Rs 80,000 Crore to Fulfil Kashmir’s Dreams: PM

‘On Kashmir, I need No Ones Analysis, Advice,’ says Modi

SRINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the much awaited financial package for all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir saying it was the “beginning” of his plans for the state.

Rs 80,000-crore package, announced by the Prime Minister, includes  Rs. 7854 crore for flood relief, reconstruction and management.

Implying that the Centre sat on piles of cash and alluding to its generosity, Modi said, “There won’t be any dearth of money. “Not only Delhi’s treasures, but Delhi’s ‘Dil’ (heart) is always for the people of Kashmir”.

 Modi drew attention to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and articulated the words used by the veteran leader in his famous  2003 Kashmir peace  initiative— “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat aur Insaniyat’. Modi said, “I will like to follow these three mantras which are the pillars of development of Kashmir”.

Modi went on and said, “I don’t need advice or analysis from anyone in this world on Kashmir. The three mantras of Atalji will be helpful in moving forward. Kashmiriyat ke bina Hindustan adhura hai. (Without Kashmiriyat, India is incomplete).  He said India is incomplete without Kashmiriyat which is the “shaan, baan, aan” (pride and glory) of India.

The Sufi tradition has emerged from this land and this tradition has taught us oneness and strength of unity,” the Prime Minister said.

Turning evangelical, Modi called for using the money for a transformation of the state into a naya (new) state, “It’s my heart-felt desire that this money will be helpful in turning your fate. This money should be used for converting the state into a new Jammu and Kashmir which is a modern, prosperous and progressive state”.

Referring to the past couple of decades ,Modi said,  “The dreams of two generations have been lost in last two decades. But I am an optimist and would like to move ahead and convert Jammu and Kashmir into a modern and developed state”.

Conceding the need for employment of  the state’s youth, the Prime Minister said that the youth of the state needed employment and assured the Mufti Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government that the Centre was standing rock solid behind it in its endeavour to restore normalcy in the state. “We may touch any heights in economy and technology. And no matter how much the life changes, we may even build a castle in the air, but it is only our soul that inspires us to respect the dignity of self and others,” he said.

Referring to the huge voter turn out in the last assembly elections, Modi said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have shown their faith in jamhooriyat (democracy). “There was massive participation in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Today Mufti Sahib is talking about empowering panchayats. This is the democracy that Atalji wanted and dreamt of. I salute you,” he added.

Modi said he has a development sketch in his mind for Jammu and Kashmir based on the interactions with the leaders of the state including the Chief Minister and his deputy Nirmal Singh.

 Modi , during his speech, spelled out a sketch of his development plan for J & K, “The development process has to be implemented within a set timeframe. We want to help the farmers, the traders and people whose houses were damaged by the floods last year. We want to bring out every family from their problems. Delhi will work shoulder to shoulder with the state government in this regard,” he added.

Pinning down the conflict in and over Kashmir, into unemployment, the Prime Minister also said that unemployment was the biggest challenge facing the state and a solution to this problem will resolve every other problem in the state.

He said the focus of the government is on reviving tourism and promoting handicrafts and other cash crops like apple and saffron of the state.

“More than 1.75 crore Indians travel abroad for tourism. Can we make efforts to get only 5 per cent of this number to Kashmir, which will change the tourism scenario and bring back the old days of peace and tranquility,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the state had potential for adventure tourism, eco tourism and leisure tourism to attract visitors from across the world.

Giving an example of harnessing the local expertise, Modi said cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Dhoni might have hit many sixes but the bats they used were made from the willow of Kashmir.

“This is strength which we need to harness. We want a development model which provides livelihood opportunities to the youth,” he said.

Modi also laid emphasis on use of information and digital technology for improving the lot of the people.

“We have to explore how to use the I-way, the information way, and digital network to connect the people of Kashmir. As part of skill development, we have to look at how to improve the quality of handicrafts and their designs too, besides finding global markets for these products,” he added.

Modi said there was no reason that Kashmir cannot emerge from its troubled past as “I believe that crisis, however deep it might be, can be over come with determination”.

“Kashmir has seen a lot of crisis over the past 20 years. Dreams of two generations have been shattered. I have set out to make Kashmir paradise on earth again, to make it prosperous. I have belief in Mufti Sahib…. I have belief in you. Otherwise, we would not see such an atmosphere (at the rally),” he added.

Turning his focus on infrastructure development, the Prime Minister said his government wanted to develop the sector.

“Today it takes nine to 11 hours to travel from Jammu to Srinagar, which can put off the tourists. We are spending Rs 34,000 crore on Jammu-Srinagar road which will reduce the travel time significantly as the distance will be less by 70 kilometres due to construction of tunnels,” he said.

He said this project will be completed within two and half years.

On  human resources, he said the youth of state have excelled in the competitive exams like IAS, IPS, IIT and IIM over the past few years which is indicative of the strength of the state.

“I have recognised this talent of Kashmir and when I recognise the talent, I do everything that is needed to be done,” he said.

The Prime Minister also pitched for resumption of international cricket in Kashmir saying if a player like Parvez Rasool is making progress, then international matches should also be held here.

“It has been 30 years since an international match was played here,” he said referring to the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket stadium, where the last one day international was played between India and Australia in 1986.

PM Inaugurates Baglihar HEP II

Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Saturday thanked the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for announcing a massive developmental package of Rs.80,000 crore, saying it has the potential of becoming a turning point in the history of J&K.

The Chief Minister was speaking during a public meeting here today after the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated 450 MW Baglihar Hydro Electric Power Project Stage-II and laid foundation stone of four-lanning of Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal sections of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

Laying emphasis upon tapping potential for local employment generation, the Chief Minister termed the developmental package announced by the Prime Minister as a turning point that will go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of the people in the state. He said the government is focusing on skill development to enhance the employability of available talented human resource.

The Chief Minister also thanked Nitin Gadkari for providing support to develop road infrastructure, in particular fast-tracking the four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which will give a huge impetus to the development of the state.   

Taken up for development in state sector, the Baglihar HEP Stage-II has the capacity of 450 MW with the design energy of 1302 million units. Expected to generate annual revenue of Rs. 450 crore, the total cost of the project is to the tune of Rs.3113 crore.

The four-laning of Udhampur to Chenani and Nashri to Ramban & Ramban to Banihal has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 4306 crore. Once completed, it will not only benefit the state of J&K with respect to overall socio-economic development of the region but will also be instrumental in boosting local trade and tourism.         

The four-laning of the National Highway will also considerably reduce the journey between the two capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar. 

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