Modi to cover all 3 regions on day’s visit on May 19

Gadkari, Dr Jitendra, RK to accompany

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will cover all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir during his one-day visit to the State on May 19 when he would inaugurate some projects, lay foundation of others and address convocation of SKUAST-Jammu.
Accompanied by Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh and Union Minister of State for Power, RK Singh, Modi will reach Leh directly from New Delhi at 9 am where he would lay foundation stone of Zojila tunnel through remote control.
Later, he will address 100th birth anniversary celebrations of Ladakh spiritual leader Kushak Bakula, who is widely respected among the people.
Construction of Zojila tunnel has been long pending demand of the people of Ladakh region as it will provide year-long connectivity to the people of Leh and Kargil districts, which remain cut off with rest of the world for nearly six months from November to April due to heavy snowfall. The tunnel at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway is proposed to be constructed at the cost of Rs 4899 crore.
Modi will join 100th birth anniversary celebrations of Kushok Bakula, who was seen as the force behind several political agitations in the region and was its voice all over the world. He was born at Matho on May 21, 1917, and educated at Geshes, Lhasa (Tibet). A scholar of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, he was head priest of the Spituk Gompa. He died in 2003.
In the afternoon, Modi would reach Srinagar and inaugurate Kishenganga power project.
The Kishenganga power project is located at Bandipora in North Kashmir. It envisaged diversion of water of Kishenganga river to underground power house through a 23.25-km-long head race tunnel to generate 1713 million units per annum.
The Kishenganga project was started in 2007 but on May 17, 2010, Pakistan moved for international arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty 1960 that regulates the use of water in the shared rivers.
The Hague-based International Court of Arbitration allowed India in 2013 to go ahead with construction of the project in North Kashmir and upheld India’s right under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty to divert waters from the Kishenganga for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The international court, however, decided that India shall release a minimum flow of nine cubic meters per second into the Kishenganga river (known as Neelam in Pakistan) at all times to maintain environmental flows. Pakistan is building a 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project downstream.
Later, the Prime Minister would lay foundation of Jammu Ring Road and inaugurate Tarakote Marg from Katra to Adh Kunwari at Zorawar Singh auditorium in Jammu. He would join convocation of SKUAST-Jammu and return to New Delhi in the evening.
Meanwhile, Governor N N  Vohra, Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) today reviewed the completion of new track to the shrine, called “Tarakote Marg” with Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer; Dr. M. K. Kumar, Additional Chief Executive Officer; Anshul Garg, Additional CEO, SMVDSB; M.M. Gupta, Chief Engineer and other concerned officers in a teleconferencing meeting at Raj Bhavan, Srinagar.
It may be recalled that keeping in view the progressively increasing pilgrimage to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji shrine, the Board had approved in February 2011 Governor Vohra’s proposal to construct an alternate track between Banganga and Adh-Kunwari, to decongest the rush of pilgrims on the existing 6 Km track from Banganga to  Adh-Kunwari and besides provide a pony free route from Katra to Bhawan, which is exclusively meant for use by Yatris who walk to the Shrine.
The alternate 7 km track which is 6 meter wide, has a comfortable gradient, and very attractive wayside amenities. The Tarakote Marg provides the pedestrian pilgrims a cleaner and scenic route which has 2 Bhojanalayas, 4 View Points and 7 toilet blocks. The toilet blocks have been provided with facilities for the convenience of elderly pilgrims and for the specially-abled.
A medical unit fully equipped with doctors, paramedics, medicines and equipment has been established to facilitate the pilgrims on 24×7 basis.
The entire track is based on a ramp type design, without any steps and has an average and smooth gradient of one in 12 which, with interlocking antiskid tiles, makes it easier for walking.  The entire track has been aesthetically landscaped and over 46000 ornamental plants, herbs, flowering and avenue trees have been planted to improve the ambience of the track and three floating fountains have been installed in water bodies along the track.
The track is illuminated with 500 energy efficient LED lights beside DG sets have been installed for ensuring round the clock power supply. To provide high quality filtered drinking water free of cost to the pilgrims, 16 Water ATMs have been installed on the Tarakote Marg at approximate intervals of 400-500 meters.
Almost the entire track has been covered with blue-roofed sturdy shelter sheds for the safety of pilgrims against shooting stones and for protecting them from rain and sunshine. The shelter sheds have been got specially designed by IIT Roorkee and a welded mesh fence has been erected all along the track to ensure against children or aged pilgrims meeting any accident on the hill slopes.
Identified vulnerable spots have been treated for slope stabilisation to ensure the safety of the pilgrims from shooting stones and landslides. The interventions undertaken for slope stabilisation include cladding, cement pressure grouting, high tensile wire mesh, gabions and construct debris flow barriers etc.
Vohra, who has been monitoring the completion of this new track on a daily basis, has travelled on the Tarakote Marg several times to review the nature of services to be provided at the wayside facilities for the pilgrims. At the request of the business community and local residents of Katra and Purana Daroor the Tarakote Marg has been linked with the existing Banganga – Adh-Kunwari track at a point which takes off near Gulshan Langar. The 1.5 km link road provides the Yatris the choice of walking on the existing Banganga – Adh-Kunwari track or on the purely pedestrian Tarakote Marg, once they have crossed the Darshani Deodi.
On the request of Vohra, Modi, has agreed to formally inaugurate the Tarakote Marg on May 19.
Narula, has invited pilgrims to start using the Tarakote Marg from the morning of May 13 for their forward and return journeys and get a taste of walking on the beautiful new track.