PM inaugurates India's longest road tunnel in J&K

Exhorts valley youths to choose tourism over terrorism
Report by: 
Agencies
Udhampur (J&K)
2 Apr 2017

Sending out a message to the misguided youth of Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said "40 years of bloodshed" has not benefitted anyone and that they should choose tourism over terrorism to ensure the state's development and well-being. 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 country's longest road tunnel between Kashmir and Jammu, used the occasion to tell the stone-pelters of the valley that 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. The message was clearly for the youth who are indulge in stone-pelting in the Kashmir valley and thus risk their lives. "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. Earlier, Prime Minister today inaugurated the country's longest road tunnel that links Kashmir Valley with Jammu by an all-weather route and reduces the distance by 31 kms. The 9-km long 'Chenani Nashri Tunnel', built at the cost of Rs 2,500 crore, was dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister here in presence of Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. After the inauguration, Modi, along with Vohra and Mehbooba, travelled in an open jeep through the tunnel for some distance. The Prime Minister, the Governor and the Chief Minister then posed for a photograph with the engineers who were involved in construction of the tunnel. The tunnel, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches, will reduce the journey time by two hours and provide a safe, all- weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar. The estimated value of daily fuel savings will be to the tune of Rs 27 lakh, according to the PMO. The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The key features of the tunnel are that it is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35-metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with 'Cross Passages' connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres. It also has smart features such as an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.(PTI)