PM arrives in J&K, to make fresh appeal for talks

PM Manmohan Singh on Monday arrived in J&K to make a fresh call to separatists for talks.

Srinagar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here Monday on a two-day visit during which he is expected to make a fresh call to separatists for talks and announce a financial package for Saffron growers in the Valley.

The Prime Minister was received by Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at the Technical airport here.

He will hold talks with leaders of various political parties in the state including ruling National Conference and main opposition PDP and CPM.

During his visit, the Prime Minister is expected to make a fresh appeal to separatists including Hurriyat Conference for joining the talks.

The Prime Minister will also address the fifth convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

Singh is likely to announce a Rs 200 crore package for the Saffron industry, which is facing tough times due to adulterated saffron flooding the market.

Complaining that they were not finding enough buyers, Saffron growers had staged a demonstration demanding action against those harming their trade.

Singh, who is visiting Kashmir after a gap of seven months, will hold one-to-one talks with the Chief Minister and review the progress of the recommendations made during the two sessions of the Round Table Conference chaired by him.

The visit comes against the backdrop of the `quiet diplomacy` initiated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram with separatist leaders failing to make any headway as the Hurriyat refused to join it owing to pressure from militant groups.

The ruling National Conference is likely to seek early talks on providing greater autonomy in the state as recommended by the Sagir Ahmed Committee set up by the Prime Minister, party sources said.

The Prime Minister will also carry out a review of the Rs 634 crore Srinagar-Leh Transmission line spread over 375 kms.


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