Live: Winning the hearts of J&K is my priority, says PM Modi

11.03 am: Winning the hearts of Jammu and Kashmir is my priority, says Modi

The Prime Minister concluded by saying that it was every Indian's dream that Jammu and Kashmir is happy and that there is prosperity in the region. "We have to work for this, whether we are in power or not."

"We will continue the work started by former PM Vajpayee... Winning the hearts of the people of J&K is my priority."

10.55 am: Himalayan states will see progress, says Modi

"Today Jammu and Kashmir will get both speed and energy. I am inaugurating this and a power project later today," the Prime Minister said.

Recalling that he had begun his recently held election campaign from Vaishno Devi, Modi said even the progress of the country would begin from the same region.

The Prime Minister also said it was important to keep in mind environment concerns while planning in the Himalayan region.

"There needs to be a separate model of development for the Himalayan states. It is important to have environment friendly transport systems in the region. We should also make better use of solar energy and all railway stations should draw solar power."

10.51 am: This is not just a train, it's the mother of progress: PM

In the next ten years, Katra will see massive development, making it an important centre in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said, assuring the state "there will be no shortage or obstacle in the development of Jammu."

"The start made by Atalji of connecting Janmu and Kashmir through Railways, we have to take this ahead."

Modi also asked why the rail network in the state was lacking in development, saying railways should be even better developed than airports. "It is not impossible, it can happen and it can be economically viable as well," the PM said.

Agreeing with Omar, Modi said: "We need to improve the quality and facilities at our railway stations. I'm sure private players will be open to investing in it."

10.45 am: New facility will help devotees across the country, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir for helping the project see the light of day and said the new facility will not only be beneficial to Kashmiris but to all who want to visit the state.

"On one side Amarnath yatra is on, on the other there is Ramzan being observed and on the third at the feet of Mata Vaishnoo Devi is a new facility for devotees to connect," Modi said, adding that the train should be called 'Sreeshakti Express'.

10.35 am: Must thank Vajpayee for the rail link, says Omar

Speaking at the inauguration of the Katra rail link, Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah said a railway line in Kashmir was always a dream and now it has been fulfilled. He also said it was important to thank former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee who granted the project national status therbey providing it with sufficient funds.

"Vajpayee gave the project national status and helped it progress faster... we must also thank former PM Manmohan Singh for helping us take the project further."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Katra-Udhampur-New Delhi Vaishno Devi Express at Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.

Adullah also requested Railway Minister Gowda to speed-up the process of providing Kashmir city with a new modern station as it was the need of the hour.

He also appealed to Jammu residents not to fear that the projects in their region will go the Pathanpur way, saying the government will provide all necessary support to see progress in the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

This is Modi's first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since he became the prime minister on 26 May, which bitterly opposes special status for Kashmir.

The rail link to Katra, which is the base camp for devotees walking to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, is expected to make the pilgrims' journey easier.

According to CNN-IBN, it took 12 years and Rs 1090 crores to build the rail link. The construction was done in four phases. The entire railway line is 25 km long. With 10 tunnels along the way, the rail link has 10.9 km of tunnelling. It has 36 small and big bridges, with one of the bridges having the highest pier height in the country.

Meanwhile, senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmad Shah have been placed under house arrest in Srinagar.

Separatists have called for a protest shutdown in the Valley to coincide with the prime minister's visit.

You can watch the event live below


Updated Date: Jul 04, 2014 11:12 AM

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