Modi strikes emotional chord with health workers, exhibits his affinity towards hill state

Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 6

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who refers to Himachal as his second home, amply proved this in his interaction with health care workers, panchayat representatives and senior citizens as he fondly remembered the hill state's cuisine, deities and revered Buddhist gompas.

"I am missing the Mandyali dham (feast) that I relish so much. The people of Seraj, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and people like you, seem to have made it a mission to vaccinate every person," he said in his interaction with Dyal Singh, Thunag Panchayat in Seraj assembly segment in Mandi, represented by the CM.

Modi's first initiation was with Dr Rahul hailing from Kutch in Gujarat, the PM's home state. "I had never seen the mountains, so I thought of serving in a difficult area like Dodra Kawar in Rohru area of Shimla district," said Dr Rahul when the PM asked how he landed there.

"We faced problems like a 10-hour arduous climb on the steep mountains and poor internet signal but there was no problem in getting vaccine supply," he said about the challenges he faced. Speaking in Gujarati, he said teams were sent to each village to educate people in the local language. The PM asked him whether his friends and family had visited Dodra Kawar.

The PM lauded the constructive role played by the Buddhist monasteries and religious leaders in convincing people to take the vaccine in his interaction with Nawang Upasak from the tribal area of Lahaul. "When covid came to the Valley, people got scared and got cut off from the country. We got in touch with priests at all the Gompas (Buddhist monasteries) and asked them to urge monks and people to take the vaccine as there was no fear or side-effects. Then the Dalai Lama took the vaccine, videos of which went viral, which further convinced people," he said.

The PM also enquired about the changes that construction of the Atal tunnel had brought about in the lives of people of Lahaul-Spiti. "Earlier, we used to worry about how to undertake the arduous 10-hour journey but now it is easy to take our produce to markets. Locals have got 800 home stays registered which will help give tourism a major fillip," said Upasak.

"Did you seek the permission of the local deity before starting the vaccination drive in Malana in Kullu?" the PM asked Nirma Devi, a health worker from Malana. She said she, along with her team, first sought the permission from the local deity without whose nod the villagers of Malana, believed to be one of the oldest democracies in the world, don't do anything.

Modi lauded the efforts of Karma Devi, who had the honour of vaccinating 22,000 people, despite fracturing her leg. The PM in his interaction with 84-year-old Nirmala Devi of Krishnanagar Ward No 2 in Hamirpur said he needed her blessings to carry on the good work, especially in providing quality health services to the people of the country.

Lauding their contribution in the success story of Himachal, he exhorted all of them to carry on the good work.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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