Agartala: President Pratibha Patil was
on Friday left amused when Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar
presented her a five-feet tall "token gift" at a civic
reception hosted here on Friday.
The President whose departure from Aizawl was delayed
for about an hour-and-a-half because of bad weather stuck to
her schedule and directly reached the Town Hall where
reception was scheduled.
In the process, she did not attend the customary
reception at the Raj Bhavan upon her arrival.
During the programme, it was announced that a small
"token" gift would be presented to her by the Chief Minister.
But the President could not help smiling when two people
brought a five-feet tall beautiful curtain made of bamboo.
Built by traditional artisans, the gift caught the
attention of everyone in the gathering with its beautiful
Patil while thanking the Chief Minister for the gift
said, "You have said it is a room divider. But instead of
dividing, it will strengthen bonds of all of us in India."
The President, who instead of going to Raj Bhavan from
airport reached the venue to avoid inconvenience to people
anxiously waiting for her, had also asked the organisers to
ensure that all chairs should be of same size.
She had also instructed that all kind of protocols
should be avoided.
In her speech at the jam-packed Town Hall, the
President asked the state government to exploit the natural
resources of the state to give boost to its economy.
"The land and climate of the state is also suitable
for the tea industry as well as other agricultural activities.
Rubber and tea plantation activities also have a special
economic significance in rehabilitating shifting cultivators,
which exist in many parts of this region," she said.
The President said that state has a number of small
industries, but with the improvement of power generation, and
an investment friendly environment, there are also many
opportunities for setting up of medium and large scale
industries based on natural gas, which is abundantly available
"In the services sector, there is scope for growth in
tourism and the hotel industry. I am sure that the green lush
and eco-friendly environment will attract tourists here. In
addition, the export and import business has considerable
potential. The city of Agartala can look at becoming a
business hub for the region. And it is, therefore, important
that it becomes a model city," she said.
The President also asked the state government to
exercise caution in exploiting forest areas which cover 60 per
cent of the state.
"With 60 percent of the geographical area under forest
cover, Tripura has a duty to protect forests and the interests
of forest dwellers," she said.