Udhampur: Observing that 40 years of violence had done no good but only brought bloodshed to Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the youth of the Valley had to choose between tourism and terrorism to shape their future.
Inaugurating the Chenani-Nashri tunnel, Modi said the country's longest tunnel would change the fortunes of the state and its economy, and asserted the Centre's commitment in boosting tourism in the state.
"I want to tell the youth of the Valley, you have two paths which can decide your fate — on one hand you have tourism, and then there is terrorism," he said.
"For the past 40 years, so many innocent lives have been lost. This has done no good to anybody but has only left the Valley bloodied. This bloodshed has not done good to anybody but has only snatched sons from their mothers," he said.
"Had these 40 years been used for developing tourism things would have been different," he said.
While some Kashmiris were busy "throwing rocks", others were cutting through mountains to bring development to Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said.
"On one side, there are those who are pelting stones, and on the other there are youth of Jammu and Kashmir who are carving a future of development for their state by cutting through rocks," Modi said.
Modi also launched an indirect attack on Pakistan, saying people on the other side of the border are not able to handle themselves.
"People sitting on the other side of the border are not able to handle themselves. We want to show the people of PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) how we develop Kashmir," he said.
Modi said the government had made every attempt to preserve the environment and the Himalayas while constructing the 9.2-km tunnel on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway.
"It's a message India has given to the world struggling with global warming," he said.
Modi congratulated the youth of Jammu and Kashmir who worked to make the tunnel a reality. "The money for this tunnel came from the government of India. But there is also the scent of sweat of Jammu and Kashmir's youth in this tunnel," he said.
He also congratulated the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government for utilising central funds for the development of the state and assured his government's continued support.
"Last year, the Centre announced a package of Rs 80,000 crore for the state, and I congratulate Mehbooba and her government for already utilising more than half of the money. Such packages often remain in paper and take years to materialise. But her government has done a commendable job," he said.
Stressing on the state's tourism potential and ability to boost the country's per capita income, Modi asked people of the Valley to work shoulder to shoulder with the government to change the fortunes of the state.
He termed the Chenani-Nashri tunnel as the Valley's "fate line" and said it will boost the economy of the state and farmers will be able to send their produce to Delhi markets promptly and without concerns of delay.
Published Date: Apr 02, 2017 19:06 PM | Updated Date: Apr 02, 2017 19:20 PM