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Modi Government Eyes 'Modern' Makeover for Jammu & Kashmir One Year After Change of Special Status

© AP Photo / Dar YasinKashmiri women row their shikara filled with fodder for cattle in the interiors of the Dal lake in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020
Kashmiri women row their shikara filled with fodder for cattle in the interiors of the Dal lake in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): After the revocation of the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised development, prosperity and end of violence in the region with the move. India has also planned around $2.9 billion investment in the state.

After criticism over no significant development on the ground even a year after the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, major projects are expected to be rolled out in the newly formed union territory by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coming weeks.

Under the new projects, high-tech and environment-friendly changes will be ushered in Srinagar and Jammu to bring changes while keeping in mind the cultural sensitivity of the region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media in New Delhi - Sputnik International
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The blueprint of the projects is being developed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The projects are being directly monitored by Modi, sources told Sputnik.

The development work is expected to be carried out at the scenic Dal Lake, known as the "Lake of Flowers" integral to tourism in Kashmir. It is expected that encroachment in the area around the lake will be reduced as it has led to the commercialisation of the area.

This comes amid a growing clamour by locals over changes in demography, threats to the culture and aesthetic values of the Muslim majority Kashmir. The people, including local political parties in Jammu, who welcomed the change in status, have raised concerns fearing they will lose their rights to land and jobs.

CC BY-SA 3.0 / KennyOMG / View of Dal Lake and the city of SrinagarView of Dal Lake and the city of Srinagar
Modi Government Eyes 'Modern' Makeover for Jammu & Kashmir One Year After Change of Special Status - Sputnik International
View of Dal Lake and the city of Srinagar

The projects are being developed under the name "naya" (new) Srinagar and "naya" Jammu. The plan was envisaged by the first Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in the 1940s. The plan to develop rural Kashmir was under the government’s manifesto, later rolled out as "Naya Kashmir" or "new" Kashmir.

Of the $2.88 billion invested in the state, $1.81 billion has been lined up from global investors, a document from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revealed. As many as 168 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have been signed for investment in 14 sectors. The government has also identified space for setting up industry and acquired 2,428 hectares of land.

On 5 August 2019, ​India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two federally administered territories.

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