Nellore (Andhra Pradesh): On his first visit to a village which he has decided to adopt for development, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar Sunday said women are backbone of all families in India and the nation.
Addressing women in Puttamrajuvari Kandriga, a small village of a little over 500 population, the parliamentarian urged them to ensure cleanliness and inculcate clean habits in their children.
In his brief address to the members of women's Self-Help Groups (SHGs), he said a woman makes sacrifices for her husband, son or daughter and for the entire family.
"When the government declared Bharat Ratna to me, I declared in my brief statement that this is for my mother and all mothers of our nation and for all the sacrifices they make," the 41-year-old said.
"We speak about Swachch Bharat. Most of diseases are spread because we don't wash our hands properly. We sometimes feed our children with those unwashed dirty hands. We also don't teach children how to wash hands and take things for granted that nothing will happen to our children and that is when something goes wrong with family," he said.
Tendulkar, who retired from cricket a year ago, spent three hours in the village. He unveiled a pylon to adopt the village and launched various development works.
He laid foundation stones for various programmes and reviewed with officials the works for construction of houses, toilets, roads, water supply, drainage, school, community centre and other amenities.
The Rajya Sabha member has provided Rs.2.79 crore of his MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds for various works in Puttamrajuvari Kandriga. The state government has also come forward to provide matching grants to make it a model village.
This was Tendulkar's first visit to the village after his announcement to adopt it under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.
"This is the first step towards development of this village and I feel to make a change is not as difficult as maintaining what has changed," Tendulkar told women.
"The first innings has just started, but in the second innings you are going to play by maintaining and looking after this place," he remarked amid loud cheers by the youngsters.
"We have also created toilets. It is important to keep them clean and teach your children so that they grow up in the right manner and become bright stars of our nation," he said.
"I hope you will keep your promise and God willing when I am here next time I should see this village a much better place," added Tendulkar, who thanked people for showering their love and affection on him and began his speech by greeting them in Telugu.
Andhra Pradesh Minister for Urban Development P. Narayana and Nellore District Collector N. Srikanth explained various development works to be undertaken. Tendulkar heard with keen attention when an SHG member explained how the women's groups are formed, and how they save money and undertake various social activities.
A festive atmosphere prevailed in the village as local residents, especially youngsters, were excited to see and meet the cricket icon. He shook hands with school children, interacted with them and also played some cricket with them.
Earlier, he was accorded a warm welcome by officials and villagers as his chopper landed from Krishnapatnam Port, where he had a night halt.
Police made elaborate security arrangements. Authorities barred people from other villages from entering Puttamrajuvari Kandriga.