(On the occasion of announcing the ` 13000 crores Garib Samriddhi Yojna, Panchdev Mahadev Temple, Arbudanagar, Odhav, Ahmedabad. June 3, 2007)

Gujarat’s journey of progress has been a rapid one. Whenever there is rapid industrialization we see massive migration of people from villages to cities.

City dwellers are not only blessed with money, but also with immense luxuries.

However, without the support of the menial workers, even their life tends to become uncomfortable.

If a servant goes on leave for four days, the housewife falls sick. If the driver is not available, the factory-owner decides not to go to work.

If two workers manning important machines don’t turn up, the work of the factory is stalled.

All of us have experienced how our social life feels scattered without our panwalla, pakodawalla or rikshawwalla.

All our wealth stands to naught if this class of worker is not available. If this is true, it is our social responsibility to make life easier for this class.

We are not obliging them by thinking about their welfare; it is part of our duty. Even the person belonging to the lowest strata of society has a claim on us.

Haphazard schemes will not lead to a revolution.

The State Government has come up with an all-encompassing scheme called “Garib Samriddhi Yojna” (scheme for prosperity of the poor) with an outlay of ` 13000 crores, targeted for the welfare of this important stratum of society.

O that I might have a House of My Own!

 The Poor are Always Hardworking A poor man can earn his daily bread by his hard work, but he is always worried about a shelter.

His life does not change until and unless he has a roof above his head. Once he has a decent house, he will think about other amenities.

Once he possesses a house, his entire financial planning will change.

Instead of earning hand-to-mouth, he will think about his future, the health and education of his children and his own social standing.

Until he has his own house, he will hesitate to invite his relatives to visit him, worried about what they will think about him if they see him living in a shanty.

Just the acquisition of a house brings about massive changes in his life. We have pledged to fulfil the dreams of all those who wish to own a house.

This dream is shared by the entire state. Under the Garib Samriddhi Yojna, we are determined to provide reasonablysized houses with two rooms and a kitchen to the poor people.

This will of course increase the outlay, but we want to give good quality houses that will satisfy the recipients.

In the past eight months, we have been able to construct 4000 strong and sturdy houses in Karnavati using Canadian technology.

Our target is to build one lakh houses within one year using this technology. I am fortunate to have a team behind me which has the capability to convert my dream into a reality.

My 5.5 lakh colleagues are working hard on this project, and this enables us to march ahead with our heads held high.

In the sixty years since independence, only 75 thousand houses had been built.

Our government is racing ahead with a target of one lakh houses across 161 nagarpalikas and seven mahanagarpalikas.

This is one of my most ambitious dreams.