Tumultuous past of J&K is over, now it’s marching towards development: PM

PM Narendra Modi addressing a mammoth rally at MA Stadium in Jammu on Tuesday. More pics on page 3. -Excelsior/Rakesh
PM Narendra Modi addressing a mammoth rally at MA Stadium in Jammu on Tuesday. More pics on page 3. -Excelsior/Rakesh

‘Dynasts cared about their own families at the cost of youth, UT now breaking free from their rule’
*Rs 32,000 cr worth projects launched for J&K, Rs 13,500 cr for other parts
*Valley to match Switzerland, day not far when Kashmir will be linked by rail
*Art 370 was biggest roadblock in development, ‘Viksit JK’ soon

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Feb 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Jammu and Kashmir has seen the tumultuous past when news of only violence, separatism and kidnappings had become its misfortune but today we are seeing a new J&K emerging which is harmonious, prosperous and marching towards development where schools are now constructed and not burnt.
Addressing a mammoth rally at MA Stadium here after inauguration and laying foundation stone of 220 projects worth over Rs 32,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir and Rs 13,500 crore for other parts of the nation and interaction with beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of Centre and UT Governments through video conferencing, Modi made a specific mention of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status given recently by the Central Government to Paharis, Paddaris, Koli and Gadda Brahmins, bringing Valmikis in the Scheduled Caste category and reservation in Panchayat and Municipal elections to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

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Without naming Abdullahs, Gandhis and Muftis, the Prime Minister targeted the “dynastic politics” saying the parties which ruled erstwhile State earlier cared only about their own families at the cost of youth.
The development projects which Modi launched or laid the foundation stones for projects were related to Education, Railways, Aviation and Road sectors.
Modi also distributed appointment letters to about 1,500 newly recruited Government employees of Jammu and Kashmir. He recalled his relations with J&K dating 40 years back including Gujjars and Bakerwals.
In his 35 minutes address amidst rains and adverse weather conditions in Jammu, the Prime Minister declared that the dream of ‘Viksit J&K’ (developed Jammu and Kashmir) which the people have seen for last seven decades is being fulfilled now and the day is not far when Kashmir will be linked by rail with Kanyakumari.
He said the Government is committed to transform the Valley into a tourist destination that could match Switzerland.
“Main losers of this dynastic politics pursued earlier in J&K were youth. The families which were at the helm staked future of youth for their self-interests. No provisions were made to benefit the youth. There were no schemes for the young generation. They were only worried about their own families,” the Prime Minister said.
He added that Jammu and Kashmir is breaking free from dynastic rule, with his Government now directly engaging with the people. “Earlier, the people here became political victims of dynastic politics for decades. The dynasts ignored your (people’s) interests at the cost of their own,” he said. Though he didn’t name Abdullahs, Muftis and Gandhis, the BJP’s Central leadership has repeatedly been targeting the dynastic politics of these families in the UT.
Seated on the dais along with Narendra Modi were Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, BJP Lok Sabha Member from Jammu Jugal Kishore Sharma and Rajya Sabha Member Ghulam Ali Khatana.
“The Government whose priority is the welfare of just one family cannot think of the welfare of the common people. I am happy to see Jammu and Kashmir getting free from the dynastic rule,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi reminisced about the tumultuous past of Jammu and Kashmir marred by violence and separatism and commended the current shift towards a harmonious and prospering JK, attributing it to balanced development initiatives.
“We have seen the days when only disappointing news used to come from JK. Bomb, guns, kidnapping and separatism had become its misfortune. There were days when schools were burnt, now the schools are constructed. Today, we are seeing a new J-K with balanced and holistic development,” Modi said.
Asserting that his Government has taken a pledge of `Viksit Jammu and Kashmir’ (developed J&K), Modi said he has full faith in the people of J&K and will fulfill their dreams which remained unfulfilled for past 70 years.
“Article 370 was the biggest roadblock in the development of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the BJP Government has abrogated it. Jammu and Kashmir is moving towards overall development now. It is because of abrogation of Article 370 that I have urged the people to help BJP win 370 seats and take NDA beyond 400 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Modi said.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm in the whole world today about a developing Jammu and Kashmir, emphasising the monumental impact of scrapping Article 370 in ushering in an era of inclusive growth and social justice,” he said.
The Constitutional provision, he added, was the main impediment in bringing all-round development in Jammu and Kashmir and the BJP Government has dismantled this wall.
He also said that after the abrogation of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir, which is now a Union Territory, has witnessed balanced development across regions and in all sectors. He also said the government has reached people’s doorstep in Jammu and Kashmir the first time.
“This is Modi’s guarantee and this will continue,” he said.
“A developed India means a developed Jammu and Kashmir.”
Modi said the common people of Jammu and Kashmir got assurance of social justice mentioned in the Constitution for first time after abrogation of Article 370. “There is a lot of enthusiasm in the whole world today about a developing Jammu and Kashmir.”
Modi also made a mention of upcoming movie on Article 370, emphasising the importance of dissemination of accurate information.
“I have heard that perhaps a film on Article 370 is going to be released this week. I think your ‘Jai Jai Kaar’ (cheers) are going to be heard all over the country,” he said.
While acknowledging his lack of familiarity with the film’s specifics, Modi highlighted the potential of such productions in providing the public with accurate insights.
“I do not know what the film is all about but yesterday I heard on TV that a film is coming on Article 370. Good, it will be useful for people to get correct information,” Modi said.
The film, titled “Article 370”, is produced by Aditya Dhar, renowned for his directorial work on “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, which earned him the National Film Award for Best Director.
Yami Gautam, Priyamani, and Arun Govil are among the star cast in the movie which is set to hit theatres on February 23 under the direction of Aditya Suhas Jambhale.
The release of this film comes ahead of the upcoming Parliamentary elections in the country, further intensifying the public’s interest in the portrayal of revocation of Article 370
Modi highlighted the surge in investments from Gulf countries following a G20 event held in the region last year, which brought global attention to its scenic beauty.
Expressing his vision for a flourishing Jammu and Kashmir, Modi vowed to construct infrastructure to rival international destinations like Switzerland.
“We will create such infrastructure in Kashmir that people will forget going to Switzerland,” he said.
Referring to recent initiatives of social justice taken by the Central Government recently, the Prime Minister said the Paharis and Paddari tribes, Koli & Gadda Brahmins have been given ST status, Valmikis have been included in the SC list while reservation has been given to OBCs in Panchayats and Municipalities.
“The STs have already been given political reservations in the Assembly,” he said, adding pucca houses have been given to people including a number of women in Jammu and Kashmir.
Reflecting on the global interest ignited by the G20 event in Srinagar, Modi expressed satisfaction over the surge in tourism and devotees visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
“The beauty of Kashmir, traditions and culture which got highlighted during the G20 event (in Srinagar last year) had left an impression on the people and everyone wants to visit the place,” the Prime Minister said expressing satisfaction over the footfall of a record number of over two crore tourists and highest number of devotees to Mata Vaishno Devi and Baba Amarnath Ji shrines in a decade.
Modi said his connection with Jammu and Kashmir goes back more than 40 years and people turning up at his rally in large numbers from far-off places despite adverse weather conditions was proof of their love for him.
“The love of the people is the biggest blessing for us,” he said.
“My connection with Jammu and Kashmir is more than 40 years old as I have done a lot of programmes and tours here as an activist. The massive gathering and enthusiasm despite the rain and cold conditions with everyone listening with rapt attention show the love of the people,” Modi said.
He said the programme dedicated to Viksit Bharat was being telecast live in 285 blocks in Jammu and Kashmir and various other places in the country where lakhs of people were watching.
“Such a big programme and that too in Jammu and Kashmir, where nature challenges us every moment. The people of Jammu and Kashmir really deserve to be congratulated for the programme being organised there with so much pomp and show,” the Prime Minister added.
He lauded the newfound spirit of the youth in the region, highlighting the transition from desolation to vibrancy in everyday life and also shared his optimism regarding investments from Gulf countries, underscoring the positive reception towards the erstwhile state.
Taking on the Congress party, he said this party only believed in lip service to the armed forces and it was his Government which fulfilled promises like ‘One Rank One Pension’, benefiting soldiers. He rounded off his address by affirming that a prosperous India is synonymous with a thriving Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, Modi dedicated various rail projects which included a new rail line between Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan (48 kilometres) and flagged off the first electric train in the Valley and a train service between the Sangaldan in Jammu division and Baramulla stations.
Referring to the projects which he either inaugurated or laid the foundation stone for, Modi said it was a remarkable day for Jammu and Kashmir. “The projects in Jammu and Kashmir will propel holistic development of the region,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that a record number of schools, colleges and universities were established in India in last 10 years, with 50 new degree colleges set up in Jammu and Kashmir alone.
The day is not far when Kashmir will be connected with Kanyakumari by rail.
The 272-km USBRL is being commissioned in phases — the 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section was done in October 2009, the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013 and the 25-km Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014.
Development works are happening simultaneously, unlike in the past when work was done in the rest of India but its benefits were either not available to the people of Jammu and Kashmir or were made available very late, the Prime Minister said.
“Today new airports are being built across the country. Jammu and Kashmir is also not behind. Today the expansion work of the Jammu airport has started. The dream of connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari by rail has also moved forward today with the commissioning of the (48.1-km) section between Baramulla and Sangaldan,” he said.
“Today such a big campaign for electrification of the railways is going on in the entire country, and this region has got a big benefit from it,” said Modi.
He said when a modern train service in the form of ‘Vande Bharat’ was started in the country, one of its initial routes was in Jammu and Kashmir. “We made it easier to reach the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine (at Katra in Jammu) and I am happy that two Vande Bharat trains are presently running on this route,” Modi said.
Modi said the ‘New Bharat’ was spending more to provide modern education to students and asserted that education and skill development have been the main focus of his government over the past 10 years.
He also said the government plans to provide drones to women’s self-help groups across the country so that they can use them for agricultural activities and boost their income.
He said that earlier, the youths of Jammu and Kashmir had to go outside for higher education and professional courses but now the Union Territory “is becoming a hub of education and skill development with the establishment of various educational institutes like IITs and IIMs as per promise.”
“The mission of modernising the education sector is expanding further,” Modi said and referred to the inauguration of various IITs, IIMs, academic blocks, hostels, libraries, auditoriums and many such facilities across the country.
He asserted that the benefits of government schemes have reached people in every nook and corner of the country as “we ensured that no deserving person is left out”.
“This was the guarantee of Modi and this is the magic of Lotus (BJP’s electoral symbol),” Modi said.
About the NaMo Drone Didi Scheme, he said his government guarantee is that women would be made drone pilots.
“I was watching an interview of a sister yesterday who was telling that she did not know how to pedal a cycle but after training, she is returning home as a ‘drone pilot’. The training of a large number of sisters has already started in the country and we have decided to provide drones to thousands of self-help groups,” he said.
The Prime Minister said drones could be beneficial in agricultural activities besides boosting the income of the village women.
“In the last 10 years, India has become an economic power from number 11 to number five,” Modi said.
In a rhetorical question, he asked what happens when the economic strength of a country increases. “Then the government gets more money to spend on people.”
“India is providing many facilities to the poor such as free ration, free treatment, permanent houses, gas, toilet, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. This is because India’s economic strength has increased. Now we have to make India the third largest economic power in the world in the coming five years,” the prime minister said.
He added that this would increase the country’s ability to increase its spending manifold for the welfare of the poor, and infrastructure development and “every family across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, will benefit from this”.
The Prime Minister, who also inaugurated many roads and laid the foundation for new ones, said road-connectivity across Jammu and Kashmir, including in villages, cities and national highways, has been given due priority.
“The second phase of the Srinagar Ring Road on completion will make it easier for people to visit the Manasbal Lake and the Kheerbhawani temple, while the completed works on the Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri highway will benefit farmers and the tourism sector,” he said.
He said the expansion of the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway will further improve connectivity and the travel between Jammu and Delhi will become easy.
Modi launched multiple development projects in Jammu and Kashmir worth over Rs 32,000 crore.
From Jammu, the Prime Minister also launched or laid foundation stone of projects worth Rs 13,500 crore across the country.
These projects also include Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Central Universities.
The projects also include permanent campuses for IIT Bhilai, IIT Tirupati, IIT Jammu, IIITDM Kancheepuram, Indian Institute of Skills (IIS), a pioneer skills training institute on advanced technologies located at Kanpur, and campuses of Central Sanskrit University at Devprayag (Uttarakhand) and Agartala (Tripura).
Modi also inaugurated three new IIMs in the country — IIM Jammu, IIM Bodh Gaya and IIM Visakhapatnam — besides 20 new buildings for Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and 13 for new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) buildings across the country.
Among other projects, Modi laid the foundation stone for a new terminal building at the Jammu airport.
Spread over 40,000 sqm, the new terminal building will be equipped with modern facilities catering to about 2,000 passengers during peak hours, and will be environment friendly.
Modi laid the foundation stone of important road projects including two stretches (44.22 km) of the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway connecting Jammu to Katra and phase-two for the four-laning of the Srinagar Ring road.
He laid the foundation stone for a project to develop the CUF (Common User Facility) petroleum depot at Jammu as well.
Modi also inaugurated the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Vijaypur in Samba district virtually from the MA Stadium saying the people of Jammu will no longer have to leave for Delhi to avail specialised medical treatment.
The Prime Minister said the number of Medical Colleges in J&K has increased from four to 12 in the last 10 years.
“Similarly, in the same time period, MBBS seats in J&K has more than doubled from 500 to 1300,” he said, highlighting that “there were no PG medical seats in J&K before 2014 and today there are 650 PG medical seats in the Union Territory”.
He said 35 new Nursing and paramedic colleges are also coming up in the region which will lead to a considerable increase in nursing seats as well.
On inaugurating AIIMS Jammu, the Prime Minister said the Union Government has added 15 new AIIMS in the last 10 years, including two in J&K alone.
“After the commissioning of AIIMS Jammu, people of Jammu will no longer have to leave for Delhi to avail specialised medical treatment, which will help them save valuable time and resources,” he said.
Modi highlighted the rapid speed of transformation of infrastructure in all the sectors of the country.
He reiterated his vision of India to become Viksit Bharat by 2047 and appealed to the people to work towards that vision.
He said a Viksit Jammu & Kashmir is a pre-requisite to Viksit Bharat and the various developmental and upliftment projects of the Central Government in J&K are aimed at fulfilling that vision into reality.
The AIIMS Jammu is set to offer comprehensive medical services, with an expected daily footfall of 2000-3000 patients in the outpatient department. The Phase-1 consists of establishing 750 beds, including 193 ICU beds catering to trauma care, general care and super-specialties.
AIIMS Jammu plans to build approximately 50 departments, encompassing both general and specialised care.