Inaugurates Chenani-Nashri tunnel, invokes Vajpayee slogan again
Udhampur: Prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said “40 years of bloodshed” has not benefitted anyone and asked Kashmiri youth to “choose tourism over terrorism” for the state’s development.
He again invoked former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s slogan of ‘Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat (Kashmirism, democracy and humanity)’ and said this “prime motto” will be used for taking the state to “new heights of development and no obstacle can stop us”.
Modi, who was on a brief visit here to inaugurate the India’s longest road tunnel between Kashmir and Jammu, apparently referring to stone-throwers, said “stones can be used for better purposes — building infrastructure”.
Addressing a rally here, he told the Kashmiri youth that if they ignore the “invaluable tradition of sufi culture”, they would “lose the present and put your future into darkness”.
In a veiled manner, the Prime Minister also hit out at the rulers of Pakistan who are eyeing Kashmir, saying “they can’t even take care of themselves”.
He said his government was committed to ensure fast-paced development of Jammu and Kashmir, which would “also tell the people living under occupation in the other parts of the state” how they are being destroyed.
At the event attended by Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and some union and state ministers, Modi promised to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the development of Jammu and Kashmir and sought the cooperation of the people in this regard.
“I want to tell the misguided youth of Kashmir valley, realise the power of a stone. On one hand, there are some misguided youth who pelt stones, on the other hand, there are youth from the same Kashmir who carve stones to build infrastructure,” he said.
“I want to tell the Kashmiri youth, there are two paths in front of you which can determine your future — one is tourism, the other is terrorism,” he said.
“Over last 40 years, there has been lot of bloodshed. My own valley has been blood-soaked, my Kashmir’s beloved youth, my Hindustan’s beloved youth. Nobody has benefitted from this bloodshed,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
He said if the people of Kashmir had devoted the same 40 years to development of tourism, the valley would have been blessed with tourism of world class.
Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said that Rs 7000 crore will be invested in highways projects in Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years. He said a ring road will be built around Jammu at a cost of Rs 2100 crores and another one around Srinagar at a cost of Rs 2200 crores.
Chenani-Nashri tunnel is Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel. Built at an elevation of 1200 metres on one of the most difficult Himalayan terrains, the tunnel will cut the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours, bypassing about 41 kms of road length. It will also ensure an all weather passage on a route that often sees heavy traffic jams and disruptions due to landslides, snow, sharp curves, breakdown of vehicles and accidents.
The tunnel is a part of the 286-km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The structure consists of a 9 km long, two-laned main tunnel with a parallel escape tunnel of same length.