New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the group of union ministers, who, from Saturday, will visit the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, to spread the message of development among not just people from urban areas, but also among those from villages in the Valley.

The Prime Minister made these remarks at a meeting of the Council of Ministers in the national capital last evening. 36 union ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir from January 18-24 as part of a massive outreach programme in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 last August and the splitting of the now-former state into two separate union territories.

The ministers, according to reports, were also asked to spread awareness on various central schemes that will benefit the people at the grass-root level.

The visit, which is being organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), comes just days after a group of 15 foreign envoys, including US ambassador to India Ken Juster, were taken to the Valley to give them a stock of the ground situation there. This was the second batch of foreign envoys to be taken to Kashmir after a group 23 of right-wing European Union (EU) MPs were taken there last October.

Opposition leaders, however, have been repeatedly blocked from visiting Kashmir.

The Valley has been under strict communication lockdown since the move to revoke its special status was announced. While in the coming months, steps have been taken to restore various modes of communication, total normalcy is yet to be restored.