Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar power transmission line, at Leh. This 245 km long transmission line will be built at a cost of Rs. 1788 crore. Shri Narendra Modi also dedicated to the nation the 45 MW installed capacity Nimmo Bazgo hydroelectric power project on the River Indus.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said these projects will connect Ladakh, and the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the other parts of the country through energy. Addressing the large number of people gathered at the venue, the Prime Minister said these timeless peaks of Ladakh would have witnessed such a mammoth gathering of people after a very long time.
He said he is well-acquainted with the love, affection and strength of the people of Ladakh. He said he would return the love that the people of Ladakh have showered on him over the years, now that he has a chance to serve them as the Prime Minister. This would enable Ladakh to join the mainstream of national development.
He said there was a time when Prime Ministers would not visit the state for several years. "But I have come here twice in two months - it is your love which draws me here."
He said "prakash (energy), paryavaran (environment) aur paryatan (tourism)" of Ladakh are such a strength that not just Jammu and Kashmir - the entire nation will benefit from it. Energy (prakash) from here will dispel darkness, save the environment and help attract tourism.
The Prime Minister said the Ladakh has tremendous potential for solar energy and his Government is committed to developing a solar energy park here. He said Ladakh would soon produce all its energy needs. (swayam prakashit roshni). Stating that in the past, there was an issue between the Centre and State governments over a sum of Rs. 60 crore, for the solar project, the Prime Minister announced a waiver for this amount.
Stressing on infrastructure for the nation`s development, the Prime Minister said he wants to connect all parts of the country through rail, road, telephone, power. He said his idea of development was to bring about a change in the lives of common people.
Talking of the development strategy of Himalayan states, he said the natural resources of this area can help build a development model for the entire country. The Government is committed to boosting tourism in all parts of the country including Jammu and Kashmir.
He said a series of announcements for development of the Himalayan states have been made in the budget. These include organic farming - for which we will provide a global market. This will boost the incomes of farmers in rural areas.
A research institute for conservation of the natural and environmental resources of the Himalayas would be established.
He said saffron cultivation would be given a big boost in the state. A new unit for saffron will be established in Spices Development Board for this purpose.
Saying Pashmina is the pride of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister said a special scheme will be launched to enhance the skill of Pashmina producers and craftsmen.
The Prime Minister said 4 important road projects were conceived for the state in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s tenure. However, these projects witnessed cost escalation, which neither the Centre nor the State was willing to bear. He announced an additional funding of Rs. 8000 crore from the Centre, for these projects.
He said his Government is committed to providing power and water, not just for industries, but also to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people, and help in skill development of the youth. In this context he said, there is no dearth of funds for development, but a lot of funds are lost in corruption. Therefore, he said, his Government would fight corruption with full force.
The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Shri N.N. Vohra, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Shri Omar Abdullah, the MoS(i/c) for Power, Shri Piyush Goyal, were present on the occasion.