Leh | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a swipe at the Opposition for criticising his government’s farmers’ income plan, saying people sitting in air-conditioned rooms in Delhi do not know the importance of Rs 6000 for a poor farmer living in distant and difficult areas.
To woo distressed farmers ahead of the general elections, the Centre has in the Interim Budget announced direct income support of Rs 6,000 per year to those holding cultivable land up to two hectare.
Speaking at the inauguration and laying of foundation schemes of various schemes, Modi said, Leh and Ladakh will also be benefited by this. “Most of farmers here fill this criteria and will get Rs 6000 annually. It will be disbursed in three installments and first installment will reach soon. I will be sending guidelines to state government Sunday,” he said.
Modi said during his days as a BJP worker in the region he used to get demands from people in Delhi to bring vegetables from Leh because of their quality.
“Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is a phenomenal scheme for farmers. People sitting in air conditioned rooms in Delhi do not know what Rs 6,000 mean for a poor farmer living in distant and difficult areas of the country,” he said.
Modi was in Leh to launch the first-ever university in Ladakh region. It will be a cluster university comprising degree colleges of Leh, Kargil, Nubra, Zanskar, Drass and Khaltsi having administrative offices at Leh and Kargil.
The prime minister also laid foundation stone of the new terminal building of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee (KBR) Airport in Leh by unveiling the plaque.
The new terminal will be a modular, energy efficient and self-sustaining building of 18,985 sq. metres. Modi also opened new tourist and trekking routes in Ladakh.
Ahead of elections, the prime minister also made a pitch for his return to the post, saying he will return to inaugurate schemes for which he is laying foundations stones today.
“I have inaugurated schemes which I had inaugurated earlier and I will come back to inaugurate schemes for which I am laying foundation stones today,” he said. He said the foundation stone for Rs 2,000 crore Leh-Kargil transmission line which will reduce power problems in the area was laid by him and he is inaugurating it too.
“Our work culture is different. Country has left behind work culture of delay and deflect (‘Latkane’ aur ‘Bhatkane’). I have to oust this culture from the country in the coming five years. It is ensured that the project which is initiated is completed on time,” he said. He said weather brings to you a lot of hardship and the central government is committed to alleviate these problems of the area.
He said he has inaugurated and laid foundation stones of schemes and projects worth Rs 3000 crore. “The projects which have been inaugurated or whose foundation stones have been laid will improve not only the power situation but also connectivity of Leh region with other cities of the country, tourism, employment and education for the youth of the country,” he said.
The climate of Leh is so great that if we create good education institutions, youths from across India will like to come here to study. “We have to dream these things. In my mind I have such dreams,” he said.
He said central is expanding connectivity to this region through Railways and Airways. “Work on railway connectivity and new airport terminal is going on. No thought was spared to expand 30 year old building. Today I have laid foundation stone for new building and soon it will be inaugurated too,” he said.
He said the terminal will provide ultra modern facilities and enhanced passenger handling. “The survey on Bilaspur Mandi railway line has started. Some places work has started. Once completed, Leh to Delhi distance will reduce. Roads get disconnected during winters. This line will reduce this problem to a large extent,” he said.
The PM said Leh is a important destination for spirituality, scenic beauty, art, culture, and adventure sports. “To improve tourism, five new trekking routes have been opened. The Centre has increased duration of protected area permit from 7 to 15 days.This will help tourists to take their time to enjoy their visits and increase employment of the youths,” he said.
Modi said three lakh tourists have visited the area and one lakh have gone to Kargil which shows that more than half of tourists in Jammu and Kashmir have come to Leh.
Forty percent of Leh population comprises young students who have been demanding a University which has been fulfilled today, he said. This cluster University will use resources of degree colleges running in Leh, Nubra, Zanskar, Kargil, he said.
“Government is trying to reach people who have not been getting the benefit development. The Government has also taken a big decision for nomadic tribes who are difficult to reach for extending government benefits,” he said.
The government has decided to form a welfare development board for these people so that development benefits reach them quickly, he said.
“The budget of central government has emphasised on development of SC and ST. 30 per cent increase in funds for the budget of ST while 35 per cent increase in funds for SC community,” he said.
“I am happy that Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act has been amended to give more powers to the Council in financial areas,” he said.
“Now you do not have to go to Srinagar and Jammu for your needs. Most of the works will be completed here”, he said.