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New Delhi : It should be our endeavour that forest dwellers remain an integral part of the modern development process while keeping their cultural heritage and identity intact, said the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. He was addressing a gathering at Chapki, Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, on March 14, 2021, on the occasion of inauguration of newly constructed buildings of Seva Kunj Ashram.

Remembering Bhagwan Birsa Munda on the occasion, the President said that Birsa Munda struggled relentlessly to protect the forest wealth and culture from the exploitation of the British. His life has been a source of inspiration and ideal not only for the tribal communities but for all citizens also, he said, according to a PIB release.

The President said that he was happy to inaugurate newly constructed buildings of the ‘Seva Kunj Sansthan’. He noted that the construction of school and hostel buildings was undertaken by NTPC. He appreciated NTPC for this social welfare work. He expressed confidence that the newly constructed buildings and other facilities will contribute in the all-round development of the students of this institution.

The President said that he held the belief that the soul of the country resided in rural and forest areas. If anyone wants to get acquainted with the roots of India, then one should spend some time at place like Sonbhadra. He said that the overall development of the country cannot be imagined without the development of the rural/forest dwellers communities. In the true sense, the development of the country is incomplete without their development. Therefore, the Central Government and the State Governments are implementing various schemes for the overall development of rural and forest dwellers communities.

The President appreciated the fact that the forest dwellers are keeping alive the tradition of intuitive knowledge received from their ancestors and carrying it forward. From agriculture to art and craft, the harmony they have with nature impresses everyone.

The President said he was confident that the Sonbhadra region connecting eastern Uttar Pradesh with Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar,and Madhya Pradesh will become a major center of modern development. The President was happy to note that efforts are being made by the ‘Sewa Samarpan Sansthan’ to revive the dwindling folk arts and preserving the folk languages and songs.