The prime minister inaugurated and laid foundation stone of multiple development initiatives. Prime Minister Modi visited Palli Panchayat in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. Launching new projects, PM Modi said a new story of development is being written in Jammu & Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was in Jammu today, inaugurated Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel, laid foundation stone of multiple development initiatives including hydroelectric projects, expressways worth over Rs 20,000 crore and addressed gram sabhas across the country to mark National Panchayati Raj Day. He said Jammu and Kashmir is presenting a new example of "democracy and determination" as numerous development initiatives were undertaken in the last two to three years. Visiting Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, he also said that Rs 38,000 crore of private investment has come to the union territory (UT) in the last two years, besides it witnessing a heavy flow of tourists.

Prime Minister inaugurated 500 KW solar power plant at Palli, Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel to establish all-weather connectivity between the two regions of the Union Territory. He also handed over SVAMITVA cards to various beneficiaries.

The Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel has been built at a cost of over Rs 3100 crore. The 8.45- km long tunnel would reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km, and reduce journey time by around one-and-a-half hours.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated Amrit Sarovar initiative which marks a special moment in the collective endeavours to rejuvenate water bodies and conserve every drop of water. Under this initiative, 75 water bodies will be developed and rejuvenated in each district.

He also laid foundation stone of three road packages for the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway and Ratle and Kwar Hydroelectric projects.

The 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project will be constructed on the Chenab river in the Kishtwar district at a cost of around Rs 5,300 crore.

The 540 MW Kwar Hydroelectric Project will also be built on the Chenab river in Kishtwar District at a cost of over Rs. 4500 crore. Both the projects will help meet the power requirements of the region.

Addressing gram sabhas across the country on Panchayati Raj Day, PM Modi said, "A new story of development is being written in Jammu & Kashmir. Many private investors are interested to come to J&K."

"Be it democracy or development, today Jammu and Kashmir, is setting a new example. New dimensions of development have been created in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 2-3 years. When I speak about 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat', our focus is on connectivity and bridging distances. Our aim is to provide all-weather connectivity to J&K," he added.

Modi said that his government has implemented as many as 175 central laws and the Panchayati Raj system for the UT's people who were "deprived" of these benefits when Jammu and Kashmir had special status under Article 370.

Modi was speaking in Palli village in Samba district, around 17 km from Jammu, on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day. The speech was relayed to all gram panchayats across the country.