My dear brothers and sisters,
There are a lot of old faces here. Our Chamanlal Ji is here. It is a very important day today for Jammu & Kashmir. This is my fourth public programme in the state. Since morning, I have been witnessing a flow of development from the high mountains of Leh-Laddakh to the valley of Kashmir and now at the foothills of Jammu. And because of these programmes I got late and could not arrive here in time. I seek your forgiveness for this.
Be it is the Zojila Tunnel that connects the rest of India with Leh or Kishan Ganga project in Bandipora or the Hydro Power Project that is coming up on Chinab river in Kishtwar region. All this open up a new door for the happiness for Jammu & Kashmir. The rivers flowing through the state are going to give momentum to the development of this region. Dedicating one hydro power project to the nation and laying foundation for another, this has made today a very unique and memorable day.
Just a while ago, I got the opportunity to dedicate or lay the foundation for 4 big infrastructure related projects for Jammu. Two of them are dedicated to the Divine Mother Vaishno Devi. The foundation stone for Pakal Dul project has been laid here just a while ago. You can understand that how beneficial it is going to be for the state from the fact that it is going to produce equivalent to one third of the electricity which is now being produced in the state in a day,
This project has been constructed under the Prime Minister’s Development Programme. This one thousand megawatt capacity project is ready for launch. This scheme with the investment of Rs. 8,000 crore is going to create several opportunities for employment at this place. It will provide direct employment to nearly 2,500 people. In addition, there will be vegetable producers, there will be milk suppliers here; it is going to give a new opportunity for generating income to the people who do any kind of work.
Friends, our government has been working with a new approach towards the development of the country and this approach is: from isolation to integration. It means those areas of the country which were isolated some reason, where the light of development had not reached so far, now priority is being given to those areas. And this is the reason, be it North-East or Jammu & Kashmir I will try to be there myself. I don’t know whether any Prime Minister has got such opportunity earlier or not, but, perhaps, I have come to Jammu & Kashmir for more than a dozen times as a Prime Minister in addition to political visits. It’s true that you took care of me during the earlier days. In a way you have raised me. We have been working on the formula of: development through connectivity. Be it connectivity through roads or be it connecting the hearts, no stone is being left unturned at any level. Every such step is being taken for the development of Jammu & Kashmir which has the strength of converting this state in to a rising star of a New India. Let’s imagine the map of India when the crown jewel of India will shine like a crown made of diamonds and this sparkle will show the path of development to rest of the country.
Brothers and sisters, central government has been working along with the state government to accomplish this task and we have been taking forward the schemes and implementing them on the ground. Only a while ago, the foundation stone for the ring road was laid and this would solve the problem of traffic jams of the city of Jammu as well as of this place. The effort will be made to complete the project in the next three years. When this ring road will be ready it will bring in a. lot of facilities to all of you, the inhabitants of Jammu and also to millions of tourists who come here. And you will see, this 50 kilometers long ring road will develop a new Jammu. A new Jammu on the either sides of this road. I can see it very clearly what kind of development, what kind of expansion will be there. It will certainly reduce the traffic jam within and nearby areas of Jammu city, not only this, the ring road will also make it very easy to transport the heavy machinery through military vehicles in strategic and border areas of Punchch, Rajouri, Naushera and Akhnoor.
Friends, your city Jammu has been selected under the Smart City Mission. Smart systems have been developed here regarding traffic to sewage management. The state government has been engaged in this work. The fund for this work has already been approved by the central government.
Brothers and sisters, for development, our entire focus is on infrastructure – be it highways or railways or waterways or i-ways or roadways, all these are compulsory things for the 21stcentury.
The government’s thinking is very clear that if we need to raise the standard of living of 1.25 billion countrymen then we will have to first make it easy and convenient for them. In other words, you can call them - smart systems. And it is the outcome of this thinking that a network of highways have been developed at a rapid pace across country under the Bharat Mala project.
Be it Jammu & Kashmir or Western India or North East, this is the project to connect the country with a network of highways. In this year’s budget, more than Rs. 5,000 crore has been allocated for construction of 35,000 kilometers long road under this project. More than Rs. 2,700 crores will be spent in Jammu & Kashmir under this project.
Brothers and sisters, the work on several highway projects has been going on in Jammu & Kashmir too. Several schemes worth thousands of crores of rupees for connecting Jammu to Srinagar and other parts of the country have already been completed. And the work has been taking place at a fast speed on some other schemes. Today, the work is going on several highway projects like Jammu-Punch, Udhampur-Ramban, Ramban-Banihal, Srinagar-Banihal and Kazigund-Banihal, and these projects are going to be proved lifeline for this region. Nearly, Rs. 15,000crore will be spent on these roads. In addition to this, the villages have been connected under the Prime Minister Rural Road Scheme. In the last two years, nearly one lakh kilometers long rural roads have been constructed under this scheme. In the last two years, more than 3,500 kilometers long rural roads have been constructed in the villages of Jammu & Kashmir.
Friends, tourism is a big source of revenue for Jammu & Kashmir, particularly those places which are related to religious faith be it Baba Barfani (Lord Shiva) or Darbar of Mata Rani (Divine Mother Vaishno Devi), millions of tourists come to visit these shrines. The government has been making several efforts so that the pilgrims full of devotion should get the facilities and also the employment opportunities are generated for local people.
Today, the train service has reached the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra. I had got the opportunity to publicly dedicate this rail route immediately after becoming the Prime Minister. This rail route has provided a lot of convenience to the devotees of mother goddess. We don’t want to stop at this only and this is the reason that two big projects have been inaugurated today. The first one is another route for visiting the shrine of mother goddess and the other one is for supplying goods to the shrine of the mother goddess through a ropeway.
Friends, now the devotees can reach to the shrine of divine mother Vaishno Devi through Tarakota route. This is an optional route for devotees who walk on feet between Katra and Ardh Kunwari. This will also provide them freedom from crowd. And I have been told that this route will also be connected through a one and a half kilometers long link road to the existing pedestrian’s path. So that the devotees can use either of the pedestrian’s path to reach up to the temple. This is completely safe and secure path for the devotees of the mother goddess where every arrangements have been made to provide them every facility.
Friends, in addition to this alternative route, today, I also got the good opportunity to inaugurate a material ropeway leading up to the doors of the abode of the mother goddess. Carriage of goods will become much more easier because of this material ropeway. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board will be able to make arrangements for providing food facilities to devotees with ease by utilising these unique facilities. This ropeway is also going to provide a great help in disposal of waste material around the temple. The goods will be supplied from Katra to the temple and the waste material will be brought back in the return journey.
Friends, this kind of facility is also being developed for the devotees on the lines of material ropeway. Bhairon Ghati Bhawan, which is being built at the cost of Rs. 60 crore, is going to be completed very soon. This ropeway will have the capacity to ferry 800 people per hour. It is going to be extremely helpful for old and physically handicapped devotees. When this ropeway will become fully functional then it will carry 40-45 people within three minutes. This ropeway system will have an automated ticketing system on the lines of Delhi Metro. I congratulate Mr. Chairman and his entire team for the way the Shrine Board has been working to provide more facilities to the devotees.
Brothers and sisters, infrastructure development in Jammu & Kashmir will lead to tourism and tourism will lead to employment generation. However, education and skill development play an important role in employment. Central government has approved setting up of big institutions in the field of education in the state. Whether it is IIM or IIT that are going to be constructed in Jammu, these institutions are going to become a milestone in the development of the state. In addition to this, the scholarships have been provided to the students of Jammu & Kashmir for completing their education in the reputed universities and colleges of the country.
Brothers and sisters, women empowerment has been a priority for the government. Several schemes for providing financial and social power to women have been launched in the last four years. Nearly 9.5 crore women entrepreneurs of the country have obtained loans for their small businesses without any bank guarantee. More than 50 lakh women of state of Jammu & Kashmir are among them. On the other hand, the government has been working towards providing smoke free kitchen to poor mothers and sisters of the country under the Ujjwala scheme. Clean cooking – this scheme has been proving to be specially beneficial to mothers and sisters from the villages, be it Dalits, oppressed or backwards it has been beneficial to all the mothers and sisters belonging to all these communities. While more than 4 crore LPG connections have been provided free of cost in the country, the Ujjwala scheme has reached the kitchen of more than 4 lakh mothers and sisters in Jammu & Kashmir.
Friends, under the Clean India Mission, a movement to rid the country of open defecation has been launched. This is not just related to cleanliness but it is also an issue of honour of women. The country and the world have seen how much aware the mothers and sisters of Jammu & Kashmir have been about this movement. I myself saw an 87 year old lady constructing a toilet in Udhampur. She did not take anybody’s help, there was just one passion to join this cleanliness mission.
Friends, when this kind of efforts are made then the courage and conviction increase by several times. At some place, five year old girls are joining in this movement and somewhere else 87 year old mother is joining this movement. The depth of the feeling towards cleanliness and dignity can be gauged from this fact only. And this is the reason that the coverage of rural cleanliness has gone beyond 80 per cent. Under this scheme, toilets in more than 8.5 lakh houses have been constructed in Jammu & Kashmir too.
Friends, financial and social empowerment of women will be incomplete till the time attention is not paid to their skill development. This is the reason that several efforts have been made for the development of skills of women of Jammu & Kashmir. Nearly 5,000women have been provided training for the trade related to handicrafts, tailoring and agriculture.
Brothers and sisters, when I came here two years ago then I had made an appeal to the youth of this place, to all of you to take maximum advantage of the schemes run by the government. Today, I am happy to inform that the youth of this place had taken maximum advantage of these schemes. More than 20 lakh people have opened their bank accounts in the state under the Prime Minister Jan Dhan scheme. And nearly 8,00 crore rupees have been deposited in these accounts; I am only talking about Jammu &Kashmir. More than 40 thousand of my brother and sister workers of the state working in the un-organised sector have joined in the Atal Pension scheme which was formulated for them. More than 9 lakh people of the state have joined those two schemes with low premium which are being run by the government. And a claim amount of nearly Rs. 3 crore has already been disbursed under these schemes.
Friends, the youth of this area has always been ahead in joining in the armed forces. As per the tradition, a lot of avenues have been provided to the youth of the state to join in the armed forces. More than 20,000 people have been recruited in the army, central armed forces, police forces and India Reserve Battalions under the special recruitment drives.
Friends, this is the land of Dogras, this is the land of braves. This place has both valour and patience, it also has sweet music as well. While it has fragrance coming from Basmati rice fields yet it also has potential for modern factories. Our determination is steadfast and our path is correct too. I have no doubt that with the blessings of divine mother Vaishno Devi and the hard work done by you people, this state shall scale the new heights of development and it shall certainly achieve success.