New Delhi, Oct 27: Paying homage to country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose birth anniversary falls on October 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said not many would know the illustrious leader's contribution in keeping Lakshadweep united.
"He (Patel) played a far more significant role, when it came to a small region such as Lakshadweep too. Lakshadweep is one of the most beautiful landscapes in India. Soon after Partition in 1947, our neighbour had cast an eye on Lakshadweep," he said without naming Pakistan. Mr Modi said a ship bearing Pakistani flag was also sent. "When Sardar Patel was informed of this, he wasted no time in initiating stern action," Prime Minister said.
In this context, Prime Minister said the illustrious first Deputy Prime Minister of India had urged the Mudaliar brothers, Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar and Arcot Laxman Swamy Mudaliar to immediately "undertake a mission" with people of Travancore to Lakshadweep and take the lead in unfurling the Tricolour there.
"Following his orders, the Tricolour was promptly unfurled there and the nefarious dreams of the neighbour of annexing Lakshadweep were decimated within no time. After this incident, Sardar Patel asked the Mudaliar brothers to personally ensure all assistance for development of Lakshadweep. Today, Lakshadweep is contributing significantly in India’s progress," Mr Modi said.
Lakshadweep today is an attractive tourist destination too, he said adding: "I hope you get the opportunity to visit the picturesque islands and its pristine beaches".
Referring to the 'Statue of Unity' dedicated in memory of Sardar Patel, Mr Modi said: "The distinction of having the world's highest statue fills every Indian with pride; the head of every Indian is held high".
He said: "You will be happy to note that in a year, more than 26 lakh tourists visited the 'Statue of Unity'. This means that an average of eight and a half thousand people witnessed the grandeur of the 'Statue of Unity' every day". He also said the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Gujarat provided a "fillip" to the local economy.
"Local people are not only getting innovative opportunities of employment but for the convenience of visiting tourists, many villagers are providing facilities like home stays. And these hosts are being professionally trained in the technique of running a home stay," he said adding the locals have now started the cultivation of Dragon fruit.
"....I am sure that it will soon become a major source of livelihood for the people there".
Expressing hope that more and more Indians will visit the ‘Statue of Unity’, Prime Minister said every citizen of India should travel at least 15 Tourist Destinations in the country with family and experience a night stay at whichever place they go. (UNI)