PALLI(SAMBA): On his first official visit to Jammu and Kashmir after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government scrapped Article 370, which gave special status to J&K, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised the local youths that they will not suffer like their parents and grandparents.
“I assure, rather promise that youths of J&K won’t see hardships and sufferings seen by their parents and grandparents,” PM Modi said in his speech in the quaint hamlet of Pali in the border district of Samba on Sunday. “Today, Rs 20,000 crore worth of projects related to connectivity and electricity have been inaugurated. It will help to generate jobs for the local youth,” he assured.
Modi was here to participate in the celebration of the National Panchayati Raj Day.
“Today, I met the panchayat representatives. I have heard them talking about their dreams and missions. I felt happy to see their commitment to development. Today, the panchayat representatives showed me what Sab Ka Prayas actually is,” PM Modi said.
Saluting the villagers of Palli Panchayat, which became the state’s first carbon-neutral panchayat, Modi said, “In the past 10 days, villagers have been providing free food to guests coming to attend the rally. I salute all the villagers of Pali for their commitment,” Modi said.
Talking about the significance of celebrating Panchayati Raj Diwas in J&K, Modi said, “It is evident that democracy has reached the grassroots level in J&K and I am addressing all panchayats of India from this place.”
In J&K, there are more than 30,000 Panchayati representatives who are running governance-related affairs. “For the first time, peaceful three-tier Panchayati elections were held,” he said. “Past two years have seen a huge development in J&K. Almost 200 new laws were extended to J&K and empowered people of this place,” Modi said, adding, “I feel proud, today after 75 years, Walmiki Samaj people are equal to any other citizen of India. These people got freedom after 75 years of India’s independence.”
The PM was accompanied by top business leaders from the UAE on his visit. The move is significant as it underlies the backing of industrialists and investors from a leading Islamic block as the BJP government seeks to pitch a new phase for J&K.
“I also met a Gulf delegation. They are quite enthusiastic about J&K. Post 1947, just Rs 17000 crore outside investment reached J&K. But in just the past two years, Rs 38000 crore investment proposals stand cleared for J&K,” he said, adding, “Corruption is being crushed by the clean administration which has raised the confidence of investors.”
During his visit, Modi inaugurated the Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel, which has been built at a cost of more than Rs 3,100 crore. The 8.45-km-long tunnel will reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km, and reduce journey time by around one-and-a-half hours.
Modi also laid the foundation stones for the 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project and 540 MW Kwar Hydroelectric Project to be constructed on the Chenab River in Kishtwar District.