SRINAGAR: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he wants to win the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris, adding that the will of ex-Indian PM Attal Behai Vajpayee for linking Kashmir with India would be fulfilled.
The Prime Minister flagged off the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) which had school children aboard at around 9.55am on Friday from Katra Railway station to Udhampur.
In the next ten years Katra will become the fulcrum of economic development in Jammu & Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday after he flagged off the inaugural train from Katra in Jammu, the base camp for Vaishno Devi shrine.
Suggesting the name Shreeshakti Express for the train, Narendra Modi said the train is a gift not just for people of J&K but for the whole of India.
“This rail connectivity will provide speed to J&K and the power project will provide energy to the state,” PM said referring to the two inaugurations. “Development of J&K is the desire of all Indians and the government will do everything to achieve it,” Modi said.
Prime Minister also assured that the development of Jammu will not be neglected. We will take forward the journey of development started by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said.
Earlier, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the new rail link and said that it will help the pilgrims to Vaishno Devi.
Katra-Udhampur rail line is around 25 kilometres long and consists of the 9.4 kilometres long Udhampur-Chak Rakhwal and 15.5 kilometers long Chak Rakhwal-Mata Vaishno Devi Katra sections.
The approximate cost of this section is Rs 1,132 crore. The bridge on River Jhajjar is the longest steel girder bridge in India with a height of 85 metres. There are 8 tunnels and 29 minor bridges on Udhampur-Katra track.
Meanwhile, authorities on Friday imposed restrictions in parts of the city to prevent any law and order situation in view of the separatists’ strike call against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, M R Gunj and Safakadal police station areas of the city as a precautionary measure, a senior police official said.
Elsewhere in the city, police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in strength to ensure that Modi’s visit passes off peacefully, the official said.
Meanwhile, normal life across the valley was disrupted due to the strike call given by all the three factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF against Modi’s visit.
Schools, colleges, business establishments, banks and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport remained off the roads due to the strike.
However, few private cars and cabs ferrying tourists could be seen plying on the roads in the city.
The Indian Prime Minister addressed Army officers and jawans at a ‘Sainik Sammelan’ and attended security review meeting. Modi laid a floral wreath at the War Memorial at the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the Army in Badami Bagh Cantonment.