PM’s visit

Union Government provides grants to the States according to their requirement and capacity.  Grants are provided equitably under established norms, which apply to J&K State also. However, in exigencies like floods, earthquake and other natural calamities, the Centre rushes special grants from different heads to the affected state.
The Prime Minister has just concluded his one-day hectic tour of the State. He addressed a large gathering at the Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar and then flew to Chanderkot to inaugurate 450 MW hydroelectric power generating plant of Baglihar Phase II. In his public address at Srinagar, also attended by the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues,  the Prime Minister announced the largest package of 80,000 crore rupees for overall development of Jammu an Kashmir. This, he said, was not the end rather the beginning of Union Government’s vision of development and prosperity of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. PMO has done intensive homework in identifying the areas of development and service in the State and making allocations for each head out of the sanctioned amount of eighty thousand crore rupees. Major distribution is already announced and the Prime Minister said that now it was the responsibility of the State Government how, when and with what seriousness of interest it undertakes developmental projects and ensures their completion within specific time. He also warned that each penny spent from this package has to be accounted for.
The Prime Minister made an elaborate speech, which encompassed almost all aspects of economic, social, political and security related matters. Some of the more important areas, which he elaborately dealt with, were roads, power, youth employment, tourism, relief to flood victims etc. Two mega road-connectivity projects, viz. Udhampur-Srinagar 4-laning and Zojila tunnel that would throw Ladakh open round the year to road traffic were of primary importance capable of changing the economy and life style of the people of all the three regions of the State. Jammu-Srinagar distance now covered in 9 – 11 hours will take 4-5 hours once four-laning of this National Highway is completed. Road and highway projects have a share of Rs. 42611 crore. This includes construction of Zojila tunnel; semi ring roads in Jammu and Srinagar; projects under Bharat Mala for better connectivity and upgrading of important highway and other projects in the State.
Prime Minister’s vision of power generation and distribution is perhaps the crucial part of his address. He has the dream of providing electricity to each household in the country by the year 2022. J&K is of immense importance keeping in mind its hydraulic potential and power will be generated by harnessing it properly. The Prime Minister attached great importance to exploring new sources of energy other than hydroelectric power. He said that solar electricity and wind electricity generating sources will receive great emphasis and renewable energy was the solution to power shortage in the country. Keeping in view the size of the country, we need to talk in terms of Giga Watts and not Mega Watts and Centre eyeing for 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.
The Prime Minister is fully aware of the big problem of youth unemployment in the State. Although administration has taken some steps to mitigate this problem, yet the need for its permanent solution remains. He announced raising of five new battalions of Indian Reserve Police force, which will provide employment to 4,000 youth of the State. However, he rightly stated that self-employment is the right solution and the Government has already announced that bank loans made available to small entrepreneurs and business units will be without guarantee up to a maximum of 50,000 rupees. Providing employment and skills to the youth would go a long way in alienating them from anti-social activities. If State tourism develops along proper lines and requisite infrastructure made available the tourists will feel interested in coming to Kashmir instead of going aboard. The State must take suitable initiatives for attracting even 5 per cent of the 1.75 crore Indian tourists who visit foreign countries annually. This would boost the tourist industry in the State.
The Prime Minister had a word of appreciation for the Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed for bringing about a change in the ground situation in the State. We will conclude that all this being in its place, a great responsibility has devolved on the shoulders of the coalition Government in the State as it will have to come up to the expectation of the Prime Minister  in implementing mega schemes. The flood victims, the displaced persons, the refugees and the rest of them will eagerly wait for the implementation of the part of the package that mitigates their suffering.
The Prime Minister has been candid though succinct in his reference to the political issue of the state. In very few but meaningful words, he said that he would take up the threads of political scenario where former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had left it. He vowed to travel the roadmap chartered by Atal ji, in his famous assertion of “Jamhooriat, Kashmiriyat aur Insaniyat ke nate.” Some critics think that the Prime Minister would brandish a magic wand and there will flow the solution of political tangle in Kashmir. That does not happen. The Prime Minister said that he was well aware of the aspects and layers of Kashmir issue and he did not need anybody from outside to lecture him on it. This is sufficient indication that he is seized of the matter and there is no scope of prompting him about it.

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