Jammu/Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said that New Delhi wants to win the hearts of people of Jammu and Kashmir through development.
Flagging off the train linking Katra, the base camp for Vaishno Devi shrine in Trikuta hills, with Udhampur town, Modi, who was on his maiden one-day visit to J and K after assuming power, said the state has gone through many “problems and difficulties and the country wants it to be prosperous and peaceful”.
Modi said the new rail link will speed up the process of development in the state.
“The journey started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be continued…our priority is to win the hearts of every citizen of this state through development,” Modi said.
Modi said the train is a gift not just for people of J and K but for the whole of India.
At the function at Katra station where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among others present, the Prime Minister refrained from touching upon any political issue facing the state.
The Prime Minister also allayed the fears of the people of Jammu, who feel that the direct rail link to Katra will have negative impact on the development of their city, saying the “development of Jammu will not be stalled.”
Modi said the government will further enhance the rail connectivity in J and K and that the Banihal rail line will be linked to the rest of the country directly.
Omar also raised the need for a Banihal link in his speech and demanded an upgraded railway station in Jammu city.
He said railways is an environment-friendly mode of transport and it will be spread in Jammu and Kashmir.
Stressing that the Himalayan states have similar problems and opportunities, he said there is a need for a “common model” of development for them.
Modi said he had come to the Mata Vasihno Devi shrine during his election campaign and “today we begin our development journey from here.”
He said six trains would be running from the Katra station to different destinations in the country and three sets of local trains would also be running from Jammu to the station.
Modi later flew to Kashmir Valley where he inaugurated the second phase of 240-MW Uri-II Hydel project which has been built by the state-run National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC).
He inaugurated the project in presence of Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and top officials of NHPC.
This is the second power project on the Jhelum river in Uri area and is located downstream of 480-MW Uri-I HEP, which is already operational. The Uri-II HEP has a concrete gravity dam which is 52-metre high and 157-metre long with four spillways of nine metres each. The 4.23-km head race tunnel carries water from the dam to the powerhouse, which has four units of 60 MW each designed to generate 1,124 million units of electricity in a year.
Modi favoured Public-Private Partnership model in power sector and described renewable sources of energy as the answer to India’s growing power needs.
He cited the success of Bhutan in developing alternative sources of power as an example which “impressed” him during his visit to the Himalayan kingdom last month.
Taking a dig at the previous UPA government, he said had the issue of establishing transmission lines been taken up by it in right earnest, the situation would have been much better now.
He also announced starting of Class XI in the local Kendriya Vidyalaya from this month following the demand of locals who met him during his visit.
“The future of a country is bright if its people demand education. I am very happy to make this announcement,” he said.