At Kishtwar, Jitendra says Modi gave Gujjar community priority, status, dignity

Jammu,  Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and BJP Candidate for Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency on Tuesday said that while Congress led governments in the past exploited the Gujjar community for their vote bank interests, it is for the first time after independence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the Gujjar community in Jammu and Kashmir priority along with political status by providing political reservation for contesting elections and also given them dignity by holding them in the same esteem as any other section of the society.

Addressing a public rally in the remote hilly region of Mughal Maidan on the banks of river Chenab in district Kishtwar, Dr Singh said, he was touched by the large number of women and members of the Gujjar community who had added jest and colour to this programme.

While the earlier Congress governments had discarded the Gujjar community and left them to fend for themselves and lead a life of homelessness, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is Prime Minister Modi who came up with the sensitive idea of providing a pukka / concrete house to every household regardless of caste, creed or religion. As a result, many Gujjar families which earlier lived in makeshift shelters today own a house of their own.

As for the entire region of Kishtwar is concerned, Dr Jitendra Singh said, from a neglected remote area, it has emerged as North India’s power hub and has undergone amazing transformation in the last 10 years which is to be seen to be believed.

Dr Singh said today that Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar is all set to emerge North India’s major “power hub” generating around 6,000 MW of power after the completion of the ongoing power projects.

During his address and later speaking to the media, Dr Jitendra Singh said that 6 to 7 major Hydro power projects have come in the region in a short span of 9 to 10 years ever since Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister.

Elaborating on this, he pointed out that the largest capacity project is Pakal Dul with a capacity of 1000 MW. Its estimated cost, as of now, is Rs.8,112.12 crore and expected timeline of competition is 2025.

Another major project is Kiru Hydroelectric project with a capacity of 624 MW. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 4,285.59 crore and the timeline in this case is also 2025, he said.

The Minister further informed that at the same time, 850 MW Ratle project has been revived as a joint venture between the centre and UT of J&K.

In addition, the existing Dulhasti power station has an installed capacity of 390 MW, while Dulhasti II Hydroelectric project will have a capacity of 260 MW, he added.

Dr Singh said these projects shall not only augment the power supply position thereby making up for the shortage of power supply in the UT of J&K , but the huge investment being made for construction of these projects is also a boost for direct as well as indirect opportunities for the local people.

For six long decades, said Dr Jitendra Singh, the successive governments at the Centre and the State had ignored Kishtwar region because of their vote bank politics. It was only after Prime Minister Modi took over that he changed the work culture and ensured that all neglected regions would be given their due attention and priority so that they may also rise to the same level.

For example, he said, for several years, people here had been agitating and demanding a Degree college for Paddar but Congress and National Conference governments deliberately ignored this demand. It was only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in 2014 that a Degree college was sanctioned for Paddar under Centre’s scheme RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan).

Citing another example, Dr Singh said that before 2014, road travel to Kishtwar was cumbersome and on the slightest landside, the Doda-Kishtwar road got blocked. But today, the road travel time from Jammu to Kishtwar has reduced from over 7 hours in 2014 to less than 5 hours now. Similarly, he said, during these 9 years, Kishtwar has come up on the Aviation Map of India and has been sanctioned an airport under Centre’s UDAAN Scheme, which nobody had ever imagined.

Similarly, Dr Singh said, three new national highways including Khilani-Sudhmahadev Highway, a series of Degree Colleges, mobile towers enroute Machail Yatra and other remote areas have also come up during the Modi government, he said.

As for Machail, Dr Jitendra Singh said, mobile towers have been set up, multiple toilet complexes constructed and solar plants installed for regular power supply, and all this happened only after 2014. Not only this, the motorable road to Machail is under fast track construction and the day is not far when Kisthwar to Machail travel would be just about 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours, he added.