Port Blair: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the historic Cellular Jail where thousands of Indian freedom fighters suffered incarceration was no less than a place of worship for him as he hoisted the Tricolor on a 150-ft-high mast.
Addressing a public event to mark the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of Tricolour on Indian soil by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Modi also announced the renaming of three islands.
Ross Island would now be called Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep; Neil Island would be known as Shaheed Dweep; and Havelock Island would be renamed as Swaraj Dweep, he said.
He laid a wreath at the Martyrs Column, visited the Cellular Jail and offered floral tributes at the statue of Bose. He also released a commemorative postal stamp, coin, and First Day Cover.
He also unveiled a series of development projects related to the energy, connectivity and health sectors.
Speaking on the occasion, he said Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not just a symbol of India's natural beauty, but are also like a place of pilgrimage for Indians.
He said the Andaman and Nicobar Islands remind us of the collective resolve of our freedom fighters.
Recalling Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister said that on Netaji's call, many youth from the Andamans had dedicated themselves to the freedom of India. He said the flag on the 150-ft mast was an attempt to preserve the memory of this day in 1943, when Netaji unfurled the Tricolour.
He said the Union government was making efforts to highlight every glorious chapter of the country's history. He mentioned the Panchteerth related to Babasaheb Ambedkar, the National Police Memorial, and the Statue of Unity. He said National Awards have also been announced in the names of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel.
The Prime Minister said that the New India that is being built with the inspiration of these great leaders, has development at its core.
Efforts are being made to make the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as self-sufficient as possible, Modi said. He spoke of the expansion of Port Blair dockyard, which will enable maintenance of big ships.
He called for a report on the condition of rural roads in the islands within two weeks, and said that once the report has been examined, the Union Government will give whatever assistance is possible.
The Prime Minister said that a new Integrated Terminal Building is coming up at Veer Savarkar International Airport. He said the undersea optical fibre cable from Chennai, once completed, would provide good internet connectivity.