The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, laying the
foundation for Aastha Kunj of the Delhi Development
Authority on Saturday. The
Minister of State for Urban
Development, Radhakrishnan (extreme left), the Urban Development Minister, Ananth Kumar (second from
and the Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi, L. G.
Vijay Kapoor (extreme right) are also seen.
— Photo: Anu Pushkarna
NEW DELHI FEB. 1. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today appealed to the people to change their outlook and shed pessimism, saying
the country was well on the path of progress.
Laying the foundation stone for the "garden for the souls'' — Aastha Kunj — Mr. Vajpayee said the creation of the park symbolised the victory
of hope. "Anastha (despair) may be all around," with war clouds looming large over the world, but one should face the situation with courage.
Mr. Vajpayee was pleased that the `garden,' located between the Kalkaji temple, the ISKCON temple and Baha'is temple, was becoming a landmark
He expressed the hope that the place — comprising park facilities, a festival congregational zone, ecological corridor and socio-cultural zone
— would help rejuvenate the spirit.
He called upon the Delhi Development Authority to complete the Rs. 40-crore project in two-and-a-half years, instead of three.
Citing the Korean aeronautical industry, which bagged more contracts by completing projects ahead of schedule, Mr. Vajpayee said there was need
for an attitudinal change among Indian firms.
The Prime Minister, who was subsequently assured by the DDA Vice-Chairman, Subhash Sharma, that the new deadline would be kept, asserted that
nothing would be allowed to come in the path of progress. India had emerged a strong nation. There was no need for pessimism.
"We have withstood drought in 14 States without allowing the prices or inflation to rise. And today, we are even prepared to export grain to
countries such as Iran, which wants basmati rice from us.''
Taking a dig at his political opponents — who had taken photo-journalists to Orissa to show them "a sick man as one dying of starvation" — he
said wheat was available in the State at Rs. 2 a kg and rice at Rs. 3 a kg and there were no starvation deaths.
Calling for a change in attitude, the Prime Minister said there were two ways of looking at the inconvenience caused due to his movement.
"Today, the roads are blocked and people are cursing me. A man can say that he could not attend to his son in hospital due to the route
arrangement. But this is one way to look at things. The other view can be that he is our own Prime Minister and a slight delay does not
matter... he is working to make our future better.''
©Copyright 2003, The Hindu
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