Vijayawada: Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar today called for making the country ‘Swachh’ and ‘Swasth’ Bharat (clean and healthy India), while encouraging children to play more sports.
“We keep talking about Swachh Bharat because our honourable Prime Minister decided that we need to start cleaning up Bharat, which is extremely important.
“But I feel, along with Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat is also important. That is why, I distributed a few cricket bats, footballs and all those things for children to play,” he said at Puttamraju Kandrika village in Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh this afternoon.
Tendulkar had adopted the village under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) on this day two years ago, and today he visited it for the second time to take stock of the developments.
In all, the SPS Nellore district administration spent Rs 5.69 crore on laying concrete roads, building storm water drainage system, a community hall and an elementary school building in PR Kandrika village.
The sports legend, who contributed Rs 2.79 crore under SAGY for these works, inaugurated the newly-built community hall.
He has now announced a further grant of Rs 90 lakh for development of infrastructure in Nernuru and Gollapalli villages under Gudur mandal. A total of Rs 1.20 crore would be spent on laying roads, building drains and providing water supply in these villages.
“It is a very satisfying feeling. Things have already changed big time. Also, the icing on the cake is, it (PR Kandrika) is being declared ODF (open defecation free) village.
“That couldn’t have happened without your support, without your will and desire to achieve certain things,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha member told the kids: “You play hard, enjoy sport but also study at the same time. You should have the balance of both. You study when it is time to study. Play, because children should play. It is important to play, need to go out, enjoy yourself and stay together.
Tendulkar also had a word of advise for the elders.
“Instead of fathers drinking and smoking in the evenings, they should spend time with their family. That is more important. Get together, get closer to each other…Enjoy that valuable time. Do not miss out on that opportunity,” he said.
The batting maestro, who formally retired from cricket exactly on this day in 2013, expressed happiness over the transformation of the nondescript village since he adopted it.
“All these developments have taken place. I remember when I came here last time, I said if you are able to stay together and achieve what we all want to achieve, I will pay another visit. I will indeed come here again,” he told the villagers.
“Just now they announced that a 10-acre plot would be developed as a cricket stadium. I would only come (here) again if you include other sports also. And that is my promise. Along with cricket, I want other sports included there. And I will come for that inauguration,” Tendulkar said.
“I am sure you guys will make the most of all those facilities and once again I congratulate the district Collector for promising to complete the phase-1 of this project in the next two months. From thereon, phase-2 will be completed in one year,” the MP said.
Thanking the villagers for showing “truly remarkable” love and affection towards him, the cricket icon said, “I just hope and pray to God that you are happy and healthy. Make the best of these facilities. All the very best and let us keep Swachh Bharat.”
He also took a “selfie” with the cheering crowd in the backdrop.
SPS Nellore district Collector Revu Mutyala Raju, Guduru MLA Sunil Kumar, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh Chairman P R Mohan and other officials were present on the occasion.