With the storm raised by The Kashmir Files having subsided to an extent, it’s time to do some reality check. “Abolish Article 370” was the last wish of the film’s protagonist Pushkar Nath, who symbolized the horrific fate of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s.
That wish was fulfilled by the Narendra Modi Government by a bold stroke of a pen on August 5, 2019, by abolishing Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The next question was how to give justice to the Kashmiri Pandits and those who suffered during over half a century of misrule and militancy in the Valley, once known as the ‘Paradise on Earth’. With a strong political will to transform the region into a better place, the Modi Government has proved that sincere and dedicated efforts never go in vain. A Naya Kashmir, as promised by the Government, is now emerging and there, certainly, is no looking back.
BEYOND THE KASHMIR FILES
MAKING A NAYA KASHMIR
The only effective antidote to militancy-induced violence in Jammu & Kashmir was inclusive and sustainable development that could provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions of governance. The Modi Government hit upon that road immediately after the abrogation of Article 370.
More than 53 projects are at different stages of completion at a cost of Rs. 58,477 crore in various sectors such as roads, power, health, education, tourism, agriculture, and skill development.
As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha in reply to the Budget proposals for J&K recently, the region has witnessed justice, democracy, and economic development post-the abrogation of Article 370.
There has been a 33 percent drop in infiltration in 2021, a 90 percent decrease in ceasefire violations, a 61 percent decline in terrorism-related incidents, and an 80 percent fall in abductions by terrorists.
“The various impediments which prevailed in the state for industrial development have also been removed, and the industrial promotion scheme of J&K given by Government of India has opened new doors for the development in J&K,” Sitharaman said.
The most visible proof of this is the revival of tourism, the mainstay of J&K’s economy. The number of tourists in March this year stood around 1.13 lakh, which was three times the total number of tourists who arrived in UT in 2019. There is no availability of hotel rooms in the Valley for the next three months, according to reports.
The new projects will strengthen road connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, opening up new livelihood opportunities for the people. They will also enhance tourism and business activities and overall, improve the quality of life of the people. The long pending prestigious Srinagar Ring Road project would be completed by end of 2023.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is on its way to becoming an express highway following the construction of two tunnels, the 8.5-km long Navyug Tunnel connecting Banihal with Qazigund and the 9.2-km long Chenani-Nashri Tunnel.
The mega highway road and tunnel projects will reduce the travel time from Delhi to Kashmir to eight hours in the coming years.
The train to Kashmir is not that far away and by 2024, the Valley will be connected with the rest of the country through a railway network also.
The Centre has been regularly creating job avenues for the local J&K youth. In the past two years, more than 20,000 vacancies were filled up in Government departments and thousands of new jobs have been announced.