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Rahul to Visit J&K on Oct 4

Rahul Gandhi arrives in Kashmir Valley tomorrow on a two-day visit bringing along a strong business delegation including Ratan Tata and Kumar Manglam Birla to a state seeking more investments.

The AICC general secretary is also due to have a meeting with Panchayat members in the Valley on Friday against the backdrop of his call for increasing security of Panchs and Sarpanchs following threats from militants. A sarpanch delegation from the Valley had met Rahul in Delhi last week.

The business delegation is arriving at the invitation of Rahul for an interaction with students of Kashmir university in Srinagar on October five, official sources said today.

For the first time, a business dimension has been lent to Rahul's visit during which he is expected to allay corporate concerns about investing in the border state.

Besides the Chairman of the Tata group and the Aditya Birla group, HDFC chairman Deepak Parikh, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Rajeev Bajaj and Chairman and Managing Director of WIPRO Aziz Premji will be present during Rahul's visit.

42-year-old Rahul had struck an emotional chord with the students of the Kashmir university in September last year when he had said that he was "a Kashmiri" and "the pain and the suffering of this place is my suffering as well".

He had promised to send a delegation of businessmen after several students spoke about the lack of job facilities and also virtual absence of multinationals in the Valley.

Chief Ministers Sheila Dikshit (Delhi) and Tarun Gogoi (Assam) are also likely to be present at the interaction, officials said.

Rahul begins his tour tomorrow from Ladakh region by holding public rallies in Leh and Kargil town.

After a delegation of village heads from J and K met Rahul in Delhi, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah reviewed the situation on Monday during which it was decided to take several steps for ensuring security to Panchs and Sarpanchs.

The Omar government has been credited with holding of Panchayat elections after many decades,

Before reaching the Valley, Gandhi will be attending the foundation stone laying ceremony by Union Minister C P Joshi of Z-Morh Tunnel which is aimed at providing all-weather connectivity with Ladakh.

The tunnel will be 6.5 km long, with two lanes with a parallel escape tunnel on a new alighment between Gagangir and Sonamarg and the ministry has chosen Border Road Organisation (BRO) to complete this project.

The project will be constructed on Build Own Transfer-BOT mode at an estimated cost of about Rs 2,680 crore on the basis of approved guidelines for such projects.

Later tomorrow, the Congress leader will be attending a meeting of the elected state and district committees of Jammu and Kashmir NSUI, students wing of Congress after which he will address the National Executive of the Indian Youth Congress.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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