Khunti (Jharkhand): Declaring Mahatma Gandhi to be his “inspiration", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a strong pitch for environment protection and energy conservation, linking them to Gandhi’s commitment to providing justice to the poor.

Inaugurating a rooftop solar plant on Gandhi Jayanti for Khunti court and district collectorate, which is the first in any court in India, he said, “Gandhiji was a big supporter of environment protection. That is why I decided to come here. In a way, I have snatched this opportunity (to inaugurate). I decided to come here because 2 October is my inspiration. Mahatma Gandhi is my inspiration," Modi said.

Ahead of a crucial climate change summit in Paris later this year, Modi also said that India is not to be blamed for the “sin" of environment degradation, but even so will contribute towards containing it. “I want to tell the world on behalf of 125 crore Indians that we have no role in this sin which has precipitated the environment crisis. Our heritage, culture, ancestors never permitted the exploitation of nature and natural resources. But irrespective of whoever committed this sin and made this mistake, India will make its contribution for the welfare of the humanity," he said.

Referring to the 180KW rooftop solar photovoltaic system which he inaugurated, Modi said that if Gujarat or Rajasthan think of solar energy, people will say that it is understandable as they have no coal, but when Jharkhand, which is a rich in coal, does so, it is noticed and the world gets a message from it.

Recalling that judges of district courts had once told him that lack of power in court premises hampers the hearing of cases and was a reason behind the pendency and delay in delivery of justice, Modi said he was shocked to realize that districts courts are deprived of basic amenities like power even after 60 years of independence. “The judges of Jharkhand found a solution to it here and this court will now run with solar energy. Today it has become the first district court in the country to run with solar energy. This is the best tribute to Gandhiji. Bapu fought his entire life to get justice for the poor. On his birth anniversary, a court is being connected with solar energy. This is a very good initiative," he said.

The Prime Minister said that like solar energy, the country also needs to focus on energy conservation. “We can’t use up all our resources, we must think about the future," he said as he exhorted the public to use LED bulbs to reduce their power bills. Modi said that the airport at Kochi in Kerala became the first such facility in the country to run on solar energy while the last railway station on the Vaishno Devi route, too, runs on this source of renewable energy.

Congratulating the Jharkhand judges on the state’s first court being connected with solar energy in Khunti, he said that if environment is protected, it will help provide justice to the weaker sections.