KL News Network
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti cautioned against the activities of some elements trying to disturb peace in the State. She said Article 370 represents the pluralistic ethos of the State and disturbing it would go not only against the interests of the State and but the country as well.
Replying to the discussion on demand of grants for the Departments under her charge, the Chief Minister appealed members cutting across party lines to play their role in countering the activities of such elements. She said within and outside the state such elements not only jeopardise the positive work done by various shades of political opinion but also put people of the State to immense trouble.
Terming Article 370 a protection to the pluralistic ethos of the State, the Chief Minister said those asking for its scrapping don’t know that it is linked to the political character of the people of the State. She said it is Article 370 which has persuaded the people of the State to reject the monolith concept of living and adopt a pluralistic way in tune with the traditions and ethos of the place.
By saying so, Mehbooba Mufti said, these elements are actually bruising the soul of this ethos resulting in counter elements which ultimately goes against the interests of the State and the country. She said Article 370 would be preserved in its form and efforts to dilute it would not be allowed.
The Chief Minister said it is a matter of satisfaction for her that the Agenda of Alliance (AoA) has become a referral point not only in the State but at the national level as well. She said even the opposition is seeking implementation of AoA as it is for the first time such a document of substance for governance has been prepared. She said effective implementation of the same holds key to the resolution of many of the difficulties of the State. She said she has met the Prime Minister and union Home Minister a number of times and both have expressed their keen interest in the effective implementation of AoA.
On the governance front, Mehbooba Mufti said the biggest achievement of her Government has been to ensure transparency in governance. She said not a single backdoor appointment was made during her tenure despite the fact that thousands of appointments were made by J&K PSC and SSRB. She said norms were strictly adhered to while making recruitments of constables and SPOs in Police. She suggested single window recruitment for constabulary instead of battalion wise and framing of a comprehensive policy for SPOs and constables.
The Chief Minister assured the House that all the decisions taken by the District Development Boards would be implemented in a committed manner. She said every constituency would be developed irrespective of who represents it. In this regard, she announced that the limits of Constituency Development Fund would be raised to Rs 3 crore.
The Chief Minister disclosed that the cumbersome process of plan finalization has been done away with and a time frame has been fixed for preparation of DPRs. She said a Chief Secretary headed committee is monitoring the execution of these projects which is also supplemented by online supervision through e-samiksha.
Describing the execution of Rs. 80, 000 Prime Minister’s Development Project as a challenge to the administrative machinery, Mehbooba Mufti hoped the engineers and planners would rise to the occasion to create benchmark of excellence. She said despite turmoil the DPRs for various World Bank funded projects were prepared and got approved.
She said her Government has not believed in and won’t resort to any regional discrimination in development. “In 2015, 1400 to 1500 KMs of road length was macadamized in Kashmir province which had got damaged due to floods of previous year, around 1300 KMs of road length was macadamized in Jammu province during 2016”, she added. She said Rs. 30 crore each have been released to LAHDC Leh and Kargil to clear the pending liabilities.
Expressing dismay over the death and devastation during the unrest of last year, the Chief Minister said her Government is continuously reviewing the status of PSA detentions in the State. She said during the last few days only 30 such detainees were released by the Government. “Also two elderly persons from Baramulla, as pointed by certain members, have also been released”, she said.
Mehbooba Mufti said in a very short span her Government has cleared as much as 1150 cases of compensation under SRO-43, some of which were very chronic and around 15 years old. She said she has asked the DGP to install CCTV cameras at all police stations to ensure transparency and deployment of more lady cops to ensure gender parity at police stations. She flagged the idea of reservation for women in constable recruitment so that enough female constabulary is available at police stations and dealing with crimes against women.
Mehbooba Mufti announced starting of air service to far flung areas like Dachan, Wadwan, Marwah, Gurez, Karah and like areas for which the passengers would be paying only the 20% of ticket amount and rest 80% would be borne by the Government. She also announced release of Rs. Five crore for developing air strip at Kishtwar.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of Tribal affairs Department, said Rs. 100 crore would be spent on tribal welfare in the State. This includes, she said, capacity building among youth of the community besides developing cluster villages with improved facilities, milk villages and setting up of schools, hospitals, connectivity etc. in their areas.
Responding to other demands of legislators, the Chief Minister announced that Travelling Allowance of members of legislature would be raised to Rs 2 lakhs and their sitting fee would also be enhanced to Rs 2000 per sitting. She also announced raising the car and housing loan amounts in respect of legislators in view of the rising prices.
The Chief Minister said Rs 200 crore have been earmarked for the development of sports in the State and also announced that 1500 physical education teachers would be recruited to meet up the challenge of sports training in Jammu & Kashmir. She also announced the adjustment of Rehbar e Janglat in the Forest Department.
The Chief Minister recalled the role of employees during the tough times of summer unrest and complimented their dedication and devotion. She said though the snowfall this winter was of very high volume, roads were cleared quickly and other services were also restored quickly. “Though speed of work slowed down on many projects due to unrest but things are picking up again”, she said.
The Chief Minister said an Aiwan e Saqafat would be set up at Srinagar soon for the benefit and encouragement of media fraternity. She also announced a hike of upto 50 percent in the rates of Government advertisements.
Saying that tourism is not what is to be built but what is to be offered, Mehbooba Mufti said she has directed the Department to involve local people in the development of tourism related projects so that they become part of Government’s efforts to promote the trade on long term basis. She said the Government has floated a concept of border tourism which would be given requisite push. She said Ranjit Sagar, Mantalai, Sudhmahadev, Jammu and Patnitop cable care projects have been taken up in Jammu province to make it an independent tourist destination.
The Chief Minister said recently she launched an ambitious Rs. 42 crore development project for Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar and many more like Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum tourist circuit are coming up in Kashmir province. She said recently four new Tourist Development Authorities were constituted by the Government which would bring the respective areas into focus. She laid stress on the development of catchment areas of these projects besides involvement of local youth in tourism promotion.
Terming youth as an asset for a society, the Chief Minister said Himayat and Udaan projects are being re oriented to get more and more youth from the State adjusted in corporate sector of the country. She said 2.5 lakh youth would be trained under these projects this year and local business community would also be roped in to create jobs for them at home also. She said education and youth activities in the State have become a prominent activity in recent months.