SRINAGAR: The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that the Prime Minister’s commitment to the development of J&K is turning into reality and work regarding the same is in full swing. He stated that the PM’s development initiatives in J&K have created an emotional bond between the people and the country. “Central schemes directly benefit the people and I am glad that work is going on at the ground level,” the minister added.
Addressing the media persons here in Srinagar Sh. Puri said people are investing in the economic development in the Union Territory of J&K because of the Central Government’s farsighted decision to remove the bottleneck of Article 370 and 35A.
Puri said that a new dawn of development is now set in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 that could be judged from the fact that 25 new National Highway Projects have been sanctioned to be built at an estimated cost of 11,721 crores, 168 MoUs have been signed amounting to 13,600 crores, seven new medical colleges have been sanctioned with medical seats increasing from 500 to 955, world’s highest railway bridge constructed in J&K, Vande Bharat Express is in operation from Jammu to Delhi and tourist footfall increased to more than one lakh.
Puri further said that under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, some 12 lakh LPG connections have been provided under PM Ujjwala, 50,000 houses have been sanctioned under PMAY (U).
The Minister also said that the petroleum prices have seen a sharp rise from July 2021 to August, 2022 with 43 percent to 46 percent increase in USA and Canada while as India is the only country in the world where only 2 percent increase has been seen during that period. When many countries in the world are witnessing the shortage of fuel and exorbitant price rise, there is no shortage of fuel in India even in the remotest corners of the country, the Minister added.
Interacting with the district administration officers in Srinagar, Sh. Puri said that the centre is committed to achieving new milestones with respect to growth and development in Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister reviewed the progress of work on various development projects and work done as per government schemes like PM Awas Yojana, PM Ujwala, PM SVANidhi, SBM 2.0 and Amrut 2.0.
During the review meeting, the minister said that application of modern technology to solid waste management is the need of the hour and Srinagar will be among the cities where such strategies will be adopted on a priority basis. He said that there is a need to process the waste as per modern standards to avoid dumping it at one location, which is hazardous to the ecosystem.
Interacting with the beneficiaries of various centrally sponsored schemes, Sh. Puri said that there are many schemes and projects under Housing and Urban Affairs that people need to take advantage of. He added that we could now improve resource utilisation through the use of technology better than the earlier times.
Elaborating on the work undertaken in Srinagar under the smart city project, Sh. Puri highlighted that urban planning is essential as new settlements in cities have come up and there is a need to replace the old traditions to deal with the new challenges. He said that urban work has one litmus test that is to produce benefits for the citizens, and the voices of the people need to be heard for the same.
Commenting on the economic boost due to development in urban space, the minister said that the urban space had been neglected earlier and the government took the opportunity to reform this sector, which is evident from the fact that cities are now the largest contributors to the GDP of the country.
The minister was briefed about the redevelopment of the city by the district administration. He complimented the admin for working with dedication in order to bring about the timely completion of different projects. He advised district administrators and local bodies to take appropriate measures for dealing with solid waste management, discourage the use of single-use plastic and address the voices of people on a timely basis.
While handing over the sanction letters to the beneficiaries of various schemes, the Minister said that the benefits of development should reach the poorest at the grass-roots level and the government is ensuring that it takes care of people in terms of any adversity.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K. Pole, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Ajaz Assad, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Athar Aamir and other senior officers of the district administration were present on the occasion.