Nellore, Andhra Pradesh: Adopting a village in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar today exhorted the people to give equal importance to boys and girls and make them educated as he advised the men to shun alcohol and tobacco consumption. ('Get Addicted to Family, Not Alcohol')
"This is a model village which we are trying to create and it should set an example for the rest of the country... This is just the beginning," the Rajya Sabha member said in Puttamrajuvari Kandrika village, which he adopted under the 'Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana' programme.
Tendulkar laid foundation for the construction of Rs 2.79 crore worth developmental works (in the first phase), including a community centre, 'Aanganwadi' (government-run women and child care centre) school with kitchen, a playground, waiting halls and toilets.
An oath was administered to the villagers on the occasion asking them to shun tobacco and alcohol consumption. Addressing a huge gathering of villagers, Tendulkar said: "There are various things we are looking to do here (developmental works). One is to build a school, have clean toilets, have access to clean drinking water, beautifying a lake... it is going to look very nice in time to come".
"We are also going to have a community centre here. The reason to have a community centre is to encourage all the men to spend more time with their family members in the evening. I would call each and every individual not to be addicted to smoking and drinking after your working hours. Get addicted to spending time with your family in the evening," Tendulkar said.
"As I say in cricketing terms that we are playing the first innings by providing various facilities and to look after these facilities and bring maximum results out of this, it is in your hand," he said.
"So, you promise me that you will try your best to educate the next generation," the batting maestro said.
"The importance you give to your boys, also give equal amount of importance to your girls and daughters. They are future of our nation," he said.
"I would urge each and every family member to encourage both your kids...your son and your daughter to make them educated. I am sure in times to come they will bring laurels to our nation," Tendulkar said.
Sachin said initiatives had been taken up earlier to light up homes in villages without electricity and he was looking to take next steps of development and "do something good for them (villages)."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in his Independence Day speech that each and every MP should select a village and make it into a model one.
"Coincidentally, I had a discussion on this with Nellore Joint Collector G Rekha Rani," he said.
"Many people asked me why (adopt this particular village) and my simple answer was: I have played for India and I am an Indian as long as whatever I do in India it will give me lot of satisfaction. It is my way of saying Thank You to all of you for supporting me," Tendulkar said.
The momentum (to adopt this village) picked up after he spoke to District Collector N Srikanth who expedited the process (to take up developmental works) in the village.
"It could be some other place in India next time we are planning to do (adopting another village)," he said.
"God willing I would come again to this village to see it a better place, that you are going to give me the reason to come back here and I will come back to celebrate with you," he said.
Tendulkar was accorded a warm welcome at this sleepy hamlet in Gudur mandal, where it was a morning with a difference for the villagers who had colourfully decorated the place. Banners and hoardings welcoming the legendary player dotted the roads leading to the village right from Gudur.
A large number of people, including women and children from the neighbouring villages and the district thronged Puttamrajuvari Kandrika to catch a glimpse of Tendulkar. They jostled with one another to take photos of him. Venkateshwarlu, a fan of Tendulkar who came from the neighbouring Chennur village, said he had distributed over 1,000 paper masks of the master blaster ahead of his visit. "Puttamrajuvari Kandrika has now become popular after
Tendulkar adopted the village. Earlier, even people living in the neighbouring villages or in the district had not heard about the village. I have never seen Tendulkar earlier, but now I have got an opportunity to see him personally. I am happy about that," an elated Venkateshwarulu said.
According to district officials, Tendulkar would be pumping in funds from MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) to develop the village.
Recalling how Sachin came to know about this village, Nellore District Joint Collector G Rekha Rani said she found herself in the same flight as the former India captain when she was flying to the United States in September. She had spoken to him about development activities in the villages and the iconic cricketer agreed to grant funds for developing a village in Nellore district.
On her return, she conveyed the matter to District Collector N Srikanth and they sent plans for developing the village to Tendulkar who approved them. Appreciating Sachin's adoption plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted: "I am delighted to know that the sporting legend will adopt a village under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana."
Modi had also picked Sachin as one of nine nominees to help propagate the Clean India campaign that he launched on October 2 this year.
Sachin had earlier also swept a street in Mumbai and posted its picture on social media. Puttamrajuvari Kandrika has a population of over 5,000. It comes under the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency and has an encouraging human development indicator.
Over 80 per cent of the population is literate.The mainstay of the village is agriculture and dairy farming.
The village produces dairy-related garbage but has no mode of safe disposal. It also has no safe drinking water scheme.
The village does not even have a single LPG connection and people depend on dung and wood for cooking purposes.