Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today hold his first public event in Jammu and Kashmir, over two years after the centre scrapped special status to the state and divided it into two Union Territories.
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Tight security is being put in place for PM Modi’s visit. A big welcome is expected in Palli, with tens of thousands waiting to welcome him at an event organised by the BJP in Jammu region.
PM Modi will preside over a ceremony to mark Panchayati Raj — a day that commemorates grassroots democracy.
Today’s event will see PM Modi lead the region “into a new era of development”, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told reporters.
Today’s event would be PM Modi’s first formal public appearance in Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019, although PM Modi has made informal visits to celebrate festivals with troops stationed along the Line of Control.
The Prime Minister will inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of development projects worth over Rs 20,000 crore, including the opening of Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel for all-weather connectivity between the two regions of the Union Territory.
He will celebrate National Panchayati Raj Day and address gram sabhas across the country, the Prime Minister’s Office, or PMO, said in a statement.
Seeking to develop and rejuvenate 75 water bodies in every district of the country, PM Modi will launch an initiative named ‘Amrit Sarovar’, the PMO said.
The Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel, built at a cost of over Rs 3,100 crore, is 8.45-km-long and it will reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km, and cut travel time by around one-and-a-half hours.
It is a twin-tube tunnel, one for each direction of travel, and the tubes are interconnected by a cross passage every 500 metres for maintenance and emergency evacuation.
Among other projects, PM Modi will lay the foundation stone of Ratle and Kwar hydroelectric projects, a 850 megawatt facility to be constructed on the Chenab river in Kishtwar at a cost of around Rs 5,300 crore. He will also lay the foundation stone for the 540 megawatt Kwar hydroelectric project, to be build on the same river at a cost of over Rs 4,500 crore. Interestingly, it’s second time foundation stone of Ratle project is being laid. In 2013, then PM Manmohan Singh had laid foundation stone of the project.