Describing the new Government in J&K as a model of unity in diversity, the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Monday said that it is in the State’s interest to partner with a strong Centre to put J&K firmly on the path of peace, development and self-reliance.
The Chief Minister was replying to the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s Address in the Legislative Council today.
During his hour-long speech, Mufti said the new Government has been given a rare opportunity by the people to provide a smart and transparent government in collaboration with the strong NDA Government at the Centre. “Our Common Minimum Programme is in the public domain. We will fulfil wishes and aspirations of all the people, for which we need an enabling atmosphere that promotes peace in the region,” said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister stated that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a massive mandate to rule India and we have formed an alliance with his party to script a new era of development and good governance in the State. “This is not a fractured mandate but a verdict to integrate Kashmir with Jammu and Ladakh and connect J&K with the rest of the country,” the Chief Minister said and added that the new Government will facilitate and initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all the stakeholders in the State.
Urging India to take a lead in engaging all SAARC countries, including Pakistan, in the dialogue process to usher in a new era of reconciliation, the Chief Minister said the PDP-BJP Government in J&K has the legitimacy it requires to fulfill the wishes and aspirations of the people who voted with great hope and expectations.
Describing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a great statesman who seized the opportunity in Kashmir to extend a hand of friendship to Pakistan, the Chief Minister said New Delhi has to take a leaf out of his vision by writing a new chapter with its western neighbour, which is the only bottleneck in ending perpetual conflict in the region that has denied the people the rich dividends of peace. “We can change friends but not neighbours,” he said and called upon Pakistan to reciprocate to the positive steps that the Government of India has taken to bring peace in the region.
Emphasizing on protecting the special status of J&K as it gives the people of the State a unique place in the country, the Chief Minister said, “The peace-loving people of the State rejected the Two-Nation Theory and acceded to India, which gave it a special place in its Constitution.” He said the people living in all the three regions of the State should cherish this unique position that has been given to them.
Referring to J&K’s great record in maintaining bonds of amity and companionship, the Chief Minister remembered Mahatma Gandhi when, in 1947 amid bloodshed of Partition, he described J&K as a shining example of secularism.
Stating that the purpose of the alliance with BJP is to give people a stable and representative Government, the Chief Minister said the coalition partners will strike the right balance and create an atmosphere of peace in a region that has seen strife and conflict for more than two decades.
On the security front, the Chief Minister said that his Government will take steps to review AFSPA and the need for de-notifying Disturbed Areas Act from areas where militancy has considerably reduced, which will allow the Union Government to take a final view on the continuation of AFSPA in these areas.
He also referred to the Chatergam and Macchil incidents where the Centre took stern action against the security personnel for not following the Standing Operating Procedures.
The Chief Minister stated that all lands other than those given to the security forces on the basis of lease, licenses and acquisition in which due process of law has not been followed, shall be returned to the rightful owners, except in a situation where retaining the lands is absolutely imperative in view of specific security requirement. He said in any case, monetary remuneration, be it in the form of rents or compensation, will be made fairly at market rates.
Flagging the issue of rehabilitation and compensation to the victims of 2014 flood fury, the Chief Minister said he will send a delegation headed by the Finance Minister to talk to New Delhi for expediting a special package for rehabilitation and compensation of the flood victims. He said all affected people, especially small-time businessmen who had no insurance cover, as well as destitutes, will be provided relief.
Making reference about Government’s resolve to address the issue of one-time settlement of refugees from across the LoC, the Chief Minister said the Coalition Government will take all measures for sustenance and livelihood of the West Pakistan Refugees. “A Committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh, will look into all aspects of the issue,” he stated.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the wrong media perception about the exact number of detenues held under PSA. He said there are only 37 detenues under PSA, out of which 20 are foreign nationals, while only 17 locals, including 06 timber smugglers, have been detained under PSA.
The Chief Minister also hailed Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for introducing the concept of Single Line Administration which was replicated by the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, R. K. Hegde.
Highlighting the failure of the previous Government in holding civic body elections, the Chief Minister said the State will adopt the best possible Panchayati Raj System of the country in the State to empower people at the grassroots level. “My Government will work to make Jammu and Srinagar Mega Cities for which liberal funding will be availed from the Centre.” he stated.
Mufti said his Government will provide greater autonomy to institutions like State Accountability Commission and the State Vigilance Commission to bring in an accountable and transparent Government. He said he will also explore the possibility of giving security of tenure to those heading the Commissions.
The Chief Minister said his Government will explore the possibility of working out modalities for transferring the Dulhasti and Uri Hydro Power Projects to J&K State.
The Chief Minister also laid stress on the significance of better connectivity including roads and railways in the State. He also spoke at length about developing the Horticulture & Power sectors as these are directly linked with growth of economy in the State.