On Thursday, Union Minister Jitendra Singh asserted that days are not far off when it will be possible to unfurl the Indian flag in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

Speaking at an event to rename Chenani-Nashri tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister Jitendra Singh said that he has faith that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the day is not far off when it will be possible to unfurl that tricolour or ‘Nishan’ for which Shyama Prasad Mukherjee sacrificed his life in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

The 9 km-long Chenani-Nashri tunnel, which was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in 2017 has been renamed after former BJP stalwart Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Minister Singh said that due to “some compulsions” in 2017, the tunnel could not be named after Mukherjee.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh credited Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari for accepting the proposal of renaming the tunnel after Shyama Prasad Mukherjee without wasting time.

Singh also noted that 66 years ago on May 11, 1953, Mukherjee was arrested from Lakhanpur in an illegal manner without any FIR, charge sheet or warning and was taken to Srinagar through this Chenani-Nashri road. After Mukherjee’s death on June 23, 1953 his mother wrote to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to hold an enquiry into his death.

“For some reasons then Prime Minister Nehru did not pay heed to that letter, no enquiry was done. It is a new era now. It was Nehru government then, today it is the Modi government. That probe or lapse can not be compensated but this tribute for the coming generation will preserve his heritage and memory. The lapse on part of Nehru government has been atoned by Modi government,” he said.

The Modi government’s decision to rename the tunnel comes over two months after the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370.

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Jitendra Singh’s recent statement is just a reiteration of his stand on the issue of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. Earlier in September, Jitendra Singh had said that the day was not far when Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) will be a part of India.

The decision to abrogate Article 370 provisions was taken to restore the position of Jammu and Kashmir as it was when handed over by its last ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, he said.

“The abrogation of Article 370 will benefit the common man of Jammu and Kashmir, ending their exploitation. The day is not far when the PoK will be a part of India,” he had said at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh.

The Chenani–Nashri Tunnel was built at the cost of Rs 2,600 crore. The tunnel, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches, reduces the journey time by two hours and provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.

The Shyama Prasad Mukherjee tunnel is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35-metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with ‘Cross Passages’ connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres.

The tunnel has features such as an integrated traffic control system, surveillance, ventilation and broadcast systems, fire fighting system and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.