Dr Ghanekar recalls the visit of Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Anand in 2000. That was the year I left NDDB and Aanand. NDDB the organisation and Anand the city which I thought will be the last place for me to work for and live.
But that was not to be!
I recall during 1968 to 2000 while I lived in Anand visits of Prime Ministers of India to Anand namely Morarjibhai, Indiraji, Rajivji, Devegowdaji… Shri Inder Kumar Gujaral visited Anand as Indian Ambassador to Soviet Union when Soviet Union Prime Minister Kosygin visited Anand. He later became Prime Minister of India. Dr. Manmohan Singh also visited as Finance Minister and later became Prime Minister.
What about visits to Anand by Shri Guljari Lal Nanda, Shri PV Narsimha Rao, Shri Chandrashekhar. May be they visited when they were not Prime Minister …any one recalls ..
Earlier Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri had visited Anand
On April 11, 2000, the then Prime Minister Shri. Atal Bihar Vajpayee visited Anand, Gujarat.
Much before his visit, NDDB, Anand was making preparation for his visit. I was at that time working at NDDB, Anand in the Co-operative Services Group.
One day, Dr. N.V. Belawadi called me and told that, C.S. group had to organize visit of Prime Minister Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a nearby village. After long discussions, we zeroed on village Napad near Anand for the visit of the Prime Minister. We deliberately picked up this village Napad. Because, we wanted to give pick up a villages, where generally such VVIP visits were not organized. Village Napad is Muslim and backward class community dominated. It was also not easily approachable from the main road.
Therefore, selection of this village made it even challenging for us to organize visit of the Prime Minister. Shri. Parihar and I from CS group visited Napad several times to make necessary arrangements for the visit. We had meetings with the Sarpanch of the village Napad, members of the management committee Village Dairy Cooperative Society and villagers in general.
Once we were confident of preparations for the visit from our side, we informed the Police and other Govt. officials about selection of Napad village for the visit of the Prime Minister. Thereafter, several Govt. officials started visiting the village. The Public Works Dept. quickly undertook construction of a tar road approach to the village from the main road.
The villagers were very happy about the visit of Prime Minister, because for a long time demand for construction of tar road from main road to their village was pending.
M/s. Rajsthan Electronics and Instruments Ltd. (REIL) took responsibility of maintenance of electronic testing machines and weighing scales during the visit. The DCS took responsibility of white washing of building and NDDB provided funds.
A day before the visit of the Prime Minister, Police Officers took objection for to some of the arrangements that we had made. They said that milk producers will have to come four hours before actual visit starts and that the milk producers would have to go through a metal detector. We discussed with police officers and told them that the milk is a perishable commodity and the milk producer members can not afford to wait for four hours.
Police officials after much discussions finally agreed for one hour waiting instead of four hours. They also restricted entry of milk producers to come inside the society to just 20 women milk producers.
Further, the police insisted that each and every milk vessel would be checked by inserting a device into the milk. We told them that doing so would spoil the milk. Again after a long discussion, we decided that each milk producer will pour milk into another bucket in front of police officer, so that the Police could satisfy themselves that nothing was hidden inside the milk vessel.
But the police authorities raised another issue. This time of storage of cattle feed in the society remixes. They said the gunny bag containing cattle feed could not be kept inside the DCS during visit of Prime Minister. They suspected that something could be kept inside the gunny bag and that would be dangerous. Ultimately, it was decided that, we would keep only one gunny bag to demonstrate cattle feed sale and the same gunny bag would be checked by the police before the visit.
The DCS had a novel scheme of distribution of green fodder in the DCS premises. A tractor loaded with green fodder used to stand every day in front of DCS and the milk producers used to purchase by giving coupon and carry it to their homes The police even objected to the pile of green fodder.
They told that something could be kept inside the fodder and that was not permitted. We insisted that it was one of the innovate activities of village society and therefore, the tractor loaded with green fodder would be kept in front of DCS. Even today very few DCS could have such practice all over the country.
After a long discussion, the police found way to inspect green fodder before the visit. The police authorities and us finally amicably resolved all the issues and and preparations for visit were finalized.
During that period, Dr. Miss Amrita Patel was Chairman of NDDB and Dr. V. Kurien was Chairman of IRMA and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). Dr. Kurien insisted that Miss. Amrita Patel, being the Chairman of NDDB, should welcome the Prime Minister on arrival at the helipad. Dr. Kurien as the representative of millions of farmers members of GCMMF was to welcome the Prime Minister during the visit of the Prime Minister to the village milk reducers society at Napad.
On the day of arrival of PM the entire NDDB complex was virtually taken over by Police. PM was to stay in the Guest House ( TEQ) inside the NDDB campus. That area was cordoned off. Nobody was allowed to go that side except for a few such as cooks etc. And from NDDB side only the Chairman Miss Amrita Patel was allowed to go.
We noticed that Shri. D. Tikku the then Managing Director of NDDB was having a heated argument with the police. He wanted to go towards Guest House but the police would not allow him. He told the policeman on duty that he was MD of NDDB. He even showed them his ID. The police said they had instructions from Delhi that nobody except Miss Amrita Patel would be allowed to cross over to go towards the Guest House.
Shri. D. Tikku could not digest the fact that though he was MD of the host organization, the police force was not recognizing him as VVIP. That’s how the Govt. functions and more so particularly the police department !
On the day of visit, we went early at Napad so that, we could oversee the preparation. To our surprise, we saw Dr. Kurien already sitting in the open space opposite village DCS. Somebody had arranged chair for him and he was sitting there quietly. One or two farmers were speaking to him. There was plenty of time for Prime Minister to come.
We took Dr. Kurien around and briefed him about preparation made by us. He was satisfied with the preparation and told us that when the Prime Minister arrives, he would welcome him, and all other briefing and discussion would be done by NDDB officials. Dr. N.V. Belwadi was accompanying Prime Minister from NDDB to Napad.
Dr Belavadi and I were to show and explain to the Prime Minister the activities of village co-operative.
For the first time I saw Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee from close. He looked very fresh. His Hindi pronunciation was excellent.
He wore white Dhoti and Kurta, and black sandals with white socks up to his knees. He had a a very good personality, and looked like typical Dadaji. He sat with the management committee of DCS and discussed with them about various aspects of dairy management and was very satisfied. He listened carefully and grasped each and every activity of DCS.
Dr. Kurien and Prime Minister discussed for some time, and that was how the visit was over.
When I look back after many years, I always ask myself why Dr. Kurien had chosen to be there at Napad village?
The Prime Minister afterwards visited IRMA, Karamsad– the birth place of Vallabhbhai Patel, and his memorial and also visited NDDB. Dr. Kurien could have visited and welcomed the Prime Minister in any of those places, more over nobody would have raised objection. But rather, he chose village Napad to welcome the Prime Minister.
Dr. Kurien perhaps chose that place because milk producers were there, and he always felt that entire NDDB and AMUL structure was created for those milk producers.
The visit at Napad was most important because at that place, Dr. Kurien was able to show to Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee a snapshot of what India would achieve in future
Contributed by Dr. DV Ghanekar NDDB 1974- 2009 and Kolhapur Milk Producers Union 2009 continuing