SRI NAGAR: During his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Friday pledged to “win the hearts” of the state’s people through development initiatives.
“Jammu and Kashmir’s development is at the top of my government’s agenda. The state’s development will continue unhindered,” the Prime Minister said, while addressing a function after flagging off the 25.6-km long railway line from Katra, the base camp of the Vaisho Devi Shrine, to Udhampur.
Modi said: “J&K” has passed through a difficult time. Whether or not in power, it is our wish and responsibility to improve the quality of life of the people, nurture their aspirations, provide jobs to the youth and reach the last man in the line.”
“It is every Indian’s dream that J&K is happy and prosperous. We have to work for this,” Modi said.
“Today brings speed to Jammu and Kashmir through this rail link and energy through the inauguration of the 240 MWs Uri-II power project in Uri, North Kashmir,” he said.
The PM said he was beginning his “development journey” for the country with the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi.
“When I started my election campaign, I had taken the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi as well,” he said.
He said his government would take the efforts at development forward to establish new standards and work for the benefit of the common man.
“My objective is to win the hearts of the people, through development and through their benefit,” he said.
The Prime Minister also proposed a common development model for the Himalayan states, including Jammu and Kashmir.
“My government will work towards a common development model for Himalayan states from J&K to the Northeast,” he said.
He added that there was a need for separate policies and planning for the development of these states.
He said all the states located in the Himalayan belt had a similar set of problems.
“Unique environment-friendly infrastructure development will be promoted in the Himalayan states,” he said.
He suggested that efforts at development should be focused on the promotion and protection of the ecology of these regions.
Later, the Prime Minister inaugurated the 240-MWs Uri-II Hydro Electric Project in Uri near the LoC in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, built by the NHPC at a cost of `2,290 crore.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the power plant was signed between the Centre, the state government and the Ministry of Power during the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA regime.
“My government has laid stress on environment-friendly energy, of which hydro power is an important constituent. Renewable energy, including hydro power is fast developing as an alternative to thermal power,” Narendra Modi said while addressing a gathering on the occasion.
He said his government was committed to “dispel darkness from the country”.
“This project (Uri-II) power project was conceived during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and we have fulfilled that vision,” the PM said.
Modi said that the country has a hydropower potential of 1.5 lakh MWs, but much of it has not been harnessed so far.
“J&K has the potential of producing 13-14 thousand MWs of clean and environment-friendly energy, for which all the efforts will be channelised,” he said.
He added that power was an essential requirement for development and economic growth.