Rahul, Union Ministers, top brass of AIYC to converge at Srinagar

Rahul, Union Ministers, top brass of AIYC to converge at Srinagar

29 September 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: With the issue of empowerment of Panchayats by implementing 73rd amendment of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir being taken up vigorously by the Congress, top brass of national level Youth Congress besides AICC (I) general secretary Rahul Gandhi and some Union Ministers are visiting Srinagar, the summer capital of the State from October 2-5 to join All India Youth Congress National Executive being held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC). Rahul Gandhi would address the National Executive of AIYC (I) on October 4 when he would also visit Ladakh to lay foundation stone of a tunnel at Zojila along with Union Surface Transport Minister CP Joshi. Minister of State for Home Dr Jitender Pratap Singh, All India Congress (I) Secretary, Incharge Youth Congress, Meenakshi Natrajan, MP, All India Youth Congress president, Rajiv Satav, Youth Congress national Secretary, Incharge J&K, Chetan Pratap Chouhan and a host of other top brass of Congress and Youth Congress was expected to converge at the SKICC from October 2 to 5 and address the National Executive, which is being held in Srinagar for the first time in over two decades long militancy in the State. Official sources said the visit of Rahul Gandhi and his address to AIYC (I) National Executive in Srinagar has been confirmed. As per the schedule, Rahul would address the Executive at 2 pm on October 4. He would return to New Delhi the same day at 5 pm. Rahul and Surface Transport Minister CP Joshi, who had recently been given the additional charge of Railway Ministry after the exit of TMC leader Mukul Roy, would fly to Zojila in Ladakh and lay foundation stone of an all weather tunnel between Srinagar and Ladakh to keep the National Highway open throughout the year. The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had approved construction of the tunnel at a cost of Rs 2717 crore on September 14. Rahul and Joshi would lay foundation stone of the tunnel at Zojila at 10 am in the presence of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir. The senior officers would brief them about construction of the tunnel. Sources said Rahul and Joshi would fly to Srinagar from Zojila. Rahul would address National Executive of Youth Congress at 2 pm and inter-act with office bearers and workers of All India and State delegates of the Executive. Rahul and Joshi would fly back to New Delhi on October 4 evening while other senior leaders of the party would stay in Srinagar till October 5 when the National Executive would conclude. Union Minister of State for Home Jitender Pratap Singh would also address the National Executive in addition to Meenakshi Natrajan, Rajiv Satav and Chetan Pratap Chouhan. According to sources, some other young turks of the Congress in the Union Ministry and office bearers of All India Congress Committee could also travel to Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, to address National Executive of AIYC (I). Several names were being discussed and could be finalized in the next couple of days. The meeting of AIYC (I) National Executive comes close on the heels of several Congress leaders raising the pitch for implementation of 73rd amendment of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir to empower Panchayats. Even Rahul Gandhi had himself advocated for implementation of the amendment in a meeting with 10 Sarpanchs from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on Thursday. However, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has categorically ruled out implementation of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution of India in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources didnít rule out the possibility of AIYC (I) National Executive passing a resolution favouring adoption of 73rd amendment of Constitution of India in Jammu and Kashmir for empowerment of Panchayats since Pradesh Youth Congress has taken to streets in support of the amendment. Meanwhile, AIYC(I) national Secretary Chetan Pratap Chouhan, who happened to be Incharge of Jammu and Kashmir State, reached Srinagar this afternoon to supervise arrangements for the National Executive. Sources said elaborate security arrangements were being made for the All India Youth Congress National Executive from October 2 to 5 in the wake of arrival of top brass of Youth Congress especially AICC (I) general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Security arrangements were given a final touch at a high level meeting in the summer capital this evening. Meanwhile, the tunnel at Zojila, whose foundation stone is being laid on October 4 by Rahul Gandhi and CP Joshi would start at Z-Morh to provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar and Leh. It would be 6.5 kilometers long and will be built on build, operate and transfer (annuity basis). Ladakh at present remains cut off from the mainland for six to seven months during winter due to heavy snow fall on Jammu-Srinagar-Zojila-Kargil-Leh and Manali-Sarchu-Leh routes that connect Leh to the mainland. The 6.50 kms long two lane bi-directional tunnel on a new alignment in between Gagangir and Sonamarg, along the existing NH-1 at Z- Morh would be constructed at a cost of Rs 2716.90 crore. It would give all weather connectivity from Srinagar to Leh on NH-1 (old NH -1D) in Jammu and Kashmir. The stretch between Srinagar and Leh would not only be important for the strategic interests of the Indian Army, but also for the survival of people of Ladakh and their socio-economic development. The total capital cost of the project will Rs 2,716.90 crore, out of which approximately, Rs 36.48 crore will be for land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement and pre-construction.