On 20-10-2001, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Ukhadmora, a BAPS resconstructed village in Bhuj, that was destroyed by the earthquake in Kachchh. After a traditional welcome, the Chief Minister and senior delegates planted saplings as part of the BAPS greening programme. The Chief Minister expressed his satisfaction for the newly constructed homes, panchayat house, school complex, courtyards, etc. by the BAPS.
Shri Narendra Modi was accompanied by Industries Minister and minister in charge of Kachchh District Shri Suresh Mehta, Chairman of GMDC and MLA for Bhuj Shri Mukesh Zaveri, MLA for Anjar Shri Vasan Ahir, Principal Secretary Dr. P. K. Mishra, Industry Secretary Mr. L. Mansingh, Collector of Kachchh Shri H. N. Chhibbar, Additional Collector for Anjar Shri Ray Chaudhry, DSP Shri Shrivastava and other important government officers.
On learning that BAPS has planned to plant 10 fruit-bearing trees in every house plot and a thousand trees around every village it is reconstructing, Mr. Modi said to Mr. Mehta, "Only Pramukh Swami can think of such care." Guiding the reconstruction work of BAPS, Pujya Akshaymuni Swami and Pujya Vedagna Swami showed the guests a completely finished medium-sized house. What impressed everyone the most was the quality of workmanship.
During an assembly of more than 800 village leaders and principals of 40 schools, adopted by BAPS, Pujya Brahmavihari Swami gave details of the 6 villages and 3 large colonies of houses, as well as 300 school rooms of 40 Primary and High Schools being built by BAPS. Moreover, in Bhuj, 600 houses, a huge heritage complex with a community hall, library, poly-clinic and medical support centre, computer training centre, students hostels, crafts centre, etc. have also been planned by the Sanstha.
The Industries Minister, Shri Suresh Mehta, praised the activities of BAPS, "All the activities by this organisation are of high quality. The unique commitment and the ability of completing things within a time-frame which Pramukh Swami and his sadhus possess is matchless. Right from day one of the earthquake, Pramukh Swami's Sanstha has been offering its services. Many NGOs have performed good earthquake relief work, but by building hundreds of classrooms in 40 schools, reconstructing 7 to 9 villages, providing the smallest needs of human beings and helping them stand on their own feet - for such selfless services we cannot thank the Sanstha enough. The people of Kachchh shall never be able to repay this debt."
Shri Narendra Modi stated, "This village of Ukhadmora should be renamed Na-Ukhadmora- non-uprootable - because the construction done is such that no earthquake can uproot these houses.
"We are fortunate that there exists in society souls who are greater than humans. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a Samaj Purush - a person who belongs to the whole of society. A Samaj Purush is a person who does good of all, of the entire society. When our foot is pierced by a thorn the hand does not say I have nothing to do with it. Even the hand feels the pain. Pramukh Swami is such a Samaj Purush. Wherever there is pain or crises, he is always there. Whenever there is a disaster in Gujarat, Pramukh Swami is always there to help. And I know that it is not restricted to Gujarat alone. He rushed help to the cyclone victims in Andhra and the floods in Orissa. His humanitarian activities have spread all over the world.
"The work of sadhus is to rejuvenate and awaken society. Pramukh Swami and his sadhus are incessantly working in this direction. By their seva and satsang they have revived the younger generation and enriched our society."
When the Sarpanch of Ukhadmora honoured the Chief Minister with a Kachchhi paghdi, the latter said, "When the Sanstha hands over these houses to your people take good care of them because the BAPS has poured its soul in them."
On this occasion the foundation-laying ceremony of the village square, that would include a community hall, panchayat house and a school, was performed by the Chief Minister and Shri Suresh Mehta. u
Special Facts on BAPS Earthquake Reconstruction Work
BAPS is building 1589 houses in 6 villages and 3 village-size colonies and 281 classrooms in Kachchh and other districts of Gujarat.
Earthquake-Resistant: Special tie beams at 3 levels - plinth, lintel and ceiling - make BAPS houses structurally strong and unique. Even the plinth is fully concreted from which rise the support pillars.
Work Force: An experienced team of 35 architects, engineers, supervisors and more than 1,100 workers are working in full swing at the various villages and school sites.
Workmanship: Quality and efficiency have not been compromised - be it in design, materials or construction. More than 40% of the houses are ready for final plastering.
Social Engineering: Rather than building houses in straight rows or in barrack-like format, BAPS villages have 7 to 9 courtyards where villagers have chosen their clusters, helping rebuild a micro-village environment.
Ready to Live: A finished 40 sq. m. medium-size BAPS house has 2 rooms, kitchen, toilet, bathroom, small terrace and a verandah. Weatherproof external paint, wooden doors, and a spacious plot.
Shade and Fruits: BAPS is planting 10 fruit trees, like, mango, pomegranate, 'chikoo', coconut, etc. within the plot space of every house.
Scientific Approach: After extensive surveys of the surroundings, comprehensive designs, layouts and models were made, incorporating the social requirements of the villagers.
Environmental planning: Apart from cultivating farms around the arid, barren wastelands, BAPS is planning to green the outskirts of the village with at least a thousand trees.