Kolkata: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday laid the foundation stone of Daya Duar Mini Hospital at a function held in the Catholic Church of Palsanda in West Bengal.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was happy to know that the Catholic Church at Palsanda is working for the upliftment of tribal population in the area.
“Tribal communities lag behind the general population in maternal and child mortality, access to education and size of agricultural holdings. They are yet to receive full benefits of development despite tribal sub plans under our Five Year Plans and allocation of substantial funds. This is because of problems in our delivery mechanisms,” the President said.
As per the 2011 Census, the tribal population in India is 104 million and accounts for 8.6 per cent of the total population of the nation.
He said lack of development leads to discontent, extremism and resort to violence.
“Such violence is against the spirit of our Constitution and desire of God,” the President said.
“Our path of development faces a dichotomy. We need to exploit our mineral and forest resources but often that results in displacement and uprooting of our tribals who are the best protectors of these resources. Law and order problems arise when there is a feeling that proper compensation has not been paid and rehabilitation packages provided. The Constitution guarantees that land belonging to the tribals should not be alienated but sadly it still happens due to the ignorance of the tribals and greed of non tribals,” The President added.
The President said the Catholic Church at Palsanda is rendering yeoman service in the field of education, social work, and health care for the people of the area.
He was happy to know about the five English medium high schools, the Azimganj Bengali medium Residential School and other residential hostels run by the Church.
He said he was also happy to know that the Church is working with inmates of correctional homes and has established a clinic in every parish.
The President said it is good that Missionaries are working to spread all round development and not just education. Christian teachings such as ‘Service of humanity is God's service' and ‘Love the neighbour' reinforce India's core civilization values.
He also appreciated relentless efforts of the Church leaders for community welfare and said their example will inspire many more to join in the service of people, nation and God.