Srinagar, Nov 7:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the biggest ever economic package of Rs.80,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir, and invoked ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s three-point formula to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The jam packed Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium here broke into a joyous rapture as Modi announced the much awaited economic package for the state.
While people greeted him with slogans and applause, Modi said: “This is not the end, but the beginning of my dream for Kashmir.
“Not only Delhi’s treasures, but Delhi’s ‘Dil’ (heart) is for the people of Kashmir,” he said while responding to the people’s applause at his announcement.
The all inclusive package will cover relief for the 2014 flood victims, farmers, businessmen, youth employment, tourism, infrastructure development, education and healthcare.
“We have to follow the path shown by Atal ji. From this stage, Atal ji had raised the slogan of ‘Kashmiriyat’ (eclectic, sufist culture), ‘Jamhooriyat’ (democracy) and ‘Insaaniyat’ (human values).
“I repeat those words and say that the development of Jammu and Kashmir has to stand on those three pillars.
“Without the eclectic, sufist culture of ‘Kashmiriyat’ not only Kashmir, but entire India is incomplete. The massive participation of people in Kashmir in the 2003 elections was a great contribution to democracy based on the principle of ‘Jamhooriyat’. Even if the world changes through technological advances, nothing can be achieved without the human values of ‘Insaaniyat’.”
“My first priority is relief for the flood victims, for farmers, for businessmen, for employment to local youth and infrastructure development.
“I said it last year when I announced 1,000 crore for flood victim and I say it again today that Delhi will work shoulder to shoulder with the state government for equitable development of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the three reions of the state,” he said.
He recalled that he chose not to celebrate Diwali festival last year, but preferred to come to Kashmir to show solidarity with the flood victims.
“On my birthday on September 17 last year, I went to touch the feet of my mother. She would always give me a few coins on my birthday, but last year she g ve me Rs.5,000 saying that this money was for the flood victims of Kashmir.
“The Chinese president had timed his visit around September 17, my birthday last year. I received him with all the dignity, but said I could not celebrate birthday when people of Kashmir had suffered such a colossal tragedy.”
He said he has great hope from the youth in Kashmir who in recent years had been excelling in competitive exams like the IAS, IPS, IITs and IIMs.
“You have cricketers like Parvaiz Rasool. Why can’t this stadium host international matches in near future? Great batsmen of the country like Sachin, Dhooni and Sehwag hit centuries, but the bats with which they hit those centuries are made in my Kashmir,” he said.
Speaking about tourism, the prime minister said 1.75 crore Indians go abroad as tourists every year.
“Why can’t we woo 5 percent of those 1.75 crore Indian tourists to visit Kashmir through better infrastructural facilities? There is scope for adventure tourism and eco-tourism here and more tourist destinations can built through development of infrastructure,” he added.
Modi said he was privileged to be the first prime minister of the country who visited Jammu and Kashmir so many times.
“I am attracted by Kashmir since I have seen love of the people here. I have visited far flung areas of Kashmir when I came here in the past as a BJP worker.
“It was because of this love that when floods hit Kashmir last year I was as pained as anguished as any of you. That is why I immediately came here that time to work together with the then state government for helping the victims. I decided I should come here instead of celebrating Diwali with friends,” he said.
On economic development of the country, Modi said: “17 months back nobody could imagine of comparing Indian economic growth with that of China. Today it is said India’s economy is growing faster that that of China.”
About his campaign for transparency and against corruption the prime minister said: “I was today reading a report by an international agency, the Transparency International.
“In last 50 years, for the first time India is ranked 10 steps ahead of China in transparency and its fight against corruption. We were ranked at 95 in this list and today we are ranked at 85,” he said.
He said Rs.34,000 crore were being spent on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and hoped that within the next three years, the journey that takes 10 to 11 hours today would be completed in three to four hours.
“Not only highways, but I-ways (information ways) have to built for people of Jammu and Kashmir so that they have optic fibre connectivity and digital networking facilities.
Modi has flown to Chanderkote town in Ramban district of Jammu region where he will inaugurate a power project and also four-laning of Udhampur-Bannihal stretch of Jammu-Srinagar national highway. (IANS)