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In Hindi


Rashtrapati Bhavan, 17th December 2007

I am deeply honoured to release the commemorative postage stamp on the late Shri Shankarraoji Chavan. I had the privilege of working in the Council of Ministers of Shankarrao Chavanji and today I have the great opportunity of releasing a postage stamp in my office on such a big personality. He was a person of great integrity, who dedicated his life to serving the nation. He took part in the freedom movement by joining the "Quit Court" movement. There were others with him prominent among them being Narasimharaoji and Virendra Patilji. It was a happy coincidence, that all three went on to become Chief Ministers of their respective States - Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and then all three became Union Cabinet Ministers. Everyone remembers Shankarraoji Chavan's work as the Home Minister. In his public career spanning over six decades, he held important positions and set an example as to how work should be done. He was the Irrigation Minister and as Chief Minister Vilasraoji Deshmukh and Home Minister Shivraj Patilji mentioned he was prominent in bringing the Green Revolution. Engineers used to be cautious during discussions when he was the Irrigation Minister as he had all information. I remember I was in his Council of Ministers when the Tenancy Act was passed. Well to do farmers were finding it difficult at that time to vacate their lands. Despite this, he personally saw to it that the maximum possible number of landless farmers were handed over land under the Tenancy Act. I remember that at that time Maharashtra was the top most state in terms of handing over land to landless farmers.

He not only was known for his leadership but also for his discipline. Ministers had to reach on time for Cabinet meetings at 11AM and employees in the Secretariat also came on time for work. Being a disciplined person others also had to maintain discipline. He was a dedicated person, well mannered, other than being a strong administrator. Junior Ministers learnt a lot from him. He took an active part in people's work. I remember that when I was the Guardian Minister of Amravati, bank nationalisation had taken place. We wanted the benefits of nationalisation to reach the maximum number of people. A camp was organised. He called workers and bank officials to the village of Tukloji Maharaj in Amravati. We toured the village to make a survey about loan requirements. We selected those women who earned money through stitching and embroidery who actually needed loans. 300 women were benefited by being given loans in a single day so that they could continue their work. Commitment to work became his nature.

I was facing many difficulties in the implementation of the electrification project in Upper Wardha. After wide ranging discussions and after facing many difficulties we decided that we should begin and the Chief Minister Shri Shankarraoji Chavan came and performed the Bhoomi Poojan. He did not take time to take a decision once he was convinced that something was in public interest. During the Bhoomi Poojan we briefed him about four other projects, he immediately got all information from officials and gave his consent and announced the start of the four projects in Amravati District. He never delayed decisions. There was a problem in the implementation of the public distribution of water because of difficulties in getting public contribution for the scheme. When informed by the then Amravati MLA, Dr. Shekhawat Sahab about the difficulties faced by the citizens due to unavailability of water under the project, he took the historic step of waiving public contribution to the project, as a result of which, even today the city of Amravati is continuing to receive assured water supply.

He had a special interest in bright students because he himself was a very bright student and had attained special abilities in Mathematics. He was an intellectual and an enlightened Minister; he was also intelligent and able. Due to this he carried out his duties very ably and effectively whether as Chief Minister, Union Education Minister or Home Minister. One of his biggest achievements as Home Minister was the conduct of impartial and peaceful elections in Punjab.

He especially respected women. He was very respectful towards his wife, Kusumtai. The right for respect towards women was his priority. He had a balanced view on every issue. He lived his life on this basis. That is why he was known as a person with a good moral character and an ideal and righteous Minister and Chief Minister. He will always be remembered for these qualities. I also pay my respects to him.

Thank you.


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