SRINAGAR: Apni Party President Syed Mohammed Altaf Bukhari on Monday said that the violence in all its manifestations has severely impacted peace, progress and good governance in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bukhari was addressing a day-long Party convention at Chougan-Kishtwar attended by a huge gathering of the locals.
“The impact of armed violence negatively influences development, peace and good governance, often by creating a climate of impunity, corruption and by undermining public institutions,” he said while appealing to the youth to shun the path of violence and contribute in the promotion of peace and stability in the region.
Bukhari said that peace and harmony are imperative for progress and development in Jammu and Kashmir. “Yesterday in Srinagar, a young police officer who was yet to be confirmed was killed in cold blood. The incident didn’t inflict miseries to his family alone but added to the already agonizing situation in Kashmir,” he added.
Apni Party President remarked that nature has gifted J&K with abundant natural resources that can uplift the economic conditions of every household in this erstwhile State. “For that we all need to contribute and create an enabling atmosphere for the optimal use of these resources,” he remarked.
Reminding Prime Minister Modi of his statement that development should be a mass movement in Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari regretted the alienation and a feeling of neglect among the youth of Kishtwar who feel dejected about the recruitment process carried out by the power projects in the region.
He appealed to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to involve local people in the power projects undertaken in their community. “The development cannot be about the statistical number but it should reflect an improvement in the social, human and environmental capital. Government of India must ensure that the local youth are engaged in the recently-launched union-funded power projects in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
He said that Nature has bestowed Kishtwar with abundant water resources which will have at least five major new power projects Pakal Dul, Kiru, Kewar, Dul Hasti-II and revived Ratle and a common expectation among the local youth is that they should be given priority in getting employment in these projects.
Bukhari said that around 20 thousand megawatts of electricity can be generated in this area provided the government takes ample steps in its pursuit. “Even the Government has started work on such three prestigious projects in Kishtwar but further addition to them is highly requisite. However, the companies bagging these tenders must involve local workforce including both skilled and unskilled labour force in such projects so as the unemployed youth are absorbed by providing them with such opportunities,” he said.
Bukhari said that these projects also pose serious implications on the local environment with regards to the emission of hazardous gases and solid wastes. “The persistent water seepage due to building of dams leads to perpetual degradation of road routes in the area. Therefore, while benefiting enormously from such mega projects, these companies have a moral obligation to invest their CSR funds in Kishtwar. Such funds must be incorporated in the upgradation of roads, building hospitals and educational institutions,” he added.
Bukhari also stressed on exploration of Kishtwar’s scenic natural beauty that possesses huge potential to become a world class tourist destination. “Though Kishtwar can be developed into an outstanding tourist destination but in absence of basic infrastructural facilities that presently remain stigmatised with poor road connectivity, mediocre hotels, tourist huts and faulty telecommunication hamper this dream to become a reality. It can also generate huge employment opportunities for the locals who craved for such development for so many years,” Bukhari said.
He also ridiculed the J&K government for its remarks about spending RS 6000 Crores on power purchases for J&K people in peak seasons. “Let me repeat my word that this is not a favor to the people of J&K if the government spends this much amount annually on power purchases for its people. It is a subsidy given to the 1.35 crore people whose natural resources are being utilized for the power generation consumed by the rest of the country as well,” he said.
Bukhari pledged that if people support Apni Party in elections and ensure formation of its’ government, the Party will give free 300 Units of Electricity every month to every household.
Speaking on the occasion, Apni Party Senior Vice President Ghulam Hassan Mir said that Kishtwar is abundant in rich mineral wealth including sapphire, marbles and gypsum but regrettably such prospective sectors continue to remain unexplored.
“The government must commence extensive extraction projects of such minerals which in turn can boost the economy of J&K holistically. The revenue generated can thereafter be used for various other developmental projects which will also usher in a massive infra upgradation across in district Kishtwar as well. Furthermore, a myriad of locals can earn their livelihood in a dignified way if these projects are given a green signal,” Mir said.
Party’s Vice President Jammu Syed Asgar Ali welcomed the Party leadership for visiting Kishtwar and highlighted various public grievances during his speech. He invited the attention of party leadership towards problems being faced by the local skilled and unskilled youth, besides soliciting government attention towards optimum utilization of water and other mineral resources that if harnessed well, can benefit the region and rest of the country.