PM Modi to launch projects worth ₹30,500 crore in Jammu and Kashmir on February 20

The visit assumes significance as it comes just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections

February 20, 2024 02:11 am | Updated 11:54 am IST - SRINAGAR

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo Credit: PTI

All eyes in J&K are on the upcoming public rally in Jammu to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20. He is likely to inaugurate and announce projects worth ₹30,500 crore and formally kick off the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Modi will throw open the extra leg of the railway network in J&K by inaugurating the 48-km rail line between Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan and the 185.6 km newly electrified Baramulla-Srinagar-Banihal-Sangaldan section. The Banihal-Sangaldan section will further bring the Kashmir valley closer to the railway network of north India. The country’s longest transportation tunnel of 12.77 km also lies in between the Khari-Sumber section. 

Multiple new projects

Officials said the Prime Minister will announce multiple new projects in health, education, rail, road, aviation, petroleum, civic infrastructure, and other sectors in J&K. “The PM will distribute appointment orders to about 1,500 new government recruits,” they added.

The visit assumes significance as it comes just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. “PM Modi would give new wings to J&K, which is already on a path of peace, progress, and prosperity with equitable empowerment of all due to landmark decisions taken in the last four years,” BJP leader Devender Singh Rana said.

Kashmir-based Peoples Democratic Front chairman Hakeem Yaseen urged the visiting Prime Minister to announce the restoration of Statehood to J&K. “I expect a comprehensive employment package and regularisation policy for 60,000 daily wage workers. This would generate substantial goodwill. I hope he will address ‘Delhi say doori’ and ‘Dil ki doori’,” Mr. Yaseen said.

J&K Peoples Conference leader Abdul Gani Vakil also urged the Centre to implement confidence-building measures (CBMs) ahead of the upcoming Parliament elections in J&K. “The need is to grant Statehood to J&K and provide a special employment package for unemployed youth in the region to encourage greater participation in the elections,” Mr. Vakil said.

Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( KCCI), a key traders’ body, thanked the Prime Minister for accepting many of its suggestions in the past and highlighted the areas that require the PM’s attention.

“The major concern here is the unemployment rate, which is not only higher than the national average but one of the highest in the country. The KCCI also invites the Prime Minister’s attention to the sufferings of the industrial sector, once booming, in J&K. The problems faced by this sector need to be addressed at a faster pace,” it said.

The KCCI said J&K was returning to normalcy, “which has resulted in considerable growth in tourist footfall”. “However, J&K is facing an electricity crisis in general and the Kashmir province in particular. Unprecedented power outages even during the summer months resulted not only in huge losses to trade, commerce and industry but also inconvenience to domestic consumers,” it added.

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