Arjun Munda at the vikas mela in Khunti on Saturday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Khunti, Oct. 20: A mammoth gathering of over 20,000 people greeted Arjun Munda here today as the chief minister would up his five-day Johar Yatra by distributing an array of goodies, from bicycles for schoolgirls to solar lanterns for villagers, while announcing a slew of new development initiatives.
Fittingly, his yatra, that began from Ranchi on October 16 and passed through the two Singhbhums and Seraikela-harsawan, culminated at Khunti, the birth place of tribal icon Birsa Munda.
At the end of his feel-good exercise, Munda had distributed gifts and inaugurated projects worth approximately Rs 359 crore.
Today at Kutchery grounds, the chief minister launched 112 development projects worth Rs 22.74 crore and distributed freebies worth Rs 27.89 crore among 22,038 people of the district.
This apart, 70 new welfare schemes worth Rs 11.55 crore were inaugurated and 7,024 schemes, completed under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (MGNREGS), were launched.
Addressing the crowd, Munda said he was committed to the all-round development of the state for which, he was focusing on its basic unit. “The village is the basic unit of development as together, they form panchayats and panchayats form blocks. Several blocks form a district and districts constitute a state, which makes a country. Thus the focus of the state government is on village,” he said.
As many as 101 couples were present at the vikas mela to receive cheques worth Rs 15.15 lakh in all under Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna, while 5,650 farmers received Kisan credit cards involving Rs 2,260 lakh.
Certificates worth Rs 65.46 lakh under Mukhyamantri Laxmi Ladli Yojna were distributed among 608 young girls accompanied by their mothers.
Understandably, there were a lot of happy faces all around. Magri Toppo, who had come from Arki, 20 km away, was one among them.
“I had come to see the bicycles that were to be distributed among schoolgirls,” he said while admiring a welfare department stall where 48 bicycles worth Rs 1.34 lakh in all were parked for distribution among 48 beneficiaries.
Mangal Munda was pleased to receive a solar lantern. “Power has not reached my village. But, from tonight I will have light in my home,” said the resident of Bartodih.
Solar lanterns worth Rs 14.28 lakh were distributed among 714 village folk under a project handled by the district rural development agency.
Earlier, Munda addressed party workers in Khunti that had been decked up with BJP flags all over. On the poor law and order situation in the district and the presence of various Naxalite factions, he promised that things would improve.
“The law and order situation of the district will be improved by development work and an atmosphere is being created for that,” Munda claimed.
Among those who were present on the concluding day of his yatra were women and child welfare minister Vimla Pradhan, excise and prohibition minister Gopal Krishna Patar, local MLA Neelkanth Munda besides senior government officials.
Since the chief minister returned to the state capital in the evening by road, elaborate security arrangements had been put in place. Anti-landmine vehicles were deputed and hundreds of security personnel stood guard along the 40km stretch to Ranchi.