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Centre to aid J&K in developing tourism: PM

Leh, June 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the Centre would make all-out efforts for the development of the state, including development of infrastructure and promotion of tourism.

Addressing a function here where he renamed the Leh airport as Kushok Bakula Rimpoche airport, the Prime Minister said, “Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh will be beneficiary of the process” of modernisation of the infrastructure across the country. Kushok Rimpoche was the architect of modern Ladakh.

On his arrival, Dr Manmohan Singh was received at the airport by the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and the Governor, Lieut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd). The function was attended among others by state Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma.

“Whatever obstacles there are (in the way of tourism) — whether these are air connectivity or other obstacles — I can assure you that the Centre will work with the state government earnestly to realise the full potential,” said Dr Manmohan Singh who arrived on a three-day visit of the state.

During his stay, the Prime Minister will inaugurate two hydel power projects, address the Army jawans posted here and at Siachen glacier and a public meeting here.

The Prime Minister said, “From the islands of the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayan mountains, we will invest in the modernisation of our airports, railways, roads, ports, waterways and telecom infrastructure. This will ensure emotional and economic integration of our country,” the Prime Minister said.

Dr Manmohan Singh said, “Expansion of education and healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir is very dear to me." He said the Centre would also invest in the development of social infrastructure, better schools and hospitals and urban facilities in the state. The Prime Minister hoped that modernisation of the Leh airport would bring more tourists, investors, scholars and men of peace and paety to this remote but most beautiful corner of India. “I hope it opens the gateway of prosperity for this region.”

The Prime Minister said Bakula Rimpoche was a widely known, unique Lama of great talent and exceptional gifts. He was revered for his erudition, his dedication to education of a new generation of monks and nuns, his gentle humility and profound wisdom and compassion.

Dr Manmohan Singh will be the first Prime Minister to visit the Siachen Glacier, the scene of frequent exchange of fire between the troops of India and Pakistan until the two countries declared a ceasefire along the Line of Control in 2003. Tomorrow he will address a public meeting at the Polo ground here where he will announce the Neemo power project. He will also address the troops in Leh later in the day.

On Sunday, he will address the troops posted at the base camp at Siachen and make an aerial survey of the forward areas before returning to the Capital.

Dr Manmohan Singh will also lay the foundation stone of a power project at Kargil tomorrow and address the troops posted on the glacier on Sunday to boost their morale.

The proposed 45-MW Nimoo Bazgo project in Leh is a run-of- the-river scheme located on the Indus. The project site is located near Alchi village and is about 70 km from Leh by road. The construction of the Rs 631.72 crore project will be completed in 48 months after sanction.

The second project in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district, also in the Ladakh region, will have a generation capacity of 44 MW. This project is also a run-of-the-river scheme located on river Suru. The powerhouse will be located near Chutak village, which is 9 km from Kargil. The Prime Minister’s visit comes in the wake of Defence Secretary-level talks in Islamabad last week on the contentious Siachen and Sir Creek issues. — UNI

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