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Kashmir, Jammu people should learn from Ladakh: PM Modi

Leh, May 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday the people of Ladakh have set an example in human endeavour and urge for progress that must be followed by those living in Jammu and Kashmir regions.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of centenary birth celebrations of the Buddhist spiritual leader, KashukBakula here, Modi said: “Despite hardships and inaccessibility, Ladakhis have set up an example in endeavouring hardships and yet continuing their march of progress and development. This example will have to be followed by the people of the valley and the Jammu region.”
He said Ladakh of today was a far cry from its past when it was known just for three things “totu” (pony) “sottu” (powdered corn) and “patu” (local tweed).
“Your self-confidence has taken Ladakh to great heights from those days of backwardness. I am told today that the entrepreneurship of the women of Ladakh is an example for the rest of the country.
“With a population of just a lakh and a quarter, the people of Ladakh host two lakh tourists each year.”
The Prime Minister started his speech in Ladakhi language as the gathering exploded with applause.
“The region is not new to me. I have come here many times. When I worked for the party and visited Ladakh, my friends would ask me to bring some vegetables for them from Ladakh for the taste and purity of the local produce.
He said Ladakh was an example of “great legacy of brotherhood and peace” and connecting people of the country with each other was KushakBakula’s special attribute also known in far off Mangolia.
Modi is visiting all the three regions of the state in a single day, during which, he said, he will inaugurate projects worth Rs 25,000 crore.
The work on the Zojila tunnel — connecting Srinagar with Kargil — is starting. The tunnel will cost Rs 7809 crore.
“Zojila is not just an infrastructure project. It is going to be technological marvel.”
He said he had asked Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to ensure that the project was completed in record time.
He said the tunnel will give the region round the year connectivity with the rest of the country.
“There is no better place for solar energy development in the county than the Ladakh region. Aromatic industry is developing fast in the world. There is a shift from chemical aroma to natural aroma. This industry has a great potential here.
He promised to make a state of the art cultural centre and a digital museum for the region.
“People want a medical college here. I have taken the demand seriously and I will ask the state and the central government to explore this possibility and furnish a report on setting up a medical college.
PM Modi also unveiled plaque to commence work for Zojila tunnel to provide all- weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
The prime Minister said, “In a single day, projects worth Rs 25,000 crore will either be inaugurated or initiated in Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said, “Every resident in the state will be proud that the Centre and the state governments are working strenuously for overall development of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Prime Minister said all flood-affected people would be paid compensation and an inquiry would be held why it has not been paid so far.
The PM also announced to set up a state of art museum in Leh.
The PM said four-crore houses, which do not have electricity even after 70 years of Independence would be given connection within a year-and-a-half.
The PM is on a day-long visit to the state. He was received at the Leh Airport by Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in addition to senior civil and military officials.
Nitin Gadkari said, “Rs 45,000 crore road projects have been sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir, out of which, work on Rs 30,000 crore projects has been started.”
He said, “We have achieved more in last four years in terms of road connectivity than what was achieved in past 50 years.”
He said, “Zojila tunnel survey was difficult and the tunnel is proposed to be constructed in seven years but we will make efforts to complete it in five years.”
He said, “It will ensure all weather road connectivity to Ladakh.” He said 90 per cent locals would be employed in the project
Mehbooba Mufti said Zojila tunnel would enhance inter-regional contacts. Mehbooba asked Prime Minister to spend a few days in Ladakh The demanded international-level indoor stadiums for Leh and Kargil districts.
The Prime Minister will unveil a plaque to mark the commencement of work on the Zojila Tunnel, India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.