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Rediff.com  » News » Want a lifelong relation with people of J&K: Rahul

Want a lifelong relation with people of J&K: Rahul

Last updated on: October 4, 2012 21:58 IST

Want a lifelong relation with people of J&K: Rahul

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

Congress General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asserted his Kashmiri origin saying his family came from Kashmir and he was also a Kashmiri.

Rahul told a public gathering at the north Kashmir health resort of Sonamarg that he has "joined hands with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah like Jawaharlal Nehru extended it to Omar's grandfather, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah."

"I am myself from a Kashmiri family and want to have lifelong relations with the people of Jammu and Kashmir", he said adding that he 'extends hand to Omar Abdullah like Jawaharlal Nehru extended it to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for holistic and comprehensive development of Jammu and Kashmir," he told the public meeting.

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Image: Congress General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi with J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Corporate honchos join Rahul on J&K visit

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Rahul is on a two-day visit to the state and is accompanied by corporate honchos Rattan Tata, chairman of the Tata group, K M Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla group, Rajeev Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj autos, Azim Premji chairman of Wipro group and HDFC Chief, Deepak Parekh.

The industry leaders will interact with students of the Kashmir University on Friday morning.

Rahul Gandhi referred to the relations between Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru, and between his father Rajiv Gandhi and Dr Farooq Abdullah saying that he wanted to strengthen these relations.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi with former chief minister of J&K Dr Farooq Abdullah
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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'I want to hear you, understand your problems'

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Rahul Gandhi said that he wants youth of Jammu and Kashmir involved in development process adding that he wants to share the difficulties of people. "I want to hear you, understand your problems and work for their redressal," he said adding that he had visited the state last year, came here again this year and would come again and again to meet the people.

He said that there has been significant development in the country in all fields of life. "Every state enjoyed share in the development process", he said adding that "Jammu and Kashmir also deserves all round development and economic welfare."

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Image: Foundation laying of Z-Morh tunnel
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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'Need to initiate Centre-state internal dialogue'

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The Congress general secretary said that the foundation laying of Z-Morh tunnel is a first step towards opening Ladakh area to traffic throughout the year, adding that the foundation for Zojila tunnel next year would be yet another important milestone to achieve the goal.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while addressing the function reiterated the necessity of addressing political issues of Jammu and Kashmir stressing on initiation of Centre-state internal dialogue.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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'Focus on addressing political issues of the state'

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"While we have to negotiate various challenges on the development front and deal with militancy related issues, we have to focus on addressing political issues of the state simultaneously," said Omar. The chief minister said he was advocating this aspect continuously for the larger interest of the country and the state.

He said that the dialogue process between Centre and the state should resume, like the restoration of Indo-Pak talks.

The Union government has approved the state government's proposal of boring tunnels at Z-Morh and Zojila Pass to make Ladakh area accessible throughout the year through an upgraded road communication and today's foundation laying of Z-Morh tunnel is a part of the proposal.

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Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Z-Morh tunnel project estimated to cost Rs 2,716 crore

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The tunnel between Sonamarg and Gagangir known as Z-Morh tunnel will be two lane and 6.5 kilometer long with parallel escape tunnel. The total cost is estimated to be Rs 2,716 crore on the project. The carriageway width for the tunnel will be eight meters and that of the escape tunnel 3.5 meters. The project is expected to be completed in August 2018.

Construction of another tunnel at Zojila Pass about 22 kilometers from Z-Morh tunnel is envisaged to provide all-weather connectivity to Ladakh region. The two-lane 13 km long tunnel is likely to cost over Rs 5,500 crore.

 


Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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