The youth in Jammu and Kashmir will not suffer the way their parents and grandparents did, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday during his first official visit to the Union Territory after the abrogation of Article 370 three years ago, PTI reported.

On August 5, 2019, the Centre had revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. The erstwhile state was also bifurcated into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Prominent Kashmiri political leaders were detained and a months-long lockdown was imposed in the Valley. Before the move, the government had also imposed a communications blockade in the Valley.

On Sunday, the prime minister claimed that removing Article 370 has empowered the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, The Indian Express reported. There are now more than 30,000 panchayat representatives who are managing village affairs, he added.

Modi also inaugurated Rs 20,000 crore worth of development projects in Jammu. This includes the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel, which will reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours, and two hydroelectric projects.

He then addressed the 30 lakh elected rural local body members across the country from a rally in Jammu’s Samba district to mark the National Panchayati Raj Day. The Valley’s residents are attending such an event after decades, Modi said.

He promised the youth of the Valley that they will not be witness to miseries like the previous generations. “You will not live such a life of trouble,” he added. “I assure this.”

The prime minister also told the citizens that at one point, even a file used to take two to three weeks to reach Jammu and Kashmir. “Today, I feel happy to see that a 500 KV solar power project at Palli panchayat has been completed in just three weeks,” he added.

In the last seven decades before the revocation of Article 370, Modi said, the Union Territory had received private investment worth Rs 17,000 crore. In the last two years, however, the amount has increased to Rs 38,000 crore, he added.