RAHUL ARRIVING TODAY WITH TATA, BIRLA

To Attend Foundation Ceremony Of Z-Morh Tunnel, Meet Kashmir University Students

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Oct 3: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will begin his 2-day visit to Kashmir Valley on Thursday amid growing differences among ruling coalition partners, National Conference and Congress, over empowerment of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir and continued threats to the grassroots representatives. He will be bringing along a powerful business delegation that includes among others Ratan Tata and Kumar Manglam Birla.
Rahul is scheduled to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of 6.5 km long Z-Morh Tunnel in Sonamarg. The foundation stone will be laid by Union Minister for Roads and Transport Dr CP Joshi. The tunnel is aimed at providing all-weather connectivity with Ladakh.
Gandhi is reportedly scheduled to address a rally of Panchayat members in Sonamarg later which would be followed by a meeting with Panchayat representatives from Valley on Friday.
He will also attend a meeting of the elected members of National Students Union of India, the students’ wing of Congress. A delegation of Panchayat members met Rahul in New Delhi last week following killing of two Panchayat members in a fortnight in Kashmir Valley.
At least five Panchs and Sarpanchs have been killed by unidentified gunmen in Kashmir after Panchayat elections were held in the state in 2011.
The killings created panic among the elected members forcing hundreds of them to announce their resignation in local newspapers.
Last week Chief Minister Omar Abdullah blamed militants for attacks on the Panchayat members terming them “coward” and daring them to attack him.
Gandhi took on the State Government last week for ‘not empowering’ Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir. It was followed by reports about tussle between Gandhi and Omar over empowerment of Panchayats- a report vehemently denied by both Congress and National Conference leaders including Omar.
While Congress has been demanding that 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution of India should be implemented in J&K, the ruling National Conference has vehemently rejected it.
Meanwhile, a business delegation would be joining Gandhi on his invitation for an interaction with students of Kashmir University here on Friday.
Besides the Chairmen of Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parikh, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Rajeev Bajaj and Chairman and Managing Director of WIPRO Aziz Premji would be present during Rahul's visit.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made by the State Government for the visit.
A top official told Greater Kashmir that Shutkadi area in Sonamarg area of Ganderbal district was sanitized Tuesday evening. “It is the nearest point to Z-Morh and venue for the main function,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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