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Kashmiris expect PM Modi to bring gifts of peace & progress

People from far and near are reaching Srinagar and the otherwise sleepy winter city has come to life on Thursday with the first light of the day despite the morning cold.

Kashmiris expect PM Modi to bring gifts of peace & progress

Narendra Modi

JAMMU: The people of Kashmir Valley are expecting gifts of peace, prosperity and much more from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is arriving here on Thursday.

People from far and near are reaching Srinagar and the otherwise sleepy winter city has come to life on Thursday with the first light of the day despite the morning cold.

People from Uri border town, Baramulla town, Kupwara, Handwara, Lolab, Tangmarg, Bandipora, Kangan, Ganderbal, Kokernag, Achabal, Pahalgam, Khansahib, Beerwah, Chadoora, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and over two dozen other places are reaching here on buses and private vehicles to get a glimpse of the Prime Minister.

Traffic department and the security wing of J&K Police have issued detailed advisories to ensure smooth passage of the people to and from the Bakshi Stadium, the main venue of Prime Minister Modi's public address.

Ravinder Raina, President of BJP’s J&K unit, told reporters that he is expecting 2 lakh people to attend the rally.

While the exact number would be known only after the beginning of the programme, the most significant thing is the mood and enthusiasm with which the participants are reaching the city.

Nazir Ahmad, 41, came from the Rafiabad area of Baramulla district. He is eager to see the man who brought an end to uncertainty and chaos in Kashmir.

"My children go to school without any fear of facing stone pelters to send them back home. I am able to work normally in my apple orchard as my wife attends to household chores without fear for me and the children returning home safely... This was made possible by the man (Prime Minister Modi) I am going to see and listen to today," he said.

Businessmen, academicians, transporters, houseboat owners, Shikarawallahs, farmers, orchardists, government employees, small industrial unit entrepreneurs, and hoteliers, everybody is expecting gifts from the Prime Minister.

"We are expecting Prime Minister Modi to help us live a better life... Kashmir now expects big from the big man," said Sajad Ahmad, 47, who runs a retail shop in Srinagar city.

The majority of people attending the Prime Minister's public rally are hopeful to return home with some good news that touches their lives directly.

Shakeel Lone, 38, from Uri border town is mainly concerned about peace in the areas close to the line of control (LoC) as he lives in one such area. "Peace on the border is my first priority. My family, my home and everything else I own is dependent on peace and normalcy on the LoC. And, Prime Minister Modi is the man who can ensure the safety of my family."

"I want to see the Prime Minister in person while he speaks of his vision for the people of Kashmir," he said.

People working in the hospitality sector like hotels, taxi operators, houseboat owners and guest house owners are upbeat after hearing that the Prime Minister is going to announce a package for the tourism industry.

"We had a tourist boom last year. We expect even larger numbers to visit the Valley this year. Tourism needs better and larger infrastructure than we have at present. We need incentives to do that. I am sure he loves to see Kashmir tourism grow and for that to happen, we need his continued patronage," said Gowhar, 56, a hotel owner.

Imran Fida Bhat, 39, is a daily rated worker in the Jal Shakti Department. He has spent more than 20 years serving for the department. He has been waiting like thousands of others to get their services regularised.

"We are 63,000 families across J&K. We have given the best years of our lives to the department. All previous governments promised to regularise our services, but none have done that so far... I have come to see the Prime Minister do something positive for us. 'Modi Hai To Mumkin Hai'," he said.

"We have all our hopes pinned on him," Imran said as he narrated his story of how difficult it is to send two children to school and keep the wolf away from his door at just Rs 9,000 a month.

Security in and around the Bakshi Stadium has been tightened while ensuring smooth passage of the people.

Police have declared the city a 'Temporary Red Zone' today to ensure that no private drone or Quadcopter is seen in the sky during the VVIP visit.

A multi-tier security ring is in place to provide foolproof security to the Prime Minister and the people attending the public rally.

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