Task force to decide when people can see cheetahs in Kuno: Modi on Mann ki Baat

The successful transfer of Namibian cheetahs to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh was the focus of the 93rd “Mann ki Baat” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, who said that a task force has been set up to monitor the progress of cheetahs adapting to their new environment.

The PM repeated his request for patience, saying it will be several months before the cheetahs finally adapt and an assessment is made by the task force, only after which the government will take a call on whether Kuno National Park will be opened to the public.

Modi said the government has organised a competition on MyGov platform, where people can propose names for cheetahs and the cheetah campaign, which should be “traditional” and related to Indian “society and culture”.

The Prime Minister paid homage to Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Bhagat Singh on their birthday anniversary, adding that the recent decision to rename Chandigarh airport as the Shaheed Bhagat Singh airport is a tribute to the martyr.

“My dear countrymen, all of you have another reason to celebrate September 28. Do you know what it is? I will say only two words and I know your enthusiasm will increase fourfold — surgical strike. Hasn’t the Josh risen,’’ he said.

Modi further talked of the progress made in the country to establish sign language.

“A big problem in India for years was that there were no clear gestures, no standards for sign language. To overcome these difficulties, the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre was established in 2015. I am happy that this institution has thus far prepared a dictionary comprising 10,000 words and expressions. On September 23, Sign Language Day, many school courses were also launched in sign language. Emphasis has been laid to maintain a fixed standard for sign language in the National Education Policy. It is being further disseminated through videos. On YouTube, many people have started their channels in sign language. It is benefiting millions now,” Modi said, adding that he especially mentioned the campaign on Mann ki Baat so that awareness about sign language increases in the country.

The PM added that he had received a copy of the Hemkosh, one of the oldest dictionaries in the Assamese language, written in Braille.

Prepared in the 19th century, the braille edition of Hemkosh is around 10,000 pages and is going to be published in more than 15 volumes with more than one lakh words translated, he said.

Modi also said that he met a girl from Surat several days ago, named Avni, who has severe Down’s Syndrome and has benefited immensely from yoga.

In today’s Mann ki Baat, the Prime Minister has also talked about the environmental challenges, including climate change, and said “litter spread on our beaches is disturbing’’.

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“It becomes our responsibility to make serious and continuous efforts to tackle these challenges. Here I would like to talk about coastal cleaning efforts in the coastal areas under ‘Swachh Sagar-Surakshit Sagar’. This campaign, which started on July 5, culminated on September 17 (Vishwakarma Jayanti). This day was also Coastal Clean Up Day. The campaign lasted 75 days… A human chain was made in Goa. About 5,000 NSS cadets collected more than 30 tonnes of plastic. Within three days in Odisha, more than 20,000 school students took a pledge that they would inspire others to take part in Swachh Sagar-Surakshit Sagar initiative. I congratulate all those who participated in it,’’he said.

Wishing people on the festive season, which will begin Monday with the first day of Navratri, Modi said: “…The trend of jute, cotton, banana fibre and many such traditional bags is on the rise again. It is our duty to promote them and take care of our health and environment along with cleanliness.”

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