Katra (Jammu and Kashmir): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said that Indian Railways will have more facilities than airports. He added that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dream of restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir will be realised.
Modi made the comments after flagging off the Katra-Udhampur train, which will link the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine near Katra with the rest of the country.
Addressing a public rally here, Modi said: "Jammu and Kashmir has passed through very trying times. It is the desire of every Indian to ensure that the state makes progress and the youth here get employment.
"It is our duty, and we will do it, whether we are in power in the state or not.
"I want to give a message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the journey started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the state will be taken to its logical conclusion."
The prime minister, who arrived earlier in Jammu, said the Katra-Udhampur rail link had been inaugurated at a time when the Amarnath Yatra was on and also during the holy month of Ramadan.
"The rail link is dedicated not only to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also to the people of the country who come here in millions to pay obeisance at the Mata's shrine.
"When progress takes place at one place, some people at other places feel neglected ... as the chief minister has said about the apprehensions of the people of Jammu city.
"I want to assure the people of Jammu that their interests will be protected. I do not believe anybody will come to Katra and not visit Jammu city.
"Building of infrastructure is a holistic exercise. Whenever development takes place at one place, its benefits reach all places."
Here we are giving you updates of Modi's speech:
11:02- Modi concludes his speech
11:00 Modi: I want to send this message to the people of J&K- from where Atal Behari Vajpayee had left the rail project in J&K we will start from there. I want to dedicate this express train to all the devotees, people of Jammu and the entire nation.
10:58-Modi: Modi: We will make an environment friendly station in Katra. It will be solar railway station. People will be able to think innovatively. J&K has suffered a lot. Its youth needs employment. I asked many children in Katra if they had ever seen a train. Most of them said that they were seeing it for the first time. This is the condition of the 21st century.
10:57-Modi: Development in the Himalayas can be environment friendly.
10:54-Modi: J&K needs speed in development. I agree that our Himalayan states have similar demerits and merits. We have to formulate a model that could work for all.
10: 52- Modi: We will provide more facility in railways than in airports. This project can be economically viable. Even private companies are willing to invest in this project. We will go ahead with this project in the future.
10: 50- Modi: Infrastructure has the most important role to play in the process for development. Train is starting today but small entrepreneurs have already started setting up their stalls. In India for the first time, the centre and state are working together. It's a hybrid . Passengers will get bus facility and train facility all at once. They won't have to struggle. Why do our railways have to be so ancient? I want to assure you that we will leave no stone unturned for development of railways.
10: 49- Modi: All those who come to Katra will definitely visit Jammu. You can visualize the speed of development that will take place in Katra.
10: 47- Modi: When development takes place, we think that if it is happening there then what will happen here. I want to assure you that Jammu will not be left behind in the phase of development.
10: 45- Modi: This facility is not just for J& K. It's a gift for the entire nation. Its for all those people who desire to come to Jammu and Kashmir. I had suggested to the rail minister that the rail from Delhi to Katra should connect people across the nation. I suggested we name it Shri Shakti express. I want to thank the governor and everyone involved for using technology. It will be easy for all the travelers.
10: 42- Modi: This is an extremely auspicious moment for us. On one hand Sri Amarnath Yatra is on and the atmosphere is pious. On other hand – Ramadan is on, and now Shri Shakti Express is being inaugurated.
10:42: Crowd bursts into cheers as he begins his speech.
10:42: Modi begins his speech