Indian PM Modi inaugurates Chenani-Nashri tunnel; says Kashmir's youth have two paths - tourism or terrorism


NEW DELHI, Apr. 2: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi today championed the newly-inaugurated Chenani-Nashri tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir as a symbol of development which will ensure the progress of the state in social and economic spheres.

"This is not merely a long tunnel. It is a giant leap in terms of development and progress for the people of Jammu and Kashmir ," PM Modi said at a public meeting in Udhampur.

Calling the 9.2-km long all-weather tunnel as "world class" and matching global standards, PM Modi advocated the environment-friendly aspects of the Chenani-Nashri tube. He said every attempt to preserve the environment and the Himalayas was made while building the tunnel.

He also praised those involved in the tunnel's construction, particularly the Kashmiri youths who toiled in realising the multi-crore project.

"Youth of Jammu and Kashmir worked very hard in the making of the Chenani-Nashri tunnel. I congratulate them for this. 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," PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister then took a serious view of the reports of stone pelting by Kashmiri youths and told them that they had two paths open to them - one of tourism and the other of terrorism.

"On one hand, some misguided youngsters are pelting stones. On the other hand, hardworking Kashmiri youth are using the same stones for nation-building. The path of bloodshed has not helped any one and will never help anyone," Indian PM Modi said.

He added that the tunnel will boost tourism in the state, which had come to a virtual standstill due to the recent increase in extremism in the Kashmir Valley.

"Another advantage of this tunnel is that tourists will benefit due to this. Every Indian wants to see Jammu and Kashmir. The beauty of this land can draw so many people. Tourism will also bring economic growth," he vouched.

The Prime Minister said that as history is witness, unrest in the state is detrimental to its development.

"During the last 40 years, many innocent people lost their lives. But who did this benefit? If there had been greater focus on developing tourism and infrastructure, then people from all over the world would have been streaming to the Kashmir valley," PM Modi said. 

He said his government was committed to ensure fast-paced development of Jammu and Kashmir, which would also tell the people living under "occupation" in the other parts of the state how they are being destroyed.

Earlier today, the Indian Prime Minister inaugurated the Chenani-Nashri tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in the presence of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and governor N N Vohra. 

Built over a period of five years and traversing the treacherous Himalayan terrain, the tube is being touted as the longest road tunnel in the country. It will reduce the journey time by two hours and provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.(TOI)


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