Srinagar: Four Union ministers visited different parts of Kashmir Wednesday as part of the Narendra Modi government’s outreach programme in J&K and promised to bring positivity, Bollywood and high-speed internet to the region.
The ministers also promised to protect the land rights of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, an issue that has been a major cause of concern after the government scrapped Article 370 and Article 35A, a law that barred non-residents from buying properties in J&K, in August last year.
The ministers — Nityanand Rai and G. Kishan Reddy (MoS, Home Affairs), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (Law Minister) — inaugurated several projects, including high schools, girls hostels, and bridges, and spoke at various functions organised by the J&K administration.
The visits are part of the Modi government’s plan to send 36 union ministers to J&K to spread awareness about the positive impact of its Article 370 move and the development measures taken by the government for the region.
Naqvi arrived in the Valley Tuesday and continued his interaction with residents in Srinagar Wednesday too. Rai, who arrived Wednesday, visited Budgam district, while, Prasad visited Srinagar. Reddy, who also came Wednesday, visited Ganderbal district in the Valley.
The functions that the ministers attended mostly consisted of J&K administration officials, sarpanches, panches, block developmental chairpersons and party workers.
‘New morning’ for J&K people under Modi govt: Prasad
Law Minister Prasad, who was speaking at a function at the General Post office in Srinagar, after inaugurating an all-women post office, said, “We will provide high-speed internet to more than 4,000 villages in J&K through optical fiber (technology) for which tenders have already been prepared.”
He also promised a “new morning” for the people of J&K under the Modi government.
On restoration of the internet, the minister, speaking to the media after the function, said the local administration will take a decision on it.
“Resumption of the internet is a dynamic process. Local administration will make a decision about it (restoration) accordingly,” he said.
The internet was shut down in the erstwhile state as part of a communication blackout enforced by the central government a day ahead of the Article 370 move on 4 August.
‘Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan to be back in Kashmir to shoot films’
Naqvi, in his brief interaction with the media, said: “We are here to spread positivity for the people and create a strong environment for change.” He also interacted with shopkeepers at Lal Chowk.
Speaking at a function in Ganderbal, Reddy promised to bring Bollywood to Kashmir.
“When I was a child, I used to switch on the television and see Sharmila Tagore and Dilip Kumar in Kashmir. Now I don’t see Kashmir in movies. With Modi’s government’s efforts, megastars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan will be back in Kashmir to shoot their films,” he said.
Rai attended a function in Budgam district where he described secularism as a “unique strength of the country” and also promised to protect the land rights of the people.
“All citizens have the responsibility to strengthen it (secularism) and make good out of it. The present dispensation is committed to protecting the rights and land of the people,” Rai was quoted as saying, in a statement issued by the J&K administration.