Visva Bharati to reach out to over 100 villages and help them evolve: Modi
by our special correspondent
With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sharing the dais with him on 25 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened his speech, at the 49th convocation of the Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, with an apology.
Hailing Indo-Bangladesh ties, PM Modi said: “Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is present with us. India and Bangladesh are two separate countries, but our interests are connected. Be it culture or public policy, we learn a lot from each other. One such example is Bangladesh Bhavan”. The PM is also scheduled to inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan and hold an unofficial “summit” with Shaikh Hasina.
This is Modi’s first visit to Santiniketan, the sprawling campus housing the university built by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Bolpur sub-division of West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
West Bengal CM Banerjee had earlier said that the Teesta river was the lifeline of north Bengal and there was very little water in it. She had said other trans-national rivers could be diverted to meet Bangladesh’s water needs.This will be the first time a West Bengal chief minister is attending the varsity’s convocation since Siddhartha Shankar Ray in the 1970s. In a break from tradition, Banerjee would be on the dais; Ray was not invited to the dais at the time. University Rector and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi are also present at the convocation.Narendra Modi said, “Government is continuously working towards the needs of ‘New India’ along with Tagore’s vision. Coming Budget, an amount of Rs 1 lakh will be spent for the improvement of the education system in India.he also added “125 crores Indian have taken the resolution to make a ‘New India’ by 2022. Education and a good educational institution play a very important role in this. Passouts of these universities contributes to the development of a country.”
The Teesta water sharing issue was discussed by the two countries in New Delhi on 9 April. Besides an advance team of SPG personnel, Rapid Action Force, crack commandos and a large number of state police personnel have been deployed to ensure fool-proof security. Sniffer dogs are made rounds of the venues – the convocation arena as also the Bangladesh Bhavan, which was inaugurated on Friday.
Modi in his speech apologised . “ First of all, as the chancellor of Visva Bharati University, I seek your apologies. When I was coming here, some students were telling me with gestures that there is no arrangement of drinking water. I want to apologise for all the inconvenience caused to you.,” Modi said .Around 10,000 post-graduate and 1,000 PhD students of the Visva Bharati University — the only Central University which has the Prime Minister as its chancellor received their certificates on Friday.
Hasina’s sister Rehana, and a large team of Bangladesh ministers, will attend the programme. On 26 May, Hasina will be awarded an honorary D Litt by the Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol of West Burdwan district. She will also visit Jorasanko Thakur Bari, where Tagore was born, and Netaji Bhavan, the ancestral house of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, in south Kolkata.