Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Contrary to the hype PDP and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had given to his visit and claimed that it would be a “turning point” in the State’s history, Prime Minister Narendra Mufti on Saturday did not make even a cursory reference to Kashmiri separatists, militants or Pakistan in his 40-minute speech at a rally at Sher-e-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium. He, however, announced a Rs 80,000 crore economic package over the next five years and promised the Kashmiris that Delhi would “lend them her heart” for their faith in the Indian democracy.
“This is not the end, but just the beginning”, Modi asserted while announcing the special package of Rs 80,000 crore. He asserted that he would transform Jammu and Kashmir into the country’s major tourist attraction, restoring the glory it had lost due to turmoil in the last 25 years. “Around 1.75 crore Indian tourists visit foreign countries each year. Can’t we make even 5% of them visit Kashmir?”, he said at the rally—his first after formation of the PDP-BJP government in the State in March this year.
“On Kashmir, I don’t need anybody’s advice and analysis. I will tread on the path set by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee whose mantra of ‘jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat’ in 2003 changed the course in this State. Even today, I believe, Kashmir’s development is shrouded in Atalji’s vision of democracy, Kashmiriyat and humanity”, Modi said after brief speeches by Chief Minister Sayeed and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti.
Prime Minister pointed out that it was the Sufi tradition of Kashmir that had taught Indians the sublime values of integration and unification. “This is the essence of Kashmiriyat”, he said.
Modi extended his greetings to the people of the State for their massive participation in last year’s Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and contended that their faith in the Indian democratic system and institutions would bring them unlimited progress and prosperity. He said he was exceptionally thrilled at the fact that the Kashmiris in the recent years had been excelling in the Indian competitive examinations like IAS, IPS, IIM and IIT.
“Jammu and Kashmir has a great talent. Our youths have proved that they can achieve anything with their talent, hard work and perseverance. We are proud to have talented cricketers like Parvez Rasool. When we have stars of world fame like Parvez Rasool, why shouldn’t we hold International cricket matches in Kashmir? This had struck me in my last year’s rally at the same place. It was in 1983 that we held an International cricket match here. Now, after a long gap, we will have it again here”, Modi said.
Modi said that he had a personal passion and obsession with Kashmir and used to visit this State frequently since long ago. He referred to his seven visits to the State in seven months of the year 2014 and said that he preferred to celebrate Deewali with the Kashmiris who had been severely hit by the unprecedented floods last year. “Prime Minister of China was my guest. He wanted to celebrate my birthday at my home in Gujarat on September 17. I decided against celebrating it as I was pained by the flood in Kashmir. I as usual went to seek my mother’s blessings. She used to give me Rs 5 to 11 as a token gift every year. Last year, she gave me Rs 5,000 and said it was her contribution for the flood victims of Kashmir”, Prime Minister narrated.
Modi said that his special economic package would help the State raise communication and IT infrastructure including call centres and world class Internet, AIIMS-like hospitals in Jammu and Srinagar, IIT, IIM, infrastructure for tourism besides projects to develop horticulture, handicrafts particularly Pashmina, agriculture particularly saffron, high quality and low expenditure education and power projects. He said that his government would particularly focus on addressing the State’s unemployment problem and leave no stone unturned to ensure that everybody got a job.
Prime Minister said that a part of the package would provide relief to the flood-affected people even as he had already provided Rs 1,000 crore for this purpose.
Highlights of PM’s development package
4Flood relief, reconstruction and flood management – Rs. 7,854 cr
This includes monetary help to people for reconstruction of damaged houses and for infrastructure; restoration of livelihood for traders and small businessmen; a plan for comprehensive flood management of the River Jhelum and its tributaries; and Jhelum-Tawi flood reconstruction project;
4Road and Highway projects – Rs. 42,611 cr
This includes construction of Zojila tunnel; semi ring roads in Jammu and Srinagar; projects under Bharat Mala for better connectivity; and upgradation of important highway and other projects in the State.
4Power, New and Renewable Energy – Rs. 11,708 cr
This includes augmentation of power infrastructure and distribution systems; solar power; small hydro projects.
4Health – Rs 4,900 cr
This includes creation of two AIIMS-like institutions in capital cities of the State, and support for creation of infrastructure in hospitals and Primary Health Centres.
4Human Resource Development, Skill Development and sports – Rs. 2,600 cr
This includes establishment of IIT and IIM in Jammu; stepping up efforts under the HIMAYAT scheme to train one lakh youth over five years, and augmenting sports infrastructure.
4Agriculture and Food Processing – Rs 529 cr
This includes support for horticulture, and creation of cold storage facilities
4Tourism -Rs. 2,241 cr
This includes new projects and tourist circuits, and setting up of 50 tourist villages.
4Urban Development – Rs. 2,312 cr
This includes amounts under Smart Cities and Swachh Bharat missions; and for infrastructure in towns of Jammu and Kashmir.
4Security and Welfare of displaced people – Rs. 5,263 cr
This includes amounts towards jobs for Kashmiri migrants, rehabilitation of families from Chhamb and PoK, construction of houses, and setting up of five India Reserve Battalions. The India Reserve Battalions will create 4,000 jobs for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
4Pashmina Promotion Project – Rs. 50 cr
4Total package amount – Rs. 80,068 cr
These amounts are over and above the amounts already committed, including Rs. 837 crore under Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and Rs. 1,000 crore given to the State after last year’s floods.
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