Kashmir Issues Current Affairs - 2020

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J&K Development: Rs 2000 crore for Z-Morh Tunnel; 36 Union Ministers’ visit

After Abrogation of Article 370, Government of India is rapidly working on developing the territories of Ladakh and Jammu Kashmir. In order to hasten the process, 36 Union Ministers are to visit the Union Territory. Also, the concession agreement for the Z-Morh tunnel was signed on January 17, 2020.

Highlights

A concession agreement to complete the 6.5 kilo metre Z-Morh Tunnel was signed. According to the agreement, a two-lane bi-directional tunnel is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 2000 crores. A parallel escape tunnel is to be completed in 3.5 years. The tunnel will open NH-1 Srinagar-Sonmarg-Gumri highway throughout the year. The highway is seldom closed in winter due to snow.

About the Tunnel

The tunnel is capable of allowing 1,000 vehicles an hour at a speed of 80 km per hour. The Tunnel construction process began in 2012. Border Road Organization (BRO) was the previous implementation agency of the project. The project was however transferred to IL&FS in 2016. In 2019, on request of IL&FS due its financial crisis, the project was foreclosed. NHIDCL (National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation) invited for a new concessionaire through bidding process. APCO won the contract and is to complete the balance work.

Visit of 36 Union Ministers

All the union ministers are to pay a visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The aim of the visit is to spread information about the policies of the Union Government towards the development of J&K. This will help to win hope and trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Members of EU meet PM Modi; visit Kashmir

A 28-member delegation from European Union met PM Modi on October 28, 2019. The delegation will visit Kashmir on October 29, 1019. The delegation is to check on the reality of the situation in Kashmir. This is the first trip to the region by a foreign delegation after India revoked Article 370 and integrated Kashmir with the rest of the country. India rejected US ‘s plea to visit the region earlier in October.

Highlights of PM’s speech to the delegates

  • PM asserted that there should be Zero Tolerance for terrorism
  • He also highlighted India’s jump in Ease of Doing Business Index from 142nd rank in 2014 to 63 in 2019
  • He mentioned about the success of swachh Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, India’s commitment to eliminate TB by 2025

Significance

  • The delegation will get a clear understanding about the cultural and religious diversity of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
  • GoI’s decision to allow a foreign delegation implies that situation is coming under control
  • It will also take the wind out of the sails of Pakistan and Pakistan inspired anti-India liberal lobbies.
  • As Europe is not in a position to wield the big power stick as that of US, experts believe that it is wise to let the EU first

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