UDHAMPUR: Expressing anguish at the death of Kashmiris during violent clashes with security forces, PM Narendra Modi reached out to the valley’s youth on Sunday, saying they must choose between tourism and terrorism.
“So many mothers of Kashmir have lost their sons. But it’s equally our loss,” the PM said at Battal Ballian town in Udhampur district.
Inaugurating the 9.2km Chenani-Nashri tunnel+ , the PM said, “On one side, misguided youths are throwing stones, and on the other youths are breaking stones to build Kashmir’s future.” The road tunnel is India’s longest and will reduce driving time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours.
“I want to tell the people of Kashmir that they have two roads in front of them: of tourism and terrorism. For the last 40 years, much blood has been spilled, but nothing has been achieved. It’s the mothers who’ve lost their sons. If tourism had been the focus, Kashmir would have been hub of tourists,” Modi said while inaugurating India’s longest road tunnel — 9.2km Chenani-Nashri tunnel — on Sunday. “I want to show the people of POK how J&K can develop.
Let the POK people see development, so that they know the exploitation that they have suffered from those controlling them,” Modi said.
The PM said, “This tunnel will not only shorten the distance between Srinagar and Jammu but is a big leap of development.” It will, he said, preserve the ecology of the Himalayas and benefit farmers who can sell their crops to markets in other states without delay caused by the blockade of the highway due to landslides.
The tunnel+ is the country’s first and the world’s sixth to have “transverse ventilation system”, providing fresh air to commuters.
“Now, there are no more troubles and worries about tourists. They can visit the valley without worrying about accidents,” Modi said. With Modi, on stage were governor NN Vohra, CM Mehbooba Mufti, and ministers Nitin Gadkari and Jitendra Singh.