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"Neither this region is new for me, nor am I new for you," PM Modi said in Jammu's Palli village, addressing all gram sabhas in the country to mark the National Panchayati Raj Day.
Thousands attended the event, which was organised as the new Union Territory moves towards its first assembly elections. The delimitation process is currently in progress in Jammu and Kashmir, and a call will be taken next on assembly elections.
"In the last two or three years, Jammu and Kashmir has touched several milestones. Earlier governments wouldn't implement central schemes here, we made it possible," PM Modi said.
"In six decades, only Rs 17,000 crores were spent on the region. In two years, we have spent 38,000 crore," he added, targeting the National Conference and People's Democratic Party, which ruled the erstwhile state in turns in alliance with the Congress or the BJP.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under President's Rule since 2018, when the BJP ended its ruling coalition with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party.
Tight security has been put in place for the visit, which comes more than two years after the Centre scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted in the Constitution and divided it into two Union Territories.
PM Modi laid the foundation for two hydroelectric projects -- an 850 megawatt facility on the Chenab river in Kishtwar to be built at a cost of around Rs 5,300 crore.
The other is the 540 megawatt Kwar hydroelectric project, to be built on the same river at a cost of over Rs 4,500 crore.
The Banihal-Qazigund tunnel -- built at a cost of over Rs 3,100 crore -- is 8.45-km-long and will reduce the road distance between the two places by 16 km, and cut travel time by around one-and-a-half hours.
Seeking to develop and rejuvenate 75 water bodies in every district of the country, PM Modi also launched an initiative named "Amrit Sarovar".
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