PM begins two-day visit to Kashmir

Srinagar, June 7 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday arrived on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir where he is to address a convocation ceremony and announce a revival package for the saffron industry.

The special plane carrying the prime minister, his wife Gursharan Kaur and other members of his delegation landed at Srinagar airport around 12.30 p.m.

Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chauhan, T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the prime minister, Shiv Shankar Menon, the national security advisor, and Harish Khare, media advisor to Manmohan Singh, are part of the team.

Governor N.N. Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his father and union minister Farooq Abdullah and senior state cabinet ministers received the prime minister.

State Congress chief Saifuddin Soz as well as civil and military officials were present at the airport.

The prime minister is scheduled to address the 5th convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) here Monday at its convention complex on the banks of the Dal Lake.

A Rs.200 crore package to revive the Kashmiri saffron industry, which is going through a downturn because of adulterated saffron flooding the markets, is expected to be announced by the prime minister.

He is also likely to renew his call to separatists to resume political dialogue with the central government. He will discuss the recommendations of the five working groups with the state government.

The working groups were set up after the roundtable conference here in 2006 held by Manmohan Singh.

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