SHIMLA, Sept 17:
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday hailed Himachal Pradesh’s contribution to armed forces, saying he salutes the brave soldiers from the state who are serving the nation.
He also said that Major Somnath Sharma from the state was the first recipient of the prestigious Param Vir Chakra.
The president was addressing a special one-hour session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly here to mark the golden jubilee of its statehood.
The hill state attained golden jubilee of its statehood on January 25, 2021, but the special session was delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic. The celebrations will now continue throughout the year.
Kovind noted that as many as 1.20 lakh soldiers from Himachal Pradesh are presently serving the nation.
“Being the head of the defence forces, I salute all the brave soldiers of Himachal Pradesh for serving the nation,” he said.
In his 18-minute address, the president also said that the entire state should become ‘Sirmaur’ in terms of development in the entire country. ‘Sirmaur’, meaning crown, is one of the districts of Himachal Pradesh.
He urged the farmers of the state to adopt natural farming to preserve the beauty of the state.
The president said he had been attracted to the natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh for the last 45 years. He visited the state for the first time in 1974, and at that time, he came to Kullu-Manali and since then, he kept on visiting the state every now and then.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his wishes for the hill state.
He noted that all successive governments led by Yashwant Singh Parmar, Thakur Ram Lal, Virbhadra Singh, Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal played vital roles in bringing Himachal Pradesh where it is now.
He said the hill state also set an example for other states as the state assembly became the first paperless Vidhan Sabha in the country in 2014.
He also congratulated the hill state with regard to NITI Ayog 2020-21 report, whereby Himachal Pradesh is on second number in the entire country.
Meanwhile, Kovind also recited a Sanskrit ‘shloka’ on how the state is considered to be connected with “Mahadev Shankar and Parvati”.
He also expressed condolences for the kin of those who had lost their lives during recent calamities in the state.
Kovind is the third president to address the Himachal Pradesh Assembly after A P J Abdul Kalam in 2003 and Pranab Mukherjee in 2013.
Union minister Anurag Thakur and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal also attended the special session.
However, former Union minister Sukh Ram and former chief minister Shanta Kumar could not attend the session. Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania was also not present as he isolated himself after his PSA recently tested positive for COVID-19, an official said.
Sitting and former MLAs and MPs from Himachal Pradesh participated in the special session.
Earlier, Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar expressed their views.
The governor released the ‘Who’s Who’ book and submitted a copy to the president on the occasion.
On Saturday, Kovind will attend the valedictory ceremony of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service at the National Academy of Audit and Accounts, Shimla. He will leave for Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
SHIMLA, Sept 17: