J&K moving forward on 3 ‘mantras’ of Vajpayee, DDC polls moment of pride for India: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the launch of the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT, Healthcare Scheme through video conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the launch of the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT, Healthcare Scheme through video conference in New Delhi on Saturday.

‘Shelling matter of concern, troops given free leeway to protect people’

Valley to be connected with rail in 2-3 years, Banihal tunnel by next year

3500 MW power generated in 7 decades, 3000 in just 2-3 yrs

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Dec 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that Jammu and Kashmir has been moving forward on the three ‘mantras’ given by former Prime Minister late Atal Behari Vajpayee of ‘Insaaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’ and described as “moment of pride” the free and transparent elections to the District Development Councils (DDCs) and keen participation of electorates in them.

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Describing cross-border shelling in Samba, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts as “matter of concern, Modi declared that Army and other security forces have been given free leeway to protect the people on border areas and charged previous leadership which ruled the country for decades of completely ignoring development of border areas.
He made these remarks while launching the Ayushman Bharat Scheme via a video conference from New Delhi to extend health insurance benefits to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that he wanted to hold this programme on the birthday of Atal Behari Vajpayee on December 25 because of Atal Ji’s special affection for Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister said it couldn’t be held yesterday because of his preoccupation.
“Atal Ji had constantly been giving guidelines to all of us regarding Insaaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat. Taking these three ‘mantras’ today, Jammu and Kashmir is moving forward and strengthening this spirit,” he added.
Cross-border shelling by Pakistan which has become a regular feature both on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as International Border (IB) in Rajouri, Poonch and Kathua districts was described by the Prime Minister as a “matter of concern”. To solve the shelling problem, he said, the construction of bunkers on the borders is being done at a rapid pace and a large number of bunkers have been built at sensitive places like Samba, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri.
“Army and other security forces have also been given free leeway to protect the citizens,” he declared.
Those who ruled the country for decades committed one of the biggest mistakes by completely ignoring development of border areas of the country. The mentality of their Governments, be it Jammu and Kashmir or North East, have forced these areas to live in backwardness. Our Government’s commitment is that no region of the country will be deprived of development, he said.
Modi asserted that free and transparent DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir coupled with voters’ keen participation are a “moment of pride” for India and hit back at his rivals for giving him “lessons in democracy”.
In a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who alleged recently that there is no democracy in India, Modi said that while his Government completed three-tier Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir in over a year of the region becoming a Union Territory, the Congress dispensation in Puducherry did not conduct local body elections despite a Supreme Court order.
“The three-tier Panchayat system has fully taken shape in the UT,” he said describing it as realization of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of ‘gram swaraj’ (village self-rule).
Modi said the District Development Council polls in Jammu and Kashmir have written a new chapter in the troubled region and have strengthened democracy.
Noting that the people of Jammu and Kashmir braved cold weather and the COVID-19 pandemic to enthusiastically participate in the election, Modi said he had heard from every political party about the high level of transparency during the polls and how free they were.
“I feel so proud… This is a moment of pride for India,” he said, lauding the local administration and security forces for successful conduct of the elections.
These election results have thrown up victors, many of whom have come up from among the masses and who have won due to their work, not their name, he said, in a dig at dynastic parties.
“This is the beginning of a new leadership of a new era in a new decade,” he said.
He said that the BJP was once a part of the Government in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and added that it pulled out because the saffron party wanted Panchayat elections and people to be given their rights. In these polls, people have left history behind and voted for a future of hope, he said.
The Centre has undertaken all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir, he said and added that electricity has reached every village of Jammu and Kashmir and the villages are free from open defecation today.
Modi said Jammu and Kashmir has also been progressing in power sector.
“In seven decades, a capacity of 3500 MW was generated in Jammu and Kashmir but in the last 2-3 years, we have added 3000 MW capacity to it. Projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) are also being executed at faster pace,” he said.
Asserting that he has seen pictures of best Railway bridge being built over Chenab, he said the Railways is working with full force to connect the Kashmir valley with railways in next 2-3 years. In Jammu and Srinagar, light rail transit metro is also moving forward. Efforts are also being made to complete the Banihal tunnel by next year. The semi ring road work is going on in Jammu, he added.
With every resident of Jammu and Kashmir now eligible for health insurance up to Rs five lakh, Modi said it was a historic day for the region.
In an apparent reference to Article 370, which had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir and was abrogated by his Government last year, Modi said earlier most schemes and laws meant for the country had the provision “except J & K’.
This has become history, and over 170 Central Acts are now applicable to the Union Territory, giving its people their rights and ending all discrimination, he added.
“This is our Government’s commitment that no part of the country is deprived of development any longer. Better living conditions in every territory will further strengthen national unity and integrity,” he asserted.
An official statement said about six lakh families of the UT were getting the benefit of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, and now all 21 lakh families will get it.
Modi said during the pandemic about 18 lakh LPG cylinders were refilled in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 10 lakh toilets were built under the Swachh Bharat programme, he said, adding it too contributed to improving the health of the people.
The setting up of IIT and IIM in Jammu and Kashmir would help in providing quality higher education to the students, he said, noting that two AIIMS and two cancer institutes are also being built in the Union Territory.


PM lauds LG, Admn, security forces
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lavished all praises on Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and his team for creating a new hope for the people of Jammu and Kashmir by taking up works lying incomplete for several years and successful conduct of the District Development Council (DDC) elections even as he invoked Goddess Vaishno Devi Ji and Baba Amarnath Ji in his speech.
Calling for equal development of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said Sinha and his team have completed number of works which were lying pending in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am sure that works of the people of J&K which have been incomplete for many decades will be completed through Manoj Ji and the present team of administration ahead of time. The rapid works which are being taken up will be completed ahead of time. I believe so. May the grace of Mother Vaishno Devi and Baba Amarnath be with us all,” he said.
Modi lauded the Lieutenant Governor, administration, security forces and people for successful conduct of the DDC elections.
“I congratulate the administration as well as security forces. They haven’t done an ordinary work. It was a huge task. You have created a new faith in the country and all the credit to Manoj Ji and his Government. It is a moment of pride for India,” he said.


PM dresses in ‘pheran’
NEW DELHI, Dec 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often chosen to dress in the traditional attire of a region while attending an event related to it, and it was a Kashmiri ‘pheran’ today as he launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme to extend health insurance benefits to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources close to the Prime Minister said he had received the pheran as a gift in winters last year from a farm labourer from Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi had planned to wear this during his visit to the region, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that such a trip could not materialise.
He took the opportunity of the launch of the scheme through video-conference today to wear the “special gift”, the sources said.
He has also been recently donning Bengali shawls multiple times in his virtual programmes. (PTI)