Mauritius PM announces $250,000 for ancestral Bihar village

February 19th, 2008 - 1:29 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Navinchandra Ramgoolam
(Night Lead)

Patna, Feb 18 (IANS) Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam late Monday announced $250,000 for the development of roads and a hospital in his ancestral village in Bihar and also annual scholarships to two students from the state. Describing Bihar as his motherland, Ramgoolam announced $250,000 for Harigaon village in Bhojpur district. He is to visit his ancestral village on Tuesday and spend about three hours there. He will also take part at a public reception in his honour.

Ramgoolam arrived here Monday noon on a three-day visit, his first to Bihar.Overcome by emotion as he landed, the Mauritius leader touched the ground after alighting from the aircraft and smeared some mud on his forehead.

The Mauritius prime minister spoke in Bhojpuri - a dialect of Hindi common in western Bihar - to say good evening and convey the good wishes of the people of Mauritius at a civic reception here Monday evening. He said that though his ancestors went to the Indian Ocean island nation from Bhojpur district, for him the entire Bihar was the birthplace.

Ramgoolam spoke in Bhojpuri, the language of over 60 percent people of his country.

Earlier Monday, he had unveiled a bronze statue of his father at a junction near the Gandhi Maidan here. The 600 kg nine-foot statue has been created by Noida-based sculptor Anil Kumar Suthar at a cost of Rs.1.4 million.

A large number of people from Bihar travelled to various parts of the world, including Mauritius, in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers in sugarcane and rubber plantations.

Ramgoolam’s grandfather Mohit was among those taken by the British in 1871.

Most of the workers then were from Bhojpur, Chapra, Gopalganj and East and West Champaran. About 60 percent of the 1.2 million population of Mauritius is of Indian origin.

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