Amid multi-tiered security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today dedicate to the nation India's longest road tunnel+ on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, making it operational for traffic.
Mehbooba said she was also carrying a message of the tour operators of Kashmir who wanted Modi to visit the Valley and tell the tourists across the world that it is a safe place for travellers.
He said the tunnel is expected to cut travel time from Jammu to Srinagar by at least two hours which will increase all time tourism in the state.
He said the youth of Kashmir Valley had to choose between tourism and terrorism to shape their futures. "We want to involve the youth". On one hand, you have tourism and then there is terrorism.
"Over last 40 years, there has been lot of bloodshed". This has done no good to anybody but has only left the valley bloodied.
"So many mothers of Kashmir have lost their sons".
The Chenani-Nashri tunnel is among the longest highway tunnels in Asia.
The tunnel, built at the cost of Rs 2,500 crore in a record time of 5 and a half years by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd, is located at an altitude of 1,200 metres (nearly 4,000 feet) in hard Himalayan terrain. There are two minor bridges on the south and north sides and 4-lane approach roads with Toll Plazas on both ends of the tunnel. The 9.2 km tunnel, which will bypass snow-and landslide -prone Kud, Patnitop and Batote on National Highway 44, marks significant road building firsts in India, including an unprecedented stress on user safety.
"The completion of this tunnel should be seen as an appreciation of congress schemes by the Modi Government".
In such long tunnels, ventilation systems are essential to maintain clean air, permissible carbon dioxide levels and expel harmful vehicle emissions. The Jammu-Srinagar Highway is considered to be the lifeline of the state.
The rebels struck as the police and paramilitary forces were trying to quell some young anti-India protesters who attacked them with rocks, said Bhavesh Chaudhary, a spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force. He said the tunnel would also boost tourism, which will bring economic growth.
"Even the ecologist will praise this tunnel as it will save Himalayas", Modi said. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Minister Mehbooba Mufti was also present.
"My government would not have been able to handle it alone", Mufti said. She expressed hope that "I am sure; Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take Jammu and Kashmir closer to India".