The Prime Minister's first keystone visit to Jammu and Kashmir after the reading down of Article 370 and 35A on Sunday brought a new light to the region.
Srinagar, April 25: The Prime Minister's first keystone visit to Jammu and Kashmir after the reading down of Article 370 and 35A on Sunday brought a new light to the region. One lakh people participated in the event at the Samba district of J&K.
On the grand occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day he spoke to the Gram Sabhas across the nation. PM Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of developmental projects worth over Rs 20,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. The Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel, the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, and the Ratle and Kwar hydroelectric projects have a major stake in the plans.
In the Palli Village of Samba district Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced Prime Minister Modi's new industrial scheme for J&K which proposes Rs 52,000 crore investments of which investment worth Rs 38,000 crore were inaugurated by the Prime Minister. The new industrial wave is setting such foundation in J&K that the proposed investment is expected to cross Rs 70,000 crore.
Two most anticipated projects, the 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project and 540 MW Kwar Hydroelectric Project to be raised on the Chenab River in Kishtwar district were also inaugurated on this occasion. J&K will witness an increase in aggregate power generation capacity by 5186 MW in the next five years with 21 new hydropower projects lined up. Before 2019 the hydropower capacity of J&K was 3505 MW. The power generation, transmission, and distribution sectors are being strengthened and modernized to be the spine of the UT.
The construction 8.45 km long Banihal-Qazigund Road Tunnel which will reduce the distance between the two by 16 km and travel time around 1.5 hours is being raised at a cost over Rs 31,000 crore. It will be a replacement to the famous Jawahar Tunnel which had its drawbacks -- greater elevation and a limit of allowing 150 vehicles per day in either direction. The new tunnel is built at a lower elevation to make it less prone to avalanches.
Road and Rail connectivity from Kashmir to Kanyakumari has been high on the Center's agenda. J&K has seen only an upward trajectory in the past few years with the establishment of all-weather connectivity roads and tunnels reducing the time and distance to a fraction. To improve connectivity in remote areas of J&K, the government is building ropeway networks. They will allow for a sustainable transport system, easy mobility, promote tourism, and decongest urban spaces. The PM's ambition of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' is finally tangible.
The much awaited Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway and the 500 KW Solar Power Plant at Palli village in Samba was also set in motion. Palli is aiming to be the country's first carbon-neutral panchayat, as a result of Sabka Prayas, a concept that the PM perpetually encourages in our countrymen. 'Power Independence' will be seen making its way through nooks and corners of the UT.
Tourism sector has exceeded expectations since the beginning of the year. In the last three months 3.5 lakh tourists have visited J&K. Due to its massive success the Center has allocated Rs. 508 crore for the growth of the sector.
The managers of our homes and nurturers of the future generation, the women, have not only been a priority on paper, but an undertaking in action. Women empowerment in JKUT has set a benchmark for the subject in the nation. The UT houses 60,000 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) employing 5,02,641 women beneficiaries who are entirely self-sufficient.
To increase forest cover and revolutionize irrigation facilities for the farmer, the Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana has been developed. In the year 2021-22 alone, 4138 works of water conservation, plantation, check dams and water harvesting structures have been completed benefitting farmers and the community. The Amrit Sarovar project -- an initiative to conserve water -- was also celebrated as a part of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
There was a time when people were terrified of visiting J&K in consideration of the political scenario. Today a new story of development is being written. Foreign investors from the UAE are investing heavily in Healthcare, Horticulture, IT, Infrastructure, and Food Processing. J&K is going through a major physical makeover. The UT received $2.5 billion (approximately Rs 18,568 crore) in investments from the Gulf in January and is expecting to attract 70,000 crore worth of investment in the following six months.
Earlier this year, the Finance Minister announced a historic, futuristic, and all-inclusive Rs 1,12,950 crore budget for the year 2022-23 which reflects the needs and aspirations of the people of UT, and the Center's commitment for peace, progress, and prosperity of J&K. Good governance, agriculture and horticulture, power sector, rural development, strengthening grass-root democracy, facilitating of investment and industrial growth, infrastructure development, improving road connectivity, broadening social inclusion, Har Ghar Nal Se Jal, education, quality of life for youth, tourism, and health and medical education are the highlights of the budget. And with the announcement of the new dawn in the JKUT by the PM an equitable and holistic development ensuring maximum possible Jan Bhagidari is no longer just a dream.