Lauds police, SFs; terms terrorism as biggest concern
STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Describing 2019 as a year of momentous change for the people, Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Saturday said the abrogation of temporary provisions have removed the artificial legal and economic barriers between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country. “Jammu and Kashmir is fully integrated with the country in true sense of the term”, the Lt Governor said in a message, greeting people on 71st Republic Day. He said the legal architecture and system prevailing in the rest of the country has been made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, which now stands on the same pedestal with people having same rights, benefits and prospects. Women and weaker sections like Scheduled Castes & Tribes, West Pakistan Refugees and Safai karmacharis, now have equal democratic and economic rights. Barriers to industrial growth and trade have been removed’, he added. Murmu said the constitutional changes have opened new vistas of development and the opportunities are needed to be capitalised. The initiatives already taken for putting Jammu and Kashmir on the path of sustained development shall be given a further push. However, governmental efforts alone can’t make the difference and the people need to come forward and supplement the initiatives, he said, adding, “We will take Jammu and Kashmir to the path of rapid growth and development as envisioned by our Prime Minister. Let us all join hands to build a new Jammu and Kashmir”. Lauding the bravery of police and security forces for battling terrorism and ensuring that there is public order in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lt Governor said the Nation is proud of them. He also paid homage to civilians who have fallen prey to wanton violence. “Terrorism remains our biggest concern as innocent youth are indoctrinated to take misguided path. Although incidents of terrorism have come down drastically, the threat posed by it requires attention not only to eradicate it but also prevent loss due to it. Our valiant security personnel need to continue to be on guard to thwart any attempts to disturb peace across Jammu and Kashmir, thereby disrupting the development, growth and opportunities for peace loving people”, he maintained.
The Lt Governor said J&K is now at the doorstep of a brighter future and as it progresses in step with the rest of the country, there will be a boost to private investment and great opportunity for the people. The economy will grow with more economic opportunities, businesses will thrive and the people will gain on all fronts. 55 Central schemes for the benefit of individuals such as scholarships, pensions, insurance schemes, income support schemes and loans will be fully implemented with 100 per cent coverage. All toll posts in Jammu and Kashmir have been abolished from 1st January 2020, he said and assured entrepreneurs that the Government will take all measures to ensure that the local industry becomes competitive.
He said the past one and half years have been transformative for Jammu and Kashmir in many ways. Under Governor’s and President’s Rule, the goal has been simple – Good Governance and Delivering Development. To provide Good Governance, a people-centric and development-oriented work culture has been introduced with a focus on results. The goal has been on timely completion of projects and delivery of benefits. In future, more measures would be taken to ensure that government is run in a rule based manner with no arbitrariness or delays. Accountability will be ensured at all levels. The primary duty of government employees is public service and this will be ensured, he added.
He enumerated the achievements of the past 18 months and said, implementation of Prime Ministers Development Programme (PMDP) has been accelerated with substantial progress as compared to the previous 3 years. Work has begun on the two AIIMSs, IIT, IIM, tourism projects, Jammu Ring Road, Akhnoor Road, Chenani – Sudh Mahadev road, Pakal Dul and Kiru hydropower projects, power transmission and distribution projects, Smart Cities, Dal lake, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project, jobs and houses for Kashmiri migrants, and rehabilitation of Displaced Persons from POK and Chamb. Many of these are either fully or almost complete such as the two big stadiums in Jammu & Srinagar, raising 4 new police battalions, improving healthcare infrastructure in districts, flyover in Srinagar and the first phase of the Jhelum flood management programme. JTFRP, where expenditures were less than 1 per cent in July 2018, now has 85 per cent projects awarded and under implementation. This demonstrates the seriousness with which work is being done.
On languishing projects, the Lt Governor said the JKIDFC has delivered remarkably. Projects as old as 25 years are being completed rapidly with almost 50 per cent of the 2,263 projects approved to be completed by March 2020 and most of the rest by March 2021. The impact of this in terms of bridges, roads, drinking water supply schemes, sports facilities and healthcare infrastructure is visible on the ground, he added.
He elaborated by saying that many other iconic projects have also moved ahead. The long pending Shahpur Kandi project on Ravi is under construction and will irrigate 32,000 ha by 2023. The Ratle and Kiru projects will generate almost 1500 MW of power in 5 years. The Ujh project, which is in the final stages of sanction, will irrigate another 32,000 hectares. He said Jammu will soon get gas pipeline and then it will go to Srinagar.
“We will build 2,000 km roads under PMGSY by March, 2020. Two metro transit projects in Jammu and Srinagar have been finalized and the Elevated Light Rail Systems here will revolutionise the urban landscape of the two capital cities. The Metropolitan Region Development Authorities in Jammu & Srinagar, covering over 2,000 sq kms each, have finalized large regional development plans with over 100,000 units of new housing in a modern, metropolitan environment. Two iconic IT Towers are being built in Srinagar and Jammu which will generate thousands of jobs and also be a landmark on the skyline of the cities”, Murmu added.
On the revival of the Dal-Nageen lakes, the Lt Governor said these are being revived to their pristine glory through a multipronged approach including construction of a western foreshore road, developing Dole Demb and three locations for houseboats with bio-digesters, modern STPs for affluent treatment and beautification of the water front.
While dwelling upon strengthening grassroots democracy, he said this is part of the goal of good governance. Governance is best administered at local levels. He referred to holding of elections to Panchayats, Block Development Councils (BDCs) and municipal bodies and said Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have an opportunity now to develop model villages to realize Gandhiji’s dream of modern villages in a developed India. To make these bodies more effective, the honorarium of BDC Chairpersons has been fixed at a reasonable level with a superior status. He said the government will establish Digital Village Centers (DVCs) at Gram Panchayats across Jammu and Kashmir equipped with IT infrastructure and connectivity. He said the 74th Constitutional Amendment strengthens Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and devolves power to them. ULBs are being strengthened by devolving and decentralization of powers and responsibilities. Following the ULB elections, these bodies have received Rs. 1,180 Crore grants so far and will get Rs. 1,335 Crore more. These empowered bodies are going to be the institutions which will transform the urban landscape, he added.
He also referred to the visit of 36 Union Ministers to J&K as part of Centre’s outreach programme.
He referred to the Prime Minister’s visit to Leh, Jammu and Srinagar last year, saying not only did he inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of projects worth over Rs 35,000 crores; he also laid down a vision of progress and prosperity for Jammu & Kashmir. In June 2019, the Union Home Minister came and emphasized upon the importance of prioritizing individual centric development progammes including pensions, scholarships, animal husbandry and horticulture programmes, handloom and handicraft schemes, so that the benefits flow to even the smallest households. He said over 1.3 lakh new pension cases have been sanctioned last year.
The Lt Governor also referred to damages caused by untimely snow last year and measures taken to meet the challenge.
He said the Power Department has been unbundled into 5 companies, while protecting the interests of existing employees. This will improve the power scenario gradually. The two MDs of Discoms are working to maintain the power system functional in both divisions. Buffer stocks of poles and transformers have been kept in districts to reduce down time. As transmission and distribution projects get completed and the corporations run on sound commercial lines, there will be significant improvement power scenario, he added.
He said the health system has been a stellar performer in the last year. 7 new medical colleges will lead to doubling the number of seats. We have approved creation of over 1000 posts at Ayurveda College Akhnoor, at Unani College Ganderbal, at New Pediatrics Hospital, Bemina, at Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience-Kashmir and at New Maternity Hospital, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu. Jammu and Kashmir is a leader in Ayushman Bharat with 57per cent of families having a Gold Card. The Health Care Investment Policy and the 2 Medi-cities at Vijaypur and Awantipora will make Jammu and Kashmir a healthcare tourism destination.
“The agriculture, horticulture and animal & sheep husbandry sectors are vital for generating livelihoods for over 70 per cent of our people. The Market Intervention Scheme for apples ensured that a minimum price for apple farmers was maintained and apple trade got restarted even under terrorist threats and action. E-platforms are being established at Srinagar and Jammu. New Mandis are being set up and we have plans of reforming the Mandi system. 25 CA Stores with storage capacity of 1.17 Lakh MTs have been set up in the private sector. The Saffron Mission projects will be completed this year to enhance saffron productivity and production”, he said while reiterating the commitment of tripling saffron production in J&K.
A mega Sheep Farm has been set up at Khimber near Srinagar. Poultry estates for private investors are being set up in Kashmir and Jammu. A Dairy Mission is being set up to make Jammu and Kashmir surplus in milk and other products and make it a net exporter. As the largest high grade wool producer in the country, Jammu and Kashmir will develop a vibrant and a remunerative wool processing sectors’, he said.
“Jammu and Kashmir intends to be a leader under the Jal Jeevan Mission for providing piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal Se Jal) to every household. We will complete the work in 7 districts this year itself and the rest in 2021. In 2019, we approved 52 new colleges across Jammu and Kashmir and created 572 posts for them. We will establish 10 new professional colleges in Jammu and Kashmir. Each college shall be mapped with ITIs and Polytechnic for skill training. Super 50 classes were established in 10 districts with an intake capacity of 100 students per centre to coach students for professional entrance examination. Further, over 29,000 children of nomadic population were provided teaching facility in 1,378 Seasonal Centers. The conversion of over 36,000 ReTs as regular teachers is an enviable achievement”, he said adding Tourism promotion is a priority and fairs and media promotion is being done to publicize the unique enchanting natural beauty of Jammu and Kashmir. “On the pilgrimage tourism side, Sudhmahadev and Mantalai are being developed as important pilgrimage tourist destinations. Infrastructure at Dargah Hazratbal is underway. Around 40 cafeteria-cum-public conveniences are being set up at various locations. The illumination work of the Tulip garden stands completed and the musical fountains in Dal Lake are a treat to watch. We intend to revamp the tourism set up to make it effective and efficient. In addition to existing locations, we will promote new destinations in both Kashmir and Jammu provinces. There will be a separate session on tours and travels and tourism in the ensuing Investors Summit”, he maintained.
“Government has begun providing 26 Government to Citizen (G2C) online services of 9 Departments. In addition, digitization of office records of departments is being done through a robust Document Management System (DMS) by adopting best industrial standards and quality checks. The Forest department launched an integrated plantation initiative called “Green J&K Drive” under which over 20 lakh plants have been planted so far with a target of 50 lakh plants.
An independent Registration Department for registration of deeds & documents has been set up with 67 sub-registrars and necessary staff”, he said adding that Private sector investment is the key to growth and employment and new industrial policy 2020 for large & mega units and for msmes has been prepared with 14 sectoral policies in the pipeline and with a list of ready to invest projects. The Government is seriously working on a Mission for Youth with areas of intervention including livelihood generation/skill development, education, skill development, financial assistance, sports including setting up sports leagues, recreation, counseling and therapy, and handholding support, he said adding that recruitments shall be done in a transparent manner with a level playing field, giving opportunity to local youth. “The reservation policy will be rationalized. All this will be done with a proper legal backing and recruitments will be resumed soon”, he said.
“The law agencies required to put restrictions on many fronts. These have been largely relaxed in a gradual manner. We facilitated people to perform their tasks even under difficult circumstances. I thank the people of Jammu and Kashmir for cooperating on this front. These restrictions were necessary owing to the problems being created and propaganda from across the border. Our priority was that there should be no bloodshed which we have achieved”, he averred adding a substantial number of bunkers are now complete in border areas of Jammu and the rest would be completed soon. “To improve investigation of Cyber Crime, two Cyber Police Stations have been set up, one each at Jammu and Srinagar. Out of 2014 sanctioned posts for 2 Women Police Battalions, the process of recruitment against 1350 direct recruit posts is in progress. Besides, out of 2014 posts sanctioned for 2 Border Battalions, the process of recruitment against 1350 direct recruit posts is in progress”, he said.
“These are historic times. Jammu and Kashmir is seeing a new dawn. A dawn which promises hope, a dawn which will bring prosperity, a dawn which will lead to progress and a dawn which will usher J&K towards peace”, he maintained.
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