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Seeking mandate of the people to accelerate developmental activities in remotest and far-flung areas, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad Saturday said that Congress was committed for the betterment and upliftment of the backward and under-developed areas.

According to a statement issued to KNS, accompanied by Congress Minister for PHE, Flood Control and Irrigation, Sham Lal Sharma, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare,  Ghulam Nabi Azad  held series of public meetings in remote and hilly belt of twin border districts Poonch-Rajouri here via Chopper services and sought vote for Congress candidate for Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary Constituency, Madan Lal Sharma on development plank.

Azad addressed public gatherings at Mandi, Darhal, Khawaas, Pirri and Devak. Mr Azad reminded the people about various developmental projects which were started during his tenure as Chief Minister for the development of this region. “Many projects are still incomplete”, he said and sought support of the people to finish that incomplete projects to improve their socio-economic conditions.

Observing that Congress is contesting Lok Sabha elections on development plank, Azad said that during its regime Congress had proved how to deliver good governance to the people. He reminded that it was during his tenure that sincere efforts were made to complete work on Mughal road. He said that the dream of making Mughal road functional was fulfilled only during the regime of Congress led government in the State.”As a Chief Minister I had personally intervened to make it sure that this road should be made functional”, he recalled and mentioned that credit goes to Congress that vehicular movement on this historical road was started.

Azad availed this opportunity to inform the it was all due to the efforts to Congress led government at Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir that points at LoC were opened for trade. Reiterating that the cross-LoC trade and travel are the only achievements for the people of Jammu and Kashmir since independence in their effort to end the siege around the state, Azad said that time has come to take these relations to next level. “The trade and travel across the Line of Control shall not only be strengthen but a more effective mechanism should be established to curb any attempt to causea setback to the process of reconciliation”, he said and assured that process of cross LoC trade would be made easier in the days to come.

He said that the LoC trade had a vast potential of growth and so had the travel between the two parts of the erstwhile state. He said the hassle free trade and travel could do a great extent neutralise the negative effects of partition on our state which was a hub of international trade before 1947 but has been reduced to dead end.

Highlighting the contribution of Congress party at Centre in the development of Rajouri and Poonch district, Ghulam Nabi Azad listed down numerous projects executed through various centrally sponsored schemes in the twin border districts. The sanctioning of five Medical Colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, that included three from Jammu region and two for Kashmir valley, Congress stalwart highlighted that “Sanctioning of a Medical College for Rajouri and Poonch district is a pointer to the fact that Congress led UPA is aware of the problems of this border and hilly belt. Had Congress not concerned about your problems, the Medical College would not have been sanction for you”.

Giving a detail account of the contributions of Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare especially for Rajouri and Poonch district, Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed out that “I still remember when there used to unprovoked firing from across the border besides armed terrorists unleashing reign of terror on innocent civilians. But we fought it with iron hands and now the people are living in peace. After the end of militancy, new era of development was started by Congress. My department provided number of Hospitals, First Referral Units, Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres and NTPCs wherever there was requirement in this hilly belt”. “Besides 167 Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees, at least 8 Mobile Medical Units and Ambulances have been kept at various identified areas exclusively for the services of people of Rajouri and Poonch,” stated Mr Azad.

“Crores have been spent for the construction of number of new roads under Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as well as Central Road Fund (CRF) to ensure every hilly and remote village is connected with each other. Besides, number of such construction works are under way and would be completed soon, which would help to eradicate the problems of local populace to a large extent. Mughal Road which connects Poonch-Rajouri with entire Kashmir Valley initially was hanging for fate after its opening was sub judice in the context of wild life protection, but we (J&K Govt) pleaded for its opening in the court of law and completed it with the cost of rupees 641 crorers ,” highlighted  Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Azad cautioned the people against designs of divisive forces;  Azad said that opposition PDP is contesting Lok Sabha elections only to give indirect benefit to BJP in these elections in Jammu region. “PDP candidates are not going to win elections but they are in the fray only to divide secular votes to help divisive forces like BJP for political gains”, he said and exhorted the people to cast votes in favour of coalition candidate Madan Lal Sharma for growth and development and for strengthening communal harmony and brotherhood.

Countering BJP’s negative campaign against Congress, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad urged the people to ask BJP what their leaders did when BJP headed the NDA at centre. “And you will get the answer as nothing,” quipped Mr Azad.


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