Thousands of elected rural representatives from across J&K made their way to Palli panchayat in the frontier district of Jammu’s Samba, where PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the nation on Panchayati Raj Diwas on Sunday and launch development projects amounting to more than Rs 20,000 crore for the Union territory.
Security along the routes and at the venue is tight and travellers passed through several checkpoints as authorities ring-fenced the area to thwart any attempt by terrorists to sabotage the event, which will be the PM’s first general public function in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Over 30,000 members of J&K’s rural bodies are expected to attend the event and hear PM Modi’s address to gram sabhas. The PMO said in a statement that Modi will launch Amrit Sarovar — a new initiative to develop and rejuvenate 75 water bodies in every district of India.
Among projects in J&K, the PM will inaugurate the Rs 3,100 crore Banihal-Qazigund twin-tube road tunnel — all of 8. 45km — that will cut the distance between Srinagar and Jammu by 16 km and travel time by 90 minutes. He will also lay the foundation of three road projects of the Rs 7,500 crore Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway. The PM is scheduled to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for multicrore industrial projects and lay the foundation of several more public welfare schemes. He will interact with a delegation of one dozen investors from UAE, who have arrived in Srinagar and are likely to attend the event.
Modi’s visit, according to the PMO, would focus on bringing wide-ranging reforms to improve governance and enhance ease of living for the people of the region.
Ahead of the PM’s visit, authorities arranged transport to ferry the public representatives to Samba.
Members are excited, said J&K Panchayat Conference chairman Shafiq Mir, because panchayats pivot “our democracy and connect the common people with the higher echelons of power”.
Mir said J&K’s rural representatives would request the PM to consider building a memorial for panchayat members killed by terrorists since 2011.
A day before PM Narendra Modi’s visit to J&K, lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday approved raise in minimum wages of daily wagers, including casual labourers, in all government departments, from existing Rs 225 per day to Rs 300 per day, reports Sanjay Khajuria. The administration clarified it was being done as an interim measure till the minimum wage rates are revised by the labour and employment department, which may take around three months.