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Sunday, November 8, 2015

PM announces Rs 80,000 cr package to J&K at Srinagar rally

Contrary to Mufti’s hype to his visit, Modi doesn’t reach out to separatists, makes no mention of militants or Pakistan

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 7: 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.


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