Inaugurating the Chenani-Nashri tunnel here, Modi said the country's longest tunnel would change the fortunes of the state and its economy and asserted the Centre's commitment in boosting tourism in the state. Work on this project will start in the next three months, he said.
The distance between Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 km (between two ends of the tunnel), instead of the existing 41 km.
It is widely the believed that the help about which the CM was pointing out her came in the form of pallet guns provide by the Indian Government to the state government which lead resulted in death and permanent blindness of hundred's of protesting Kashmiri civilians during the unrest of 2016. "They can visit the valley without worrying about accidents", Modi said. "On one hand, there are some misguided youth who pelt stones, on the other hand, there are youth from the same Kashmir who carve stones to build infrastructure", he said.
A government press release said the project "has provided employment to over 2,000 unskilled and skilled youth of Jammu and Kashmir as 94 percent of the workforce was from the state".
Modi said whenever the mention of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh comes, remembering Vajpayee was inevitable as he had given the slogan of "Kashmiriyat, jamhooriyat and insaniyat". "If there had been greater focus on developing tourism and infrastructure, then people from all over the world would have been streaming to the Kashmir valley", Modi said.
In her brief speech, she reminded the Prime Minister that her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had joined hands with him to reach out to the people of Kashmir. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with cross passages connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 m.
He also congratulated the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government for utilising central funds for the development of the state and assured his government's continued support.
"For 40 years, innocent have lost their lives".
Other features include, an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 meters.
According to media reports, call for the shutdown was given by the joint Kashmiri leadership.A multi-tier set up in the name of security had been put in place with massive deployment of Indian troops and police personnel across the occupied territory ahead of Narendra Modi's visit.Security steps paralysed both common and business life in the held Valley.
The Congress also accused the government of increasing a sense of alienation and estrangement among the people of Kashmir in the past one year. PM Modi was also seen taking a view of the Chenani-Nashri tunnel.
The separatists said Kashmir is a "political issue and not a problem related to governance, economic packages, incentives or a law and order".