Making a strong pitch for citizenship (amendment) bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government would stand with the children of 'Maa Bharti' who have been "bearing the brunt of persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh".
Addressing a rally in Vijaypur area of Jammu province, Modi said, "We have brought citizenship (amendment) bill with a commitment. Those (people) who had to separate from India due to some conditions in 1947, if they face persecution on the basis of their faith, then the country has to stand with them".
The Prime Minister said his government is "dealing strictly" with militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
He also thanked and applauded the people of the state as well as the administration for the smooth conduct of panchayat elections.
"Over 70 percent voter turnout was seen in the panchayat elections. This all happened without any untoward incident. I want to congratulate the people, the administration, the security forces, for making it happen," he said.
Modi further said the government is going to build 14,000 bunkers in border areas of Jammu to ensure safety of people.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister also talked about a "very emotional issue" of return of Kashmiri Pandits. He said he has been "bearing the pain of their exodus".
"The BJP-led central government is committed to ensure respect and dignity of the displaced community. The pain they had to undergo… they had to leave their homeland. I have never said this before, but I have been feeling their pain within me," he said.
Modi, while talking about the Kartarpur corridor, said if required attention had been given to the issue, the land of Guru Nanak Dev would have been part of India.
Referring to upcoming general elections, the Prime Minister said "jung (war) of 2019 is for taking the country ahead".
He also attacked the Congress for allegedly using farm loan waivers as a gimmick ahead of the general election to win votes and said the party's previous such initiative "benefitted only middlemen and select farmers".
He listed out various measures, including direct income support of Rs 6,000 to farmers cultivating on up to five acres of land, being taken by the central government to ensure welfare of the peasants "neglected by the previous governments".
"Congress always left out 70-80 per cent poor farmers from the benefit of their farm loan waiver scheme. What about these people?" he asked.
Ridiculing the loan waiver scheme announced by the new Congress dispensation in Madhya Pradesh, the Prime Minister said some beneficiaries have been given cheques of Rs 13 only.
"People know the track record of country's 'naamdar'. They get 'fever' of loan waivers just before elections. They try to act as 'messiah' of farmers by announcing farm loan waivers once in 10 years," he said, referring to the UPA's 10-year rule between 2004 and 2014.
Ironically, the BJP had also announced loan waivers for farmers in Uttar Pradesh ahead of assembly elections in 2017.
PROJECTS INAUGURATED IN LADAKH, JAMMU, KASHMIR
Meanwhile, a press information bureau (PIB) statement said the Prime Minister dedicated 220 kV Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh transmission system to the people to "ensure quality power supply to Ladakh round-the-year".
"This would give huge boost to the tourism sector and enhance socio-economic development of Ladakh," the statement read, adding that the Prime Minister had laid foundation for the project on 12 August 2014 "and within four and a half years, it has been completed by the power grid corporation of India limited (powergrid), a navratna company of the government of India, under the ministry of power".
"The Rs 2266-crore project will result in minimising the massive use of diesel generating sets during winters, and thus help in protection of beautiful environment of pristine Ladakh region," the handout read. About Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh transmission line, the PIB statement said it has been built at a height of around 3000 to 4000 meters.
"The 335-km-long transmission line has been constructed by powergrid wherein four new state-of-the-art 220/66 kV gas insulated sub-stations built at Drass, Kargil, Khaltsi and Leh will help to ensure 24×7 quality power in all weather conditions. Funding provisions have been in the ratio of 95:05 (95 percent government of India share and 5 percent J&K state share)".
The implementation of the project was also aimed to supply power to the people of Ladakh in harsh winters and evacuation of surplus power of Kargil and Leh hydel stations of the national hydel power corporation (NHPC) in summers.
"It is a flagship project of the government of India, under PMRP scheme, which was aimed to improve reliability and quality of power supply in Ladakh region of J&K by connecting with national grid. This will not only help evacuate power in summers, but will also supply power to the region in winters when temperatures dip and hydro electricity generation do not match up. The project will meet the power demand of Ladakh region at economical rates," the statement read.
"With quality electricity available at reasonable rates, hospitality industry in Ladakh will get a boost, as their reliance on diesel sets will reduce. This will also attract tourists looking for affordable stay in all weathers". In Jammu's Vijaypur, Modi unveiled a series of development projects.
Jammu visit was marked by the PM laying the foundation stone of AIIMS at Vijaypur, Samba.
Modi said that setting up of AIIMS will "provide quality healthcare to the people and address the shortfall of healthcare professionals in the region".
He announced that another 500 seats in the state medical colleges would be added soon.
While inaugurating university institute of engineering and technology, Kathua, the PM expressed his happiness that the youths from Jammu will benefit from the 10 percent EWS quota.
He also laid foundation for the construction of northern regional centre campus of the Indian institute of mass communication at Jammu. The campus was set up in the academic year 2012-13 and is working from a temporary building since then. The PM laid foundation for 624 MW Kiru hydroelectric project and 850 MW Ratle hydroelectric project in Kishtwar, Jammu.
"New power projects in region will provide employment to youth," the PM said, and declared 100 percent electrification of households in Jammu and Kashmir under SAUBHAGYA scheme.
The Prime Minister laid foundation for construction of transit accommodation for Kashmiri migrant employees in Kashmir Valley. He announced that the work is afoot to employ "displaced Kashmiris in 3000 posts".
The PM laid foundation of the project aimed at reducing pollution of rivers Devika and Tawi under the National river conservation plan (NRCP). This project is scheduled for completion by March 2021. The PM also said that 14000 bunkers have been built along the border for the "safety of our soldiers".
"While the previous government tried to hoodwink OROP with a grant of Rs 500 crore, we have allotted Rs 35000 crore."
The PM also laid foundation of 1640-m span double-lane bridge over river Chenab at Sajwal.
"It will provide an alternative route for the population of Sajwal and Indri Pattian which will reduce the commuting distance from 47 kms to 5 kms between the two. During the event, the PM said that Rs 40000 crore has been sanctioned to improve the connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir," the statement said.