SRINAGAR: In his yet another call to the leaders possessing different political views (separatists) vis-à-vis mainstream parties, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday asked them to utilize the prevailing favourable atmosphere and discuss their viewpoint across the table. He said that Kashmir issue has political genesis and it requires political methodology for effective addressing through a sustained dialogue process.
“Let you come forward and talk for achieving a breakthrough on table which gun could not deliver in 20 years”, he told them asking for their positive contribution in seeking peace and prosperity for the State and its people.
Addressing the State level main function of Independence Day celebrations at Bakshi Stadium here, the Chief Minister said that gun or money can never solve this issue. “Dialogue process is only way forward to address it effectively and meaningfully”, he added.
Omar Abdullah said that he has been advocating this necessity throughout. “On this rostrum I once again underline the need of political addressing of this issue”, he said making earnest appeal to the leaders with different viewpoint (separatists) to get engaged in the dialogue process for the larger interest of the people and the State.
Stating that the graph of violence in the State has shown considerable downward dip during past some years, the Chief Minister substantiated his statements by giving figurative facts in this regard. He said as against 370 violence incidents in 2010, the militancy related incidents in 2011 were 190 and in 2012 these were only 90. He said civilian killings in militancy related incidents in 2010 were 50, these stood at 31 in 2011 and 8 in 2012. He said that 70 security personnel were martyred in 2010 while the number of martyrs was 33 in 2011 and 7 in 2012.
The Chief Minister said that the improvement in situation and restoration of peace in the State after a long period of over 22 years is an achievement worth to reckon. He said this peaceful situation has helped fast track development across the State.
Omar Abdullah said that he is committed to take peace dividends to every household and presented the resume of benefits of peace his government has converted into visible achievements. He said the footprints of security forces on roads have been visibly decreased. “We have vacated all school buildings from the occupation of security forces. All hospitals but three have been freed from forces occupation”. He said 33 hotels, 256 government buildings and 25 industrial estates have also been cleared from the possession of security forces during the last over three years of his government. He said that 40 bunkers from Srinagar have been removed and 10 CRPF companies and two BSF companies relived from security duty transferring it to Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The Chief Minister said that he had talked about gradual removal of AFSPA from some areas, in his speech in the State Assembly and he is continuously advocating for its gradual revocation from the areas where there is no need for such a law. He said that he has recently discussed the matter with the Defence Minister and the top brass of Indian Army. He said that the issue is alive and expressed the hope that gradual revocation of AFSPA will start during his government’s tenure.
Taking a dig on the propaganda of certain leaders (PDP) regarding the performance of his government, the chief Minister said that those who have covered their eyes with dark glasses do not see the brightness of facts. “They also do not want to see the reality on ground as they get frustrated to see it. They know the numerous people-friendly measures and far-reaching historic initiatives taken by the present government has created lasting impact in the minds of common people who have now understood the difference between mere sloganeering and actual action on ground”, he said and narrated some major achievements of his government registered during last three and the half years.
The Chief Minister said that while the list of achievements is so exhaustive that it cannot be detailed even in his full day speech. He said that besides focusing on most important five sectors of R&B, PHE, Health, Education and Power, his government has given required attention to Agriculture and allied sectors, Industries and Commerce, Social Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, etc.
The Chief Minister said that over 9500 kilometers of roads have been black topped and macadamized in the State during last three years besides completing 230 bridges. He said under PMGSY about 2000 kilometers of new roads have been constructed as compared to 750 kilometers during 2001 to 2009.
Omar Abdullah said that 2500 new primary schools have been opened, 1600 primary schools upgraded to middle and 530 middle schools to high schools. He said that over 34000 teachers have been engaged during the last three years to provide teaching staff to educational institutions. He said that 23 degree colleges, various off-site campuses of universities including those of Leh and Kargil have been opened. He said that Kupwara Campus of Kashmir University will be launched soon. He said the enrolment of students has also increased from 91000 to 1.19 lakh during the last over three years. He said that his government has also taken measures to strengthen the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri and Islamic University of Science and Technology at Awantipora. “Both these universities were announced by the then government without arranging necessary funds for these”, he said adding that a viable financial management and flow of funds has now been put in place by his government for these universities roping in UGC Grants.
The Chief Minister said that tremendous infrastructure development has taken place in health sector. “We have consolidated the achievements and provided necessary staff to these institutions”, he said adding that Super Specialty Hospital at Jammu will be opened in a phased manner within a couple of months while Trauma Hospital at Srinagar will be completed next year.
Referring to some shortcomings in G. B. Pant Hospital and GMC Jammu, the Chief Minister said that the situation reported in papers about the two hospitals was gloomy and grief giving. However, he said that required action was taken to set these hospitals right and help fast improvement in the functioning in these health institutions. “It is heartening that the improvement in G. B. Pant Hospital Srinagar is visible and the child care has been upgraded”, he said.
On path breaking initiatives of his government for transparency and good governance, the Chief Minister referred to the implementation of Public Service Guarantee Act, Right to Information Act, re-constitution of State Accountability Commission, launch of e-tendering, e-procurement, 3rd party monitoring, etc. He said these measures have helped to restrict the corruption and empower people to ask questions to the government on its performance and financial transactions. He said these initiatives have helped a lot to restrict corrupt practices and save public money. He said that e-tendering initiative has saved Rs. 90 crore to the State exchequer.
The Chief Minister said that by the implementation of J&K Water Resources Act, the State has obtained Rs. 550 crore from various power companies functioning in the State for utilization of water. “This shows that our government takes action and implement these without making noise like others who raise slogans but take no action”, he said without naming PDP for making assertions with regard to utilization of water resources of the State.
The Chief Minister said that after a long period of 30 years Panchayat Raj system has been introduced in the State adding that powers from 14 departments have been transferred to panchayats. “It is now the duty of panchayat members to utilize these powers to the best interest of people”, he said adding that government is organized 840 training camps for panches and sarpanches to train them about the utilization of powers transferred to them. He said 250 such training camps have already been organized.
The Chief Minister said that under MGNREGA over Rs. 925 crore are being spent on rural development activities during the current year and panchayats have been entrusted responsibility to undertake this stupendous task. He said that the funds spent under MGNREGA in 2006-08 were Rs. 6 crores while these stood at Rs. 707 crore last year.
On rehabilitation policy, the Chief Minister said that this initiative of his government worked out with the Union Government has proved effective means for rehabilitation of those who have gone across LoC for training but didn’t indulge in militant activities and want to return as peaceful citizens. He said during last year 60 such people have returned and this year 70 such cases have been cleared. He made it clear that this policy is available only for those youth who have gone for training but not took to gun and indulged in militancy. He said the press reports regarding a person who was arrested after his return do not reflect the factual position. He said the said individual was involved in militant activities and had crossed LoC on various occasions.
On the issue of opinion clash between various groups, the Chief Minister said that religions preach amity and brotherhood. He said that certain elements in the society are bent upon to wedge apart the society and set it on fire. He said certain elements attempt to divide the people and disturb the peace and create tension in the society. He cautioned the people against the designs of such elements and asked them to foil their nefarious intends.
On youth force, the Chief Minister said that the future of the State is in the hands of youth. He said youth have to shoulder the responsibility of running the affairs of the State. He told them to be fully prepared for this responsibility. “Let you prepare yourself for this role”, he told the youth. He said that a group of youth has fallen prey to drug menace describing it most serious issue needing early and effective attention. He asked the elders to play their role in saving the youth force from falling into the net of drug traffickers.
On electricity deficiency, the Chief Minister said that his government has flagged this sector as an important area for holistic development. He said while attention is on enhancing generation through various power projects and add about 3000 MWs in next a few years, his government has also focused on unbundling the transmission and distribution system. He said power leakage is highest concern for the State. He said that meeting electricity losses of over Rs. 2000 crores out of the Rs. 7300 Annual Plan 2012-13 sanctioned by the Union Government, is a huge burden to bear.
Earlier, the Chief Minister hoisted the National Flag and took salute at the march past in which various contingents of students, J&K Police, CRPF, BSF, Forest Protection Force, etc participated.
The Advisors to the Chief Ministers Mubarak Gul and Devender Singh Rana, Minister of State for R&B, Javid Ahmad Dar, Deputy Chairman, Legislative Council, M. Y. Taing and various legislators were present on the occasion besides Civil, Army and Police officers and general public. (KMW News)