Lauding the Yogi Adityanath government’s flagship scheme of ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) on the first ‘Uttar Pradesh Diwas’, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said it was a very important initiative not only in terms of the state’s progress but also for apprising the new generation about their rich heritage.

Wednesday saw Uttar Pradesh celebrate its first foundation day (Sthapana diwas). It was on 24 January, 1950 that the United Provinces became Uttar Pradesh. While 24 other states of the country have been observing their foundation day, UP had lagged behind on the count. Following the suggestion from Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and on the initiative of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, UP celebrated its first ‘sthapana diwas’ with the vice- president as the chief guest.

The function was held at Avadh Shilp Gram here. The 10-day long ‘Lucknow Mahotsav’ was also inaugurated the same day.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice-President said till such time as Uttar Pradesh moved forward, the country will not move forward. The ‘ODOP’ scheme had the potential of opening new opportunities and new vistas for all, with proper support. The Vice-President said 44 per cent of the handicraft exported was from UP, which had the maximum small and medium industries.

This was the land of freedom fighters like Mangal Pandey, Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rani Laxmi Bai and of stalwarts and politicians like Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Behari Vajpayee. He said he wished to see Uttar Pradesh slotted in the category of ‘Uttam Pradesh’.

Earlier, the chief minister in his speech referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desire that Uttar Pradesh be pulled out from the category of BIMARU states. Yogi Adityanath said it was the privilege of UP that every district here had a distinct identity by way of products. He listed the chikankari of Lucknow, the Banarasi sarees of Varanasi, the locks of Aligarh, carpets of Bhadohi, flutes of Pilibhit and the sport goods of Meerut as some examples of the same. These products could not get recognition for lack of promotional support.

The ODOP combining with such Central schemes as the Start Up yojana, digital India would give the much needed support for their promotion , the chief minister said. The CM added that an anticipated 20 lakh jobs would be created through the ‘one district one product’ scheme. In the process a strong heritage would also be laid for future generations, Yodi Adityanath observed.

Yogi spoke about the investors’ summit to be held in Lucknow on 21 and 22 February and said an investment of Rs two hundred and fifty lakh crore to three hundred lakh crore was expected to take place in the state through the investors’ summit. The chief minister said the foundation for the eight lane 340 km long Purvanchal Expressway would be in March this year. The Rs 23,000 crore expressway will be completed in 24 months.