Valley shutdown: A silent Kashmir waits to welcome PM Modi

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Apr. 2 (ANI): At a time when Jammu and Kashmir will be getting access of the longest tunnel of the nation, the state seems to be enveloped in lull following the Hurriyat calling for a complete shut down in the state against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Where seldom vehicles are plying on the roads, all shops business establishments remain to be closed.

Security has been beefed up and authorities have deployed huge police and para military forces at vital places to stop protests .

Lal chowk and its adjoining areas have been sealed by the police.

A united faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a state-wide shutdown against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting the Valley later in the day to inaugurate the longest highway tunnel, Chenani-Nashri tunnel.

However, Union Minister for Roads and Transport Nitin Gadkari earlier on Friday called for support from Hurriyat leaders and said that it is for the first time that a Prime Minister was devoting India's longest tunnel to Jammu and Kashmir and the people of India.

"It is a historical event and this tunnel is the heart of the state. It will reduce the distance between Jammu and Kashmir. Every day, fuel worth Rs. 28 lakh will be saved. Also, it will save 2 hours. This will work as an engine in the development of Jammu and Kashmir. I hope that the people of the Valley will accept it. Hurriyat should also extend its support if something this big is happening in the state," Gadkari told ANI.

The tunnel on NH-44 which connects Jammu with Srinagar, will reduce travel time between the two cities by up to two hours. It achieves a distance-reduction of 31 kilometres, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches. The estimated daily fuel savings are to the tune of Rs. 27 lakhs.

Besides avoiding large scale deforestation and tree-cutting, the tunnel will provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur, to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.

The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)