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PALLI : The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his maiden visit to the region of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, on Sunday inaugurated and laid foundation stone of multiple development projects worth over 20,000 crore.

This also included the opening of the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel to establish all-weather connectivity between the two regions of the union territory.

The Prime Minister also celebrated the Panchayat Raj Diwas at Palli Gram Panchayat in Samba.

"The inauguration and laying of foundation of project of 20,000 crores took place today. This will give new impetus to development of Jammu and Kashmir," Modi said in an address to the people here.

He said that it is a big day for speeding up the development of the region. "I congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir for this".

" 38,000 crores of private investment have been received in J&K in two years as compared to 17,000 crores in last seven decades," the prime minister said.

The central laws, which would empower people here were not implemented over the years, have been implemented by the present government, he said.

Prime Minister inaugurated the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel to establish all-weather connectivity between the Jammu and Kashmir regions of the union territory.

The 8.45 Km long tunnel will reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 Km and reduce the journey time by around one-and-a half-hours, officials said.

The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of three road packages of the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, being built at a cost of over 7,500 crore, apart from launching 'Amrit Sarovar' initiative seeking to develop and rejuvenate 75 water bodies in every district of the country.

One of the power projects he laid foundation to on Sunday was first commissioned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013.

Among other projects, Modi also laid foundation stone of Rattle and Kwar hydroelectric projects, a 850 MW facility to be constructed on Chenab river in Kishtwar at a cost of around 5,300 crore, and 540 MW Kwar hydroelectric project to be build on the same river at a cost of over 4,500 crore.

In order to further expand the network of 'Jan Aushadi Kendras' in Jammu and Kashmir, and to make good quality generic medicines available at affordable prices, 100 centres were inaugurated by the Prime Minister. These centres are located in remote corners of the union territory. 

PM also handed over 'SVAMITVA' (survey of villages and mapping with improvised technology in village areas) cards to beneficiaries under the scheme. The cards will give villagers documentary proof of their ownership of properties so that they can use them for financial benefits if required.

He also digitally transferred prize money of 44.70 crore to the bank accounts of 322 awardee Panchayats across 31 states/UTs in the country which are winners of awards given across different categories. 

The prize money ranged from 5 lakh to 50 lakh. 

PM's message to the Youth of Kashmir

Reaching out to the youth of the Kashmir Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spelled out initiatives for peace and development, and assured they will not inherit the problems faced by their parents and grandparents.

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