Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh on Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar will become north India's major "power hub" generating around 6,000 MW of power after the completion of the ongoing power projects.
Singh, who cancelled his two public rallies at Nagseni and Dachhan on Saturday as a mark of respect to the victims of the train accident in Odisha, convened a detailed meeting to review the progress of various hydroelectric power projects in the Kisthwar and Doda districts.
NHPC chairman Rajiv Vishnoi, Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Devansh Yadav and officials of central government and UT administration updated the minister about the progress of the projects, a statement issued by the personnel ministry said.
"Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar will become North India's major 'power hub' generating around 6,000 MW of power after the completion of the ongoing power projects," the statement quoted the minister as having said.
He said, the surplus power from Kishtwar will not only be utilised for other parts of the UT, but could also be availed by other states.
Singh lamented that the rich natural resources of Chenab were not exploited by the previous governments which ruled Jammu and Kashmir for around 65 years.
He also assured 100 per cent reservation for locals in unskilled jobs for these projects and promised to give preference to local talent in skilled manpower requirements.
Singh said, before 2014, road travel to Kishtwar was cumbersome and on the slightest landside, the Doda-Kishtwar road would get blocked.
"But today, the road travel time from Jammu to Kishtwar has reduced from over seven hours in 2014 to less than five hours now," the minister said.
Similarly, he said, during these nine years, Kishtwar has come up on the aviation map of India and has been sanctioned an airport under Centre's UDAAN scheme, which nobody had ever imagined.
Singh said areas like Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern states and other hilly states suffered on many counts during the last six decades, due to the myopic policies of the successive central governments.
But, soon after the Modi government took over in 2014, the prime minister had stated that every effort would be made to bring the northeastern region, Jammu and Kashmir and other backward regions at par with the more developed regions of the country, he added.
Singh said, areas with unexplored potential like Kishtwar, northeast and other hilly regions will play a pivotal role in the next 25 years of India's journey and these regions, rather than the saturated states, will propel India as a frontline nation in the world when it celebrates 100th year of independence in 2047.
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