Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16th February visited his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi and unveiled a host of projects for the region, worth Rs 1,200 crore in aggregate. He also unveiled a 63-feet tall statue of RSS ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre in Padao on the Varanasi-Chandauli border.
Upadhyaya was a political leader and thinker of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The 63-feet-tall panchaloha (made with alloys of five metals) statue in Varanasi is now his tallest statue in the country. To build this, over 200 artisans and craftsmen had worked for almost a year.
Along with the statue PM Modi also inaugurated the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre in Varanasi. The centre has all the engravings of the life and times of the ideologue. About 30 craftsmen and artisans from Odisha had worked on the project during the last year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inaugurated ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’, a cultural arts and handicrafts exhibition, at the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Hastkala Sankul here on the same day.
At the launch event of ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’- a cultural, arts and handicrafts exhibition – at the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Hastakala Sankul, PM Modi said, “The memorial and the grand statue which have been built here will continue to inspire generations to come through the ethics and thoughts of Deen Dayal Ji.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and Governor Anandiben Patel were also present at the event. Highlighting the spiritual significance of the temple town, PM Modi said, “Today this is my third event in Kashi. The first one was at a spiritual centre, the second was at a modern centre and now I am at the centre of self-employment. This proves that Kashi is one but it has diverse avatars.”
He showed keen interest in the products on display as he went around several stalls and personally interacted with buyers and artisans coming from different countries, including the US, England and Australia. ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ showcased products from over 10,000 artisans from all over Uttar Pradesh.
PM said that the cultural, arts and handicrafts exhibition will benefit the country, especially because the products, although being made in Uttar Pradesh, will be available online and thereby will be accessible to national and international markets.
“For the first time in the country, a national logistics policy is being prepared. It will lead to the creation of a single-window e-logistics market. I’ve been told that in the last 2 years, Uttar Pradesh Institute of Design (UPID) has provided assistance in design-related artwork to 3500 craftsmen and weavers across 30 districts of the state. Also, for enhancement in craft products, tool-kits have been provided to 1000 artisans,” PM Modi said.
Artistes and weavers at the two-day event will also be imparted skills for improving the quality and branding of their wares suitable for the larger national and international markets. There are 23 lakh artisans and weavers residing in Uttar Pradesh. Of these, about 35,800 artisans and 1.5 lakh weavers stay in Varanasi alone. The Uttar Pradesh government had launched the ambitious scheme ‘One District, One Product’ (ODOP) in which one craft per district was identified. The state government has established raw material banks, testing labs, common facility centers, and facilitated direct market access to artisans and weavers and helping them improve their income.