November 2005 News

Kalam lauds J&K quake survivors

27 November 2005
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

Srinagar: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam kept his date with schoolchildren during his visit to quake-hit Uri in north Kashmir on Sunday. He asked them to become responsible citizens to make Jammu and Kashmir a prosperous State. On the last day of his two-day visit, the first after the October 8 earthquake, Mr. Kalam spent most of his time with schoolchildren. Interacting with over 300 children at the Government Girls Higher Secondary School, he asked them to 'concentrate on studies to make Jammu and Kashmir a prosperous State.' 'Improve literacy' He stressed the need to improve literacy among women in Jammu and Kashmir. 'It is heartening to note that only three per cent live below the poverty line in this State while the average in the rest of the country is 26 per cent. But the women's literacy rate is poor and you should all work towards rectifying that.' Mr. Kalam said five computers each would be given to all the 16 schools from which children had assembled to listen to him. 'Two teachers will come from Delhi to teach you very soon.' At Udoosa, the last village near the Line of Control, he asked the children to join him in singing his favourite poem 'Dream, dream.' The village has been adopted by the Air Force, which has constructed a hospital there. Students from schools in Chakra, Gwalta and Asham came to Udoosa to meet the President. Here he donated 15 computers to four schools. Lauding the courage and resilience of the survivors, he said he was happy to see life returning to normal in Uri. 'I know you faced a lot of problems but you have withstood this biggest challenge,' he told a gathering in the lawns of the Army's highly-guarded Brigade headquarters. 'God is with you and the people of India are concerned about your welfare.' Praise for Army He appreciated the relief measures taken by the Government, the Army, the Air Force, the paramilitary forces and the non-governmental organisations. 'They have done a great job for the people and the security of this country,' he said, referring to the troops. Governor S.K. Sinha, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chief Justice B.A. Khan and top Army and civil officials accompanied Mr. Kalam. Mr. Azad said a school in Pune had offered to take in 300 orphans and bear the cost of their education. 'This is a very good gesture on their part,' he said. On Saturday, the President visited Tangdhar and spent a day with the people and the jawans. He flew back to Delhi on Sunday evening.


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