Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Kashmiri youth will not be witness to miseries like the previous generations, as he inaugurated ₹20,000 crore worth development projects in Jammu aimed at "reducing Dilli Saey Doori (distance from Delhi)".
Speaking on the National Panchayati Raj Day from Jammu's Samba district, Mr. Modi said, "I want to tell the youth of J&K to have faith in my words. You will not see the miseries witnessed by your parents and grandparents. I promise I will make it happen."
He said the 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' initiative in the past eight years was aimed at reducing distances, whether 'Dilli ki Doorian' or "cultural or linguistic distances", while drawing parallel to the sweetness and richness of Dogri language and culture.
The Prime Minister had first used the phrase 'Dil ki aur Dilli say Doorian (distances of hearts and from Delhi)' during the all-party meeting with J&K regional parties last year in New Delhi to address the regional aspirations.
He said the connectivity projects initiated across J&K and Ladakh will end the distances from Delhi and several new road projects between Srinagar and Delhi have already reduced the travel time by two hours. "The day is not far when the Kanyakumari Devi will be connected with the Mata Vaishno Devi by one road," he added.
In the coming 25 years, Mr. Modi said, J&K will create a new era of development. "Investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) I met are excited to invest in J&K. From just ₹17,000 crore investment in the past 70 years, the figures have touched to ₹38,000 crores in just two years. Investors are coming here with an open mind," Mr. Modi said.
He said J&K was also witnessing a boom in tourism. "Kashmir recorded more tourists in just a few months this year than the past few years. This place is booked till June-July," he added.
The Prime Minister, who laid the foundation stone of 850 MW Ratle Power Project and 540 MW Kwar Hydro Project, said J&K will be an electricity surplus place soon. "Such projects will help J&K earn money and take J&K to a new height of development," he added. He said ₹20,000 crore connectivity and electricity related projects was a big figure for a small state like J&K. "This will speed up development. A large number of youths will get employment," he added.
He described the decision to celebrate the National Panchayati Raj Day in J&K as "a reflection of a big change being witnessed here"
"It's a proud moment that democracy has reached to the grassroots level in J&K, and from here I am addressing the elected representatives across the country. It was unfortunate that J&K could not adopt virtues of the Panchayat Act till recently. For the first time, three-tier elections from village to district level were held peacefully. Over 30,000 representatives are now running the village system on their own," Mr. Modi said.
He expressed satisfaction over the 175 Central laws being implemented in J&K since the August 5, 2019 move to end J&K special constitutional position. "This has benefited the women of J&K, Dalit, Balmiki etc. They got 'azadi' (freedom) after 70 years of 'azadi' and were granted equal rights," Mr. Modi said.