Udhampur: Emphasising that the Chenani-Nashri tunnel would bolster tourism and increase employment in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked the youth to shed terrorism and adopt tourism, adding that the path of bloodshed would never help the state to prosper.
"The youth of Kashmir have a choice to select one of the two paths -- one of tourism or the other of terrorism. The path of bloodshed has not helped any one and will never help anyone," Prime Minister Modi said while addressing a rally in Udhampur.
Speaking in the wake of recent Budgam violence where three stone pelters were killed in retaliatory firing by security forces, Prime Minister Modi said, "25,000 youth of Jammu and Kashmir have toiled hard to make this tunnel. While some are busy throwing rocks others are busy in cutting them and making way for progress."
He said the tunnel is a long jump towards development for Jammu and Kashmir and would act as an engine of growth and employment to the people.
"This tunnel not only connects Jammu to Kashmir but also showcases progress the state has achieved. The farmers of the region can transport their vegetables, flowers and products to Delhi on time. The tunnel will guarantee tourism for the land and this will bolster tourism in the state," Prime Minister Modi said.
Reflecting former prime minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee's slogan of Kashmiriyat Insaniyat Jamhooriyat, Prime Minister Modi said, "We will take forward Kashmiriyat Insaniyat Jamhooriyat slogan and help Kashmir achieve new heights of progress."
Prime Minister Modi said that the Centre has planned nine more tunnels for Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti congratulated Prime Minister Modi for the BJP's landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh and for the completion of longest tunnel of South Asia.
"We are thankful to our Prime Minister. The tunnel inaugurated will bridge distances, be it in travel or between people. Congratulations to the Prime Minister for the mandate in Uttar Pradesh. Last year, during very troubled times you supported me and my government," Mehbooba said.
Asserting that the tunnel inaugurated will bridge distances, be it in travel or between people, Mehbooba said that a lot has improved and a lot more needs to be done in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Mufti Sahab had faith in the people and in Jamhuriyat," she added.
Prime Minister Modi on his part thanked Mehbooba. He said that the Centre announced package for the state, adding the work has begun in this regard.
The Prime Minister earlier in the day inaugurated India's longest tunnel Chenani-Nashri, on the Jammu-Srinagar highway amid high security.
The tunnel is expected to give sigh of relief to travellers on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, as it will reduce the travel time on National Highway 44 between Jammu and Srinagar by about 2 hours by shortening the distance between the cities by 31 km.