Union Law Minister makes the remarks during his visit to Sopore
Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday visited volatile Sopore in Baramulla district and said that the “time has come to change the fate of Kashmir through peace, progress and prosperity”.
“Kashmir is a real paradise on earth and assured that every step shall be taken to retain and preserve it. The youth need to come up with new and progressive ideas pertaining to developmental concerns,” said Mr. Prasad.
The Union minister’s decision to visit Sopore assumes significance because the area is considered to be a bastion of the now banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) socio-religious organisation.
Terming Sopore “a hub of horticulture production”, Mr. Prasad said that ‘Fruit Mandi Sopore’ shall be developed as an e-mandi, “wherein it shall be integrated with the rest of mandis of the country”.
“Sopore is best endowed with Apple tourism and it can play a larger role in socio-economic development,” he said.
The Union minister, who met 10 delegations, also met a group from the Fruit Association Sopore, which demanded “uninterrupted movement of apple-ferrying vehicles on the National Highway, compensation to orchardists whose property got damaged in recent heavy snowfall and during floods in 2014, exemption of KCC loans, establishment of a testing lab for pesticides and establishment of a truck terminal in North Kashmir”.
Sopore’s influential civil society groups including the Traders Federation Sopore, the J&K Choppan Welfare Association, the NYC Association Baramulla also apprised the Union minister about the local issues.
“J&K will witness a new dawn of development, prosperity and various measures are underway to ensure holistic development of J&K,” Mr. Prasad told the delegations.
Meanwhile, the 36 Union ministers, who had fanned out across J&K to meet people and educate them about the Centre’s development measures and the benefits of the abrogation of J&K’s special status, concluded their six-day visit to the Union Territory (UT). The public outreach began on January 18.
Most meetings, however, were in Jammu, where 31 Union ministers visited all the regions. And no public outreach was attempted in volatile south Kashmir, where militancy remains a threat.
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