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Modi promises to transform Kashmir into destination surpassing Switzerland

Modi heralded a new era for the region and declared that Jammu and Kashmir is breaking free from dynastic rule, with his government now directly engaging with the populace

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the gathering during the inauguration and foundation stone-laying of multiple development projects worth over Rs 32,000 crore, in Jammu on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Prime minister of India, Narendra Modi on Tuesday (20) said that the revocation of Article 370 played a crucial role in promoting the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir. He further emphasised his government’s commitment to transforming the Valley into a tourist destination capable of competing with Switzerland.

Addressing a large gathering at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu, where he launched projects worth approximately £3.2 billion or over Rs 32,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir and approximately £1.35 billion or Rs 13,500 crore for other parts of the nation, Modi highlighted the surge in investments from Gulf countries following a G20 event held in the region last year, which brought global attention to its scenic beauty.

Modi heralded a new era for the region and declared that Jammu and Kashmir is breaking free from dynastic rule, with his government now directly engaging with the populace.

During his over 30-minute speech, Modi reminisced about the tumultuous past of J-K marred by violence and separatism and commended the current shift towards a harmonious and prospering Jammu and Kashmir, attributing it to balanced development initiatives.

“We have seen the days when only disappointing news used to come from JK. Bomb, guns, kidnapping and separatism had become its misfortune. Today, we are seeing a new J-K with balanced and holistic development,” Modi said in his speech which he began in Dogri language.

Despite rain, thousands of locals attended the rally. It was Modi’s second visit to the Jammu region after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

Earlier he had addressed a public rally in Samba district in April 2022.

Expressing his vision for a flourishing Jammu and Kashmir, Modi vowed to construct infrastructure to rival international destinations like Switzerland.

“We have pledged a developed J&K and I have full faith that we will make Jammu and Kashmir more developed and fulfill all your dreams within the next few years…We will create such infrastructure in Kashmir that people will forget going to Switzerland,” he said.

The prime minister lauded the newfound spirit of the youth in the region, highlighting the transition from desolation to vibrancy in everyday life and also shared his optimism regarding investments from Gulf countries, underscoring the positive reception towards the erstwhile state.

Reflecting on the global interest ignited by the G20 event in Srinagar, Modi expressed satisfaction over the surge in tourism and devotees visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.

“The beauty of Kashmir, traditions and culture which got highlighted during the G20 event (in Srinagar last year) had left an impression on the people and everyone wants to visit the place,” Modi said expressing satisfaction over the footfall of a record number of over two crore tourists and highest number of devotees to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in a decade.

He said there is a lot of enthusiasm in the whole world today about a developing Jammu and Kashmir, emphasising the monumental impact of scrapping Article 370 in ushering in an era of inclusive growth and social justice.

Describing Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, as the “biggest hurdle” in the development of the erstwhile state, he said the constitutional provision was the main impediment in bringing all-round development in Jammu and Kashmir and the BJP government has dismantled this wall.

Modi urged the nation to grant his party 370 seats in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, marking the significance of the Article 370 annulment.

Stating that J-K was a victim of “dynastic rule” with those at the helm of affairs only working for their self-interest, the prime minister said he is happy that the UT is getting freed of this.

“The dynastic rulers were only concerned about their own interests. They had no concern for the future of the youth and your families as they were only concerned about their own families. The government whose priority is the welfare of just one family cannot think of the welfare of the common people,” Modi said in an apparent reference to Congress, National Conference and PDP who ruled the erstwhile state in the past seven decades.

Taking on the Congress party, he said this party only believed in lip service to the armed forces and it was his government which fulfilled promises like ‘One Rank One Pension’, benefiting soldiers.

He rounded off his address by affirming that a prosperous India is synonymous with a thriving Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, Modi engaged with the newly recruited government employees and beneficiaries of various schemes during which he underscored the government’s commitment to a developed and inclusive future for Jammu and Kashmir.

During such an interaction with a woman from a remote area of Jammu region, the prime minister sought the support of the country’s women and in making one crore women in India as “lakhpati didis”.

The development projects which Modi launched or laid the foundation stones for projects related to education, railways, aviation, and road sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi dedicated various rail projects which included a new rail line between Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan (48 km) and flagged off the first electric train in the valley and a train service between the Sangaldan in Jammu division and Baramulla stations.

This was welcomed immediately by the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah who termed it a “big step by the railway ministry and prime minister Modi”.

(PTI)

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