular Jail. At Cellular Jail, he visited the cells of Veer Savarkar, and other freedom fighters. He hoisted a high mast flag and offered floral tributes at the Statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
At a public event to mark the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of Tricolour on Indian soil by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister released a commemorative postal stamp, coin, and First Day Cover. He also unveiled a series of development projects related to the energy, connectivity and health sectors.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not just a symbol of India’s natural beauty, but are also like a place of pilgrimage for Indians. He said the Andaman and Nicobar Islands remind us of the collective resolve of our freedom fighters. He said the Union Government is committed to empowering and developing the islands. He said the development projects unveiled today would further this objective in the field of education, health, connectivity, tourism and employment.
He mentioned his visit to the Cellular Jail, and the point where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had hoisted the tricolour 75 years ago. He said that the Cellular Jail, where thousands of freedom fighters suffered, is no less than a place of worship for him. He said the nation will never forget the sacrifices of the freedom fighters. Recalling Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister said that on Netaji’s call, many youth from the Andamans had dedicated themselves to the freedom of India. He said the flag on the 150 feet high mast, is an attempt to preserve the memory of this day in 1943, when Netaji unfurled the tricolour.
On this occasion, he announced that Ross Island would now be named Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep; Neil Island would be known as Shaheed Dweep; and Havelock Island would be renamed as Swaraj Dweep. The Prime Minister said that today, Indians are working towards creating a strong India, in line with Netaji’s vision.
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working towards strengthening connectivity across the country. He said that remembering and honouring our heroes, helps strengthen our feeling of integration. He said the Union Government is making efforts to highlight every glorious chapter of our history. In this context he mentioned the Panchteerth related to Babasaheb Ambedkar, the National Police Memorial, and the Statue of Unity. He said National Awards have also been announced in the names of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Sardar Patel.
The Prime Minister said that the New India that is being built with the inspiration of these great leaders, has development at its core. He said the Government is committed to developing the Islands in accordance with the requirements of the environment. He said special attention will be given to sectors such as tourism, food processing and information technology, as part of industrial development.
The Prime Minister said efforts are being made to make the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as self-sufficient as possible. He spoke of the expansion of Port Blair dockyard, which will enable maintenance of big ships. He called for a report on the condition of rural roads in the Islands within two weeks, and said that once the report has been examined, the Union Government will give whatever assistance is possible.
The Prime Minister said that a new Integrated Terminal Building is coming up at Veer Savarkar International Airport. He said the undersea optical fibre cable from Chennai, once completed, would provide good internet connectivity. He also spoke of development works in areas such as water, power, clean energy, and health.