Bijapur: The huge crowd that had congregated at Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event was taken by surprise when Modi, who was slated to present a pair of slippers to a tribal woman, bent down and helped the bare-footed woman wear her gifted footwear. The symbolic gesture was welcomed by a loud applause.
Like everyone else, Union Health Minister JP Nadda, who was standing next to the Prime Minister when he decided to make it a memorable moment for the woman, was also taken aback.
The lady was one of the thousands of women covered under the scheme launched more than a decade earlier to provide slippers to people engaged in collecting Tendu leaves in Chhattisgarh.
Under the scheme operated by the state’s minor forest produce corporation, one person in each family of Tendu leaves collector is eligible for a pair of slippers. A family is eligible for a pair, according to the federation’s website, only if they pluck at least 500 bundles in a year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flown to the town on Saturday and spent several hours in Chhattisgarh, listening to young girls who talked about a wide array of issues.
Narendra Modi, who is the first prime minister to visit the tribal district of Bijapur, also launched a health insurance scheme.
The PM inaugurated a new rail line and a passenger train between Gudum and Bhanupratapur, bringing north Bastar region on railways’ map.
It was the Prime Minister’s fourth visit to Chhattisgarh, where assembly elections are due later in the year.