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This article was first published 11 years ago

Rahul to visit Kashmir with Tata, Birla

Last updated on: October 3, 2012 20:12 IST

Image: Rahul Gandhi
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

Rahul Gandhi arrives in Kashmir Valley on Thursday on a two-day visit, bringing along a strong business delegation that will include Ratan Tata and Kumar Manglam Birla, to a state seeking more investments.

The All India Congress Committee general secretary is also due to hold a meeting with panchayat members in the Valley on Friday, against the backdrop of his call for increasing security of panchs and sarpanchs following threats from militants. A delegation of sarpanchs from the Valley had met Rahul in Delhi last week.

The business delegation is arriving at the invitation of Rahul for an interaction with students of the Kashmir University in Srinagar on October 5, official sources said.

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Rahul to visit Kashmir with Tata, Birla

Image: Ratan Tata
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

For the first time, a business dimension has been lent to Rahul's visit, during which he is expected to allay corporate concerns about investing in the border state.

Besides the Chairman of the Tata group and the Aditya Birla group, HDFC chairman Deepak Parikh, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Rajeev Bajaj and Chairman and Managing Director of WIPRO Aziz Premji will be present during Rahul's visit.

Rahul, 42, had struck an emotional chord with students of the Kashmir Uuniversity in September last year, when he had said that he was "a Kashmiri" and "the pain and the suffering of this place is my suffering as well".

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Rahul to visit Kashmir with Tata, Birla

Image: Kumar Mangalam Birla
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

He had promised to send a delegation of businessmen after several students spoke about the lack of job facilities and the virtual absence of multinationals in the Valley.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Assam CM Tarun Gogoi are also likely to be present at the interaction, officials said.

Rahul begins his tour on Thursday from Ladakh region by holding public rallies in Leh and Kargil town.

Before reaching the Valley, Gandhi will be attending the foundation stone laying ceremony of Z-Morh Tunnel, which is aimed at providing all-weather connectivity with Ladakh.

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Rahul to visit Kashmir with Tata, Birla

Image: Omar Abdullah
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

The tunnel will be 6.5 km long, with two lanes with a parallel escape tunnel on a new alighment between Gagangir and Sonamarg and the ministry has chosen Border Road Organisation to complete this project.

The project will be constructed on Build Own Transfer mode, at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 2,680 crore, on the basis of approved guidelines for such projects.

Later, the Congress leader will be attending a meeting of elected state and district committees of Jammu and Kashmir NSUI, the student wing of the Congress, after which he will address the National Executive of the Indian Youth Congress.

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