No Change In Plans, PM Coming Today

SRINAGAR: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to announce a package for border districts of Jammu and Kashmir when he arrives here along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on a two-day visit on Tuesday.

The package will be for development and reconstruction of the border areas, sources said here today but refused to reveal details of the "gift". 

Singh and Gandhi will also launch train service on a railway section between Qazigund in Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu region that will provide an all-weather link to the valley which often gets cut off from rest of the country in the winter season due to heavy snowfall. 

During his stay in Srinagar, Singh will also take stock of the implementation of the Rs 37,000-crore reconstruction package for the state he had initiated in 2004 under the Prime Minister's reconstruction plan. 

The plan involves 67 projects and schemes covering 11 sectors of theeconomy including expansion of infrastructure and basic services and employment generation. 

Ahead of the visit, Singh reviewed implementation of the plan at a meeting where it was noted that 34 projects and schemes have been completed and work in 28 is in progress, the sources said. 

Among the projects completed are setting up of 1,000 micro-hydroelectric projects, electrification of all villages, expansion of total literacy campaign to remaining three districts of Kargil, Poonch and Doda and training to enhance skills of youth for IT, BPO sector in Jammu and Srinagar.

The project for expansion of infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir involves 24 projects in sectors like power, roads and external borrowings. 

Under this segment, work in respect of six items has been completed. These include 1,000 micro-hydel projects, additional central assistance to Baglihar hydroelectric project and construction of Domel-Katra road. 

The infrastructure expansion plan also includes feasibility of Kibar-Korzok road to connect Leh in Jammu and Kashmir with Shimla. 

The package envisages expansion of basic services in areas like education, health and water supply. 

The schemes which have been completed are starting of six new degree colleges and setting up of five women's ITIs in Kashmir valley. 

The completed projects also include relief and rehabilitation for the dislocated families and victims of militancy. This involved construction of two-room tenements for Kashmiri migrants and construction of temporary shelters, rebuilding of village infrastructure and repair and restoration of damaged houses for people on the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC) affected by cross-border shelling. 

Singh had announced the reconstruction package of Rs 24,000 crore during his first visit to the state in 2004 soon after becoming the Prime Minister. The package has since grown to Rs 37,000 crore due to cost escalation and other factors. Agencies

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