Many government projects proposed for Himalayan region: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi(ANI): Reiterating the fact that the Himalaya region has always been strategically important for the nation, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju emphasized over the weekend that there is a need for preserving the region’s age-old culture and traditions, keeping in mind the changing times.

In his inaugural address to a global conference-cum-workshop organized on the theme “Challenges facing the Himalayan region (Education, health and culture)” conducted by the International Buddhist Confederation in association with the Department of Karmic and Adhyatmik Affairs (Chos-rig) here, Rijiju said that the Centre is launching many big projects which are in the conceptual stage, and added that the Himalayan region will get special status keeping in mind its strategic importance.

Emphasizing the fact that developing road connectivity in the nation’s border areas was his priority, Rijiju said,”The development of a region or an area is impeded if there is no good connectivity”.

Referring to the region’s nagging unemployment problem, he said he has had discussions with the director generals of the central paramilitary forces for special relaxation of provisions in recruitment policies for candidates belonging to the North East and Ladakh regions.

“Without knowledge, religion is incomplete. We need to have faith in our religion and it should be a medium to propagate development in our society. We need monasteries and gompas, but along with it we need quality education and better medical facilities, he said.

Speaking on the inclusion of Bhoti language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, a long pending demand of the people of the district, Rijiju highlighted the guidelines for a language for inclusion in the Schedule.

Quoting the famous saying, “United we stand, divided we fall”, he said,” We all need to work together as a team in our pursuit for the greater interest of the whole Himalayan region.”

Prominent Hollywood actor, Gere Foundation chairman and IBC’s global envoy, Richard Gere, stressed on proper development of youths in the modern age.

“As you educate your kids, you give them a sense of pride in their culture, in their religion and who they are as human beings. That’s the future you can develop for the country.”

Informing about his desire to visit Tawang, Gere said, “I had a great fortune to travel across the world. I have seen some amazing things, amazing people and amazing cultures. You can be very proud of what you have here. Tawang is truly a hidden paradise and you live in a very special place”.

“It doesn’t matter whether a country is rich or poor, everyone’s concern is the same – health, education and culture,” he said, without mincing any words.

Drawing global attention to the Himalayan region, the state’s Urban Development, Tourism, Art and Culture Minister Pema Khandu said that it contributes substantially towards global ecological balance.

“Indian government needs to be seriously concerned about its Himalayas and Himalayan people as it constitute 16 per cent of country’s geographical area,” Pema said.

He appealed to all participants for a proactive introspection into the depleting moral values, loss of culture, traditional art and professions to counter the challenges faced presently by the region.

“Arunachal Pradesh being a young state, development was very late and slow. Hence there are many challenges to overcome and to walk shoulder to shoulder with the developing world,” he said, adding such conferences will help provide solutions to the region’s challenges.

Pema informed that Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has extended his best wishes for the success of the conference.

Buddhist Scholars from across the globe, IBC members prominently Tsetan Chombay Kee also spoke on the occasion followed by the technical session.

Besides Parliamentary Secretaries (RWD) Jambey Tashi and Phurpa Tsering (Hydropower), MLAs Tsering Tashi and Passang D. Sona, Delhi International Art Festival director Pratibha Prahlad and famous Bollywood music director Shantanu Moitra and delegates from the US, the UK and Sri Lanka, a large number of intellectuals from Tawang and Dirang, PRI leaders, local officers, monks and nuns, students and youths attended the conference.