Spells out developmental initiatives
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said development in Jammu and Kashmir has fallen prey to rampant corruption.
“We are taking stringent measures to tackle corruption and punish the wrong-doers”, the Governor said in an interaction with the media here, adding that Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been set up for expeditious investigations and prosecution against the guilty.
The Governor said: “It is important to act fast against the corrupt so that a right message percolates down below in the administrative hierarchy.”
Referring to the menace of corruption, Malik cited an instance saying porters and coolies keep walking distances and spending days without minimum possible woolens in sub zero temperatures during Amarnath yatra those at the helm of affairs in the Valley are living king-size life, perhaps better than ‘Jehangir’ lived. He said if the funds would have been properly utilized, the scenario in Kashmir would have been quite different.
He said immediately after taking over the reins of administration in the State, he had focused on eradication of corruption. He recalled that when he had flagged corruption top on his agenda, a mainstream leader from the Valley had accused him of defaming Kashmiris”.
He said he had to clarify that drive against corruption was not to demean or defame Kashmir.
“In reality, all those people who are indulging in acts of corruption are denting the image of Kashmir”, he maintained.
To the observations that he was encroaching upon the democratic space of political leaders, Governor Malik said, “I am not here to satisfy them (politicians). Personally, I respect them, and interestingly I might be the first Governor who jumped his protocol and had tea with both of them (former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti),” he added.
He said he had no political agenda and his mandate was development, outreach, interaction and addressing the grievances of the people with sincerity.
The Governor said that he was performing as per the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Constitution of India. He said he was discharging his duties for the good of people and in the interests of the State.
The press conference, essentially called to spell out initiatives taken on the development front, the Governor said projects worth several hundred crores of rupees have been initiated in all the three regions of the State with renewed focus.
He said Rs 8000 crore are being spent on the projects, languishing for want of funds for a long. He said the work on the projects and schemes sanctioned under Prime Minister’s Development Package have been fast tracked by removing bottlenecks.
On restoration of the democracy at grass roots level, with a view to empower the people, he said.
“We have successfully completed Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies polls”. “We had nine-phases of Panchayat elections (November 17 to December 12) and four phases of municipal elections (in October) and with the grace of God, cooperation of the people and alertness of forces, not a single sparrow was harmed which is a good thing,” he said.
He said the good things happening in Kashmir are not mentioned at the national media which needs to be changed.
“A minor incident is projected in a wrong way to demonise Kashmir and show it in a bad light. I safely say that as the Governor of Bihar and coming from UP, Jammu and Kashmir is a better place than these,” he said.
He said there was no mention of the polls at national media while on the other hand, had a bird got hurt during these polls, it would have made headline.
He said the Panchayats will get Rs 2,500 crore for development works while the municipalities will get Rs 1,500 crore. A Sarpanch would be entitled to spend Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 crore.
“The elections were meant to empower the people,” he said, adding this would help the politicians to come closer to the people. These elections would also facilitate emergence of new leadership. “The successful conclusion of polls is a good thing which had happened and I salute the administration, the Army and other security forces besides those who came out to vote despite threats”.
Malik said the situation in the State has marked an improvement and is near normal, but expressed displeasure over the “negative publicity” of Kashmir by national media.
Asked about his views on the prevailing situation in the State, he said, “I see a lot of improvement and consider the situation as near normal”.
On the delay in construction of underground bunkers for the safety of people living near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Rajouri Districts, he assured that the construction work will start soon.
“The work on the construction of bunkers will start soon as the Union Home Ministry has given its nod to our proposal,” he said.
He said his administration had asked the deputy commissioners to set aside one day per week to redress public grievances.
He said in addition all the advisors have been directed to visit one district headquarter to pay attention to the grievances of local population in the area. He said “I am myself available to the common masses at any time of the day to address their grievances”. He said we have expedited distribution of relief to the affected population in the State.
He said his administration is focusing on building infrastructure for sports activities.
“Our football team, Real Kashmir, has jumped up the table after registering a win yesterday.
“Deputy Commissioners have been asked to identify land for playfields across the state, 500 auditoriums are getting completed while one international standard stadium each in Srinagar and Jammu are in the final stages of completion,” he said.
He said concerted efforts are being made to tackle the growing unemployment in the State. In this regard, 42,000 jobs are being generated, he said, adding that these posts will be filled up in the next six months. He said the government has done away with the mechanism of interviews to check delays and malpractices. He said 1,000 posts have already been filled in the Health Department in 42 days to meet the requirement on ground zero.
Responding to the media queries related to execution of projects on ground zero, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam clarified Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Corporation has been set up to execute developmental projects in the state. He said works worth Rs 3000 crore have been approved in various sectors while works worth Rs 5000 crore are yet to be sanctioned. He said in the absence of manpower DPR reports are not being prepared. He said soon we will set up two independent cells in Jammu and Kashmir division to prepare DPRs of various projects. He said in the past projects were promised without taking approval. Now all these projects under JKIDC have been initiated with mandatory approvals and time lines have been set for their timely completion.
Advisor to the Governor K Vijay Kumar while responding to the question on delay caused in setting up of State Cancer Institute (SCI) in Government Medical College (GMC) ,Jammu said, formal approval has been granted for setting up Department of Nuclear Medicine.
He said now the focus is on recruiting doctors and rationalisation is taking place to fill the vacant posts of specialists. He said Medical Corporation has been streamlined and further discussions are going on with principals of the Medical Colleges to address the issue and improve the health care delivery system.
Responding to another question on improving sports infrastructure in the State both Governor and his Advisor K Vijay Kumar said that all efforts are being made to promote sports culture in the state and large number of youth have been engaged and roped in for various sports related activities. Work is currently on at MAM Stadium in Jammu and Bakshi Stadium at a cost of Rs 45 crore each and in addition funds have been allocated for 22 districts to create sports facilities for youth. On development of SMART cities in Jammu and Srinagar Chief Secretary said, “We are introducing structural reforms in the state and shortly big announcements will be made as both the capital cities deserve something futuristic”.
Governor Satya Pal Malik addressed media to present a holistic overview of the initiatives taken by the Governor’s Administration on developmental, governance, administrative and welfare fronts. He was flanked by his Advisors B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Umang Narula.
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