April 2018 News

PM Modi Likely To Visit Jammu And Kashmir Next Month

7 April 2018
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir next month to lay the foundation stone for all-weather road connectivity to Ladakh region of the state. Sources said PM Modi would visit Kashmir in May to lay the foundation of series of development projects. He would be laying the foundation stone of all-weather Zojila tunnel on Srinagar-Leh highway, they said. Sources, however, said dates are being worked out. The Zojila tunnel, which would provide all-weather road connectivity to Ladakh region that remains disconnected for nearly six months during winter months, would be a two-lane bi-directional tunnel of 14.15 km length. Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 ft on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had in January this year cleared Rs 6,808.69 crores Zojila tunnel project to provide all-weather connectivity to Kargil and Leh in Ladakh. Sources said PM would also attend the convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKAUST) in Valley. They said the agriculture university has not held the annual convocations from last three years and Governor N N Vohra, who is chancellor of the university, has sent an invitation to PM to attend the convocation scheduled to be held next month. SKAUST Public Relations Officer Parvez Ahmed told New Indian Express that the convocation is in the offing. He, however, said no dates have been fixed yet. 'We are yet to receive any official communication from Governor's office about holding of convocation and PM's participation in it,' Parvez said. Source said PM may also lay the foundation of some projects to be taken under Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP). They said it is unlikely that PM would address any political rally in the State during his visit. 'If he attends the university convocation function, then he will definitely address the students. He will also address the gathering of officials after inaugurating Zojila tunnel,' they said. The visit would be Modi's second visit to Jammu and Kashmir in over a year. On April 2, 2017, he had inaugurated Chenani-Nashri tunnel in Udhampur and later addressed a public rally in Udhampur. The visit assumes significance as it would take place amid surge in militant violence and militant recruitment in Kashmir. Fourteen militants, seven civilians and three army men have been killed in militancy violence in the Valley this week. After the killing of 13 militants and four civilians in three security operations by security forces in volatile south Kashmir on Sunday last, Kashmir remained on boil for four days. Fortunately, it did not prolong and normalcy was restored.