Modi distributes aid to differently-abled, flags off train in Varanasi

  • Sudhir Kumar, Hindustan Times, Varanasi
  • Updated: Jan 22, 2016 18:09 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with a 'Divyang' (physically challenged) child while distributing aid & assistive devices at a function, in Varanasi on Friday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday distributed assistive devices to over 9,000 differently-abled persons and flagged off a new train at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) ground on his fifth visit to his constituency Varanasi.

Out of the 9,296 differently-abled persons, 18, including five visually-impaired, shared the dais with the Prime Minister during the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Samaroh. While one out of the 29 persons suffering from leprosy was given an ADL leprosy kit by the PM, others were handed over the kit later.

Modi presented assistive devices to 18 people on the dais. He also gifted sewing machines to five poor women in the presence of UK’s Lord Raj Loomba, whose Loomba Foundation is working to empower 5,000 widows in Varanasi.

Union minister of social justice and empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and two state ministers from his department Krishanpal Gurjar and Vijay Sampla were also present during the event. Union minister of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Kalraj Mishra also attended the camp.

Gehlot’s ministry had written to the Guinness Book of World Records to take note of the event, which is touted to be one of the largest of its kind. A team from Guinness Book of World Records was present at the venue to cover the event.

The Prime Minister had in a radio address recently made a plea for doing away with the word ‘vikalang’ (handicapped) and calling the differently abled as ‘divyang’ (born with a divine limb/organ) in a bid to sensitise the society towards their right to live a life of dignity and honour.

Reports have suggested that a new disabilities act may be passed by his government wherein the word ‘handicapped’ may be replaced with ‘impairment’, in all national institutes, as a mark of ‘changing attitudes’ towards persons with disabilities.

The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) premises also witnessed the flagging off of the Mahamana Express by the Prime Minister.

The thrice-a-week superfast train, which has been named after renowned educationist and founder of the Benares Hindu University (BHU) Madan Mohan Malaviya, promises to cover the nearly 800-km distance between Varanasi and New Delhi in less than 14 hours.

The last tour, on December 12 last year, was marked by Modi witnessing the famous Ganga Arti on the banks of the holy river, accompanied by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Modi will also visit Lucknow, the constituency of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, later in the day. It is the first visit to the UP capital by a Prime Minister in the last 13 years.

He is scheduled to attend the convocation ceremony at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University and interact with students there, distribute e-rickshaws among beneficiaries at Colvin Taluqdars’ College, and pay tribute to Dr BR Ambedkar and then go back to Delhi.

(With agency inputs)

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