STATE TIMES NEWS SRINAGAR: The purpose of the Centre’s outreach programme in Jammu and Kashmir is to get firsthand account of problems being faced by the people and address them, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Tuesday. Naqvi was the first Union minister to visit Kashmir on Tuesday as part of the Centre’s outreach programme. “The objective of this dialogue is to go close to the people, listen to their problems and needs and also find solutions to their problems,” the Union minister for minority Affairs told reporters here.
Naqvi, who laid the foundation stone for a development project at Harwan on the outskirts of the city, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to ensure that the benefits of the positive changes initiated by the Central government should reach the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The aspirations and expectations of the people were not upheld and the corruption had eaten into Jammu and Kashmir…Some people had benefited themselves but we want prosperity for all,” Naqvi said.
Asked why only five ministers were visiting Kashmir against 31 going to Jammu, he said the present outreach programme was just a beginning.
“This is not the last programme. This initiative will continue,” the minister said.
Naqvi refused to comment on criticism from some quarters about the ministers for not including seven districts of Kashmir in their outreach programme.
Earlier, he said that the Central Government wants a new dawn of development and accountability in the functioning of government machinery in Jammu & Kashmir.
At the Public Outreach Programme and E-inauguration/foundation stone laying ceremony at Harwan block in Srinagar, Naqvi said that the Center’s outreach programme provides an opportunity for people to raise their demands and seek their resolution. He said the huge gathering at today’s event reflects the interest of people in development of their place.
“It is time for people to take benefit of development schemes. J&K should be part of developmental story of India. Our government wants people of J&K as first beneficiaries of any developmental programme,” he told the gathering.
He added that central government is monitoring and ensuring that funds that are meant for developmental schemes reach to the grass root level.
“Central governments were always releasing funds for J&K, but there was no accountability on the spending. They were going into the pockets of few people,” he said.
Regarding the Haj quota this year, Naqvi said they would try to accommodate all the Haj aspirants from Jammu & Kashmir.
“More than 2 lakh Hajis go for Haj every year from India. We ensure all the facilities are available to the Hajis. To ensure transparency India is the first country to digitize details of journey of pilgrims,” he said.
He also said that to encourage youth to take different job-oriented courses, skill development courses are being imparted for minority communities.
Advisor to Lt Governor, Farooq Khan and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary were also present on the occasion.
The function was also attended by large number of people from different areas of Srinagar.
Naqvi, in presence of Advisor Khan, e-inaugurated the 5×44 meter trussed Girder Bridge over River Jehlum at Malroo which has been constructed at the cost of Rs 16.53 crore. He also e-inaugurated a mega 1223.69 sqm Forest Protection Force(FPF) office complex at Bemina which was constructed at a cost of Rs 6.62 crore.
The Union Minister also laid e-foundation of High School Building at Dara to be constructed at a cost of Rs 97.01 lakh.
On the occasion Advisor Khan said that it is a golden opportunity for the people of J&K to raise their issues with the Union Ministers.
“It will also help the Ministers to know the status of various schemes/programmes on ground,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary during his welcome address gave historical background of Harwan area.
Later, Union Minister also toured the Dal Lake and interacted with members of boatmen community. He heard their demands and assured them that Central Government is working on various fronts to promote tourism in Kashmir.
Later the Union Minister met various public deputations as a part of outreach programme launched by Central government.
A delegation led by BDC Harwan Chairperson raised various demands regarding augmentation of road, water and electricity infrastructure in the area. They also demanded early completion of a school building in the area. The Union Minister assured that their genuine demands would be addressed.
Residents of Gujjar Basti demanded accountability of funds released by the central government for welfare of tribal population besides implementation of Forest Act in J&K UT. The delegation also demanded up gradation of basic amenities in their area.
The Minister assured them that all their demands will be taken up on priority.
A delegation of National Youth Corps volunteers demanded regularisation of their services.
The Minister enquired from them about their role in government departments and assured them that their demands will be put up at appropriate level.
A group of contractors working with Rural Development Department demanded release of their pending bills of wage/ material liability. The Minister assured them that their demands will be resolved at the earliest.
A delegation of Gujjar youth of Kashmir province demanded Gojri to be included in the 8th schedule besides political reservation in the state. They also demanded setting up Tribal Research Center in Kashmir University on the pattern of Jammu University.
On the occasion, Advisor Farooq Khan informed the delegation that Museum and research center is already coming up in Kashmir and will be functional soon.
The Union Minister assured the delegation that their genuine demands will be taken up on priority.
A delegation of businessmen demanded promotion of local trade and crafts at the national and international level in mega trade fairs.
The Minister informed the delegation that Centre is keen to uplift the local trade and crafts for the welfare of the artisans.
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