Nanda Devi Committee awards U’khand’s courageous women
By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 1 Nov: Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik today asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fully committed to women empowerment and has a strong attachment for Uttarakhand.
Bhoumik was addressing the Awards Ceremony organised by the Maa Nanda Devi Raj Jat Purva Peethika Samiti’s Chairman and former MP Tarun Vijay, here, today. Many courageous women including those from remote and border areas of Uttarakhand were felicitated today by the Samiti at a function held at the Prakash Pant Bhawan in the Vidhan Sabha premises.
Speaking on this occasion as the Chief Guest, Bhoumik said that Modi’s commitment to women empowerment is unparalleled in Indian politics. As Prime Minister, Modi has launched more than 80 schemes solely for women. She said that as the nation moved further into the Amrit Kaal period of independence, a lot has been done for the empowerment of women in the past few years. She also reminded that Indians’ concept of treating the country as the motherland and the Earth as mother is a unique one, unlike the western concept of the fatherland. She said that Uttarakhand women are very courageous as they have led several agitations. Though the separate state was created by the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it was the women behind the agitation who led to the creation of Uttarakhand. She also reminded that the amount of aid given to each beneficiary under the PM Awaas Yojana for Himalayan states by Modi Government was higher than the aid given to beneficiaries of other states.
Chairing the function, Assembly Speaker Ritu Bhushan Khanduri said she felt fortunate and privileged to be present at the same function as the brave mothers of martyrs from Uttarakhand, Major Vibhuti Dhaundiyal and Major Chitresh Bist. Mother of martyr Vibhuti Dhaundiyal, Saroj Dhaundiyal, and mother of martyr Chitresh Bist, Rekha Bist, were among those who were honoured today by the Samiti. Ritu Khanduri Bhushan reminded the audience that when she was growing up in Pauri, she used to see girls running to school every morning. Women in Uttarakhand were always powerful and sacrificing. They faced everyday challenges with courage and also were ahead of women in other places in leading agitations whether it was the statehood movement, or the agitation to save trees, or agitation against addiction. She said it was unfortunate that the women living in remote and inaccessible areas or in border areas have to struggle even for basic amenities. It was in the past 5 years that many schemes for housing, drinking water supply and toilets are being implemented at a fast pace.
Cabinet Minister Chandan Ram Das said unless women from the hills and rural areas of Uttarakhand are not empowered in respect of financial resources, education, become socially liberated and politically influential, they could not be considered truly empowered. The state government, with the help and guidance of the Modi Government at the Centre, is making sincere efforts towards empowerment of women. He added that the majority of beneficiaries of the housing schemes like PM Awaas Yojana in the state are women. The state government has also re-launched the Atal Awaas Yojana with benefits similar to PM Awaas Yojana in the state.
Chairperson of the Uttarakhand Subordinate Services Selection Commission (UKSSSC) and retired IPS officer GS Martolia stressed upon the need to do much more to resettle families and women in border areas of the state. He reminded that the border villages in the state had been deserted in 1962 after the war with China and remained deserted ever since. He appreciated the efforts made recently to resettle the families back in border villages but stressed that much more was required to be done in this direction.
Vice Chancellor of Doon University Prof Surekha Dangwal highlighted the fact that every mass agitation in living memory in the state has been led by women. She said she had the opportunity to tour the border villages and areas in Kumaon and Garhwal to gather suggestions of the local people on the proposed Uniform Civil Code and it would not be wrong to say that they had very revolutionary recommendations to make.
Organiser Tarun Vijay was the Convener of the programme. Speaking on the occasion, he remembered his late mother, Raj Rani, whose death anniversary was today. He said she was a strong willed lady who never compromised with her value system and was behind the school in Dehradun established by him for the tribals and forest dwellers.
Those who were honoured today included Saroj Dhaundiyal, mother of martyr Major Vibhuti Dhaundiyal, Rekha Bist, mother of martyr Major Chitresh Bist, journalist Anjali Nauriyal, Flying Officer Nidhi Bist (Indian Air Force) for whom special permission had to be sought from Air Chief Marshal, Anita Devi, Geeta Devi Pangti, Sita Devi Burfal, Ashika Dobhal, Bina Bainjwal, Nivedita Panwar, Kalavati Badal, Asha Devi, Anita Tamta, Tara Tankuli, Tara Joshi and Mamata.