SRINAGAR, Aug 14: Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said the effective implementation of the Agenda of Alliance of the Coalition Government will ensure equal opportunities of growth and inclusive development and a more transparent and accountable administration that will restore confidence in the people for the Government. He said his government is committed to give to the people clean and transparent administrative machinery free of corruption and nepotism.
In his message to the people of the State on the occasion of the 69th Independence Day, the Chief Minister said the Government intends to undertake infrastructural upgradation in the State which would not only make up for the losses suffered during the deluge of 2014, but also make the State as one of the developed ones on the National canvas. He hoped that the present government will achieve all the set targets that have been mentioned in the coalition’s Agenda of the Alliance.
Outlining his vision and ideas for the State, Mufti Sayeed said he has dreamed of a State which is peaceful, prosperous and democratic. He said the edifice of this concept was laid during his earlier tenure in 2002-2005 and now is the time to realize the dream and make Jammu and Kashmir an abode of peace, development, progress and tranquility. He said the fractured mandate of last assembly elections provided an opportunity for a more cohesive approach towards development needs and growth aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the State.
Describing the Cross –LOC trade and travel as one of the most significant CBMs between India and Pakistan, the Chief Minister said however, several issues including extending the telecommunication and banking facilities to the people have to be focused and sorted out in the Joint Working Group meetings between India and Pakistan.
Mufti Sayeed said education, health, agriculture, horticulture and power sectors remain the Coalition Government’s top most priority and various initiatives have been taken to give new fillip to these sectors. Similarly, he said in the health sector, directions have been issued to upgrade at least two health institutions in each constituency, one as Mother and Child Centre and another as a Model Hospital, so that we provide instant relief to the most vulnerable segment of the society right at their door steps. He added, by posting specialist doctors and paramedic staff and equipping our healthcare institutions with advanced machinery, we will be able to reduce referrals to our tertiary institutes.
The Chief Minister said the Union Government has sanctioned new Medical Colleges to be established at Baramulla, Anantnag, Doda and Kathua and Rajouri in the State and the land acquisition process for these has already begun.Mufti Sayeed said strenuous efforts have been put in place to fill in vacant posts in the Government sector by making the J&K Public Service Commission and Services Selection Board fully functional. He said recruiting agencies have been directed to fast track the process of recruitment and also a new recruitment Policy to speed up filling up of vacancies has been framed. To fill up vacancies in Police, he said a Transparent Recruitment Process (TRP) for filling up posts of constables has been initiated on a fast-track basis. In the coming days, he said, around 4,000 vacancies of constables are scheduled to be advertised by the Police Department for recruitment under TRP.
The Chief Minister further said that his Government has taken the improvement and upgradation of the road infrastructure, which was badly damaged during the September floods last year, as a big challenge. For the first time, he said quality maintenance has been made a focus area and contractors have been asked to maintain a black topped road for three years. This will ensure use of quality material in the 700 Km road length under upgradation and improvement based on our new initiative- ‘Upgradation of Roads in Cities and Towns’. Similarly, 200 Km road length leading to tourist destinations are also being blacktopped.
Mufti Sayeed said improvement and widening of the National Highway has also been fast tracked. Tenders have already been floated for the Banihal – Udhampur section of the National Highway and work on the stretch shall start soon. He said the government has also taken up the issue of declaring Mughal Road as an alternate Highway with the Union Government, along with developing the Kishtwar-Simthan-Anantnag road as an alternate route. He welcomed the Centre’s decision regarding sanctioning of Rs. 25000 crore for National Highway Project in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said unfortunately the previous dispensation left us empty coffers along with a huge liability of over Rs. 9000 crore. He said they had taken up works without adhering to codal norms, which has damaged the economy of the State. In order to clear liabilities inherited from the previous regime, the present government has reserved 1/3rd component within the Capital Expenditure Plans in each district to defray these liabilities in a phased manner.
Mufti Sayeed said as we near completion of one year of the deadly deluge that shattered thousands of lives, the government is committed to compensate each and every victim. To ameliorate the sufferings of victim families, he said Government has provided a start up incentive to un-insured destitute and small-time traders for revival of their business. He further added that the present dispensation is committed to resurrect the lives of thousands of victims who saw their homes washed away in the floods in which over 2 Lakh houses were damaged. He said although compensation under SDRF and PMNRF norms has been provided to the victims, the Government has promised them additional financial assistance so that they are able to rebuild their houses. Similarly, he said, we have promised additional compensation to 75000 business units who suffered extensive damage in the floods.
In order to ensure that the havoc of 2014 doesn’t visit us again, the Chief Minister said that the government is pursuing with Centre a Comprehensive Flood Protection and Management Programme so that the State is fully prepared to meet future challenges of weather, especially floods. We are also specially focussing on construction of an alternate flood channel from Dogripora to Wullar, he said.
In the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors, the Chief Minister said the Government has announced several measures to boost the export-oriented industry. To improve quality, the government has decided to revive the Market Intervention Scheme for procuring C-grade fruit and the government will also offer risk cover to farmers and fruit growers against vagaries of weather by offering crop insurance. “We have also announced swift makeover of our Fruit mandis and modern centres where packaging and grading, online marketing and movement of fruit-laden trucks will be undertaken in a smooth manner. The government has also decided to import saplings from Europe and promote high density plantations in a bid to rejuvenate our orchards”, the Chief Minister said.
Mufti Sayeed said there is a need to bring into limelight yet unexplored destinations like Aharbal, Kokernag, Veerinag, Yusmarg, Lolab and Dodpathri so that tourists are able to see the full charms of the Kashmir Valley beyond Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Dal Lake and the Mughal gardens.To increase the intake capacity and make all stakeholders partners in growth of the tourism sector, the Chief Minister said he has directed the concerned authorities to create a ‘Single Window Clearance Mechanism’ and introduce ‘Ease of Doing Business’ so that we upgrade our infrastructure to international standards, which will allow us to accommodate more tourists. He said he has instructed the State Tourism Department to take effective steps to promote Jammu as an independent tourist destination. He said the Government is also promoting Mantalai, in Udhampur, as an International Yoga Centre and Basohli as Water Sports destination. Similarly, the Government will promote Ladakh’s identity as a great seat of Buddhist culture, he said.
During the Sindhu Darshan festival in Leh, the Chief Minister said, he emphasized upon Indus not being a river but a flowing civilization that makes the State proud of its glorious and historic past. With Mega Hemis Festival being organized by LAHDC, Leh next year will be a huge step in promoting Ladakh as an international spiritual destination, he added.
The Chief Minister said to develop and beautify the Srinagar and Jammu cities, the Government has taken up several projects including Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex, Tawi Artificial Lake, Multi Storey Parking facility at Panjtirthi, Bagh-e-Bahu to Panjtirthi Cable Car Project, Circular road and new Housing Colony for Jammu and Srinagar cities, Badamwari to Hari Parbat Cable Car Project, bringing shrines in Srinagar on the heritage tourism map besides developing Hokersar as a tourist destination.
Keeping in view the depleting forest cover, the Chief Minister said he has announced revamp of the State’s Forest Policy so that it is in tune with the concerns and expectations of all stakeholders. The new policy will encourage afforestation drives with people’s participation, identify eco-tourist destinations and commercially propagate highly-remunerative aromatic and medicinal plants, he said.
He said the new industrial policy which will be announced shortly shall also ensure creation of more jobs for our skilled youth and laying focus on setting up viable industries in the State.Similarly, he said, the State Government will take all possible steps to promote state’s handicraft sector, which has a great market within and outside the country. He said he has passed directions for branding and price-tagging of products so that buyers are assured about the quality of our shawls, carpets, paper machie and wood work items. The holding of International Buyer-Seller Meets will go a long way in promoting our handicraft industry, he hoped.
The Chief Minister said the Government has also taken several initiatives for the welfare of women and other important sections of the society including youth and people living in far-flung areas.Mufti Sayeed said that the State during the past over two decades has witnessed turmoil that resulted in increase in the number of widows, orphans and destitute besides giving only a shattered economy. He warned against the motives of those who seek to take the State back into such dark periods and urged the people especially the youth to remain alert and not fall prey to negative propaganda and politics. He said future of the State and its people lies in peace, harmony, brotherhood and cooperation with each other. “We need to work shoulder to shoulder for the growth and development of the State and I am hopeful that the enlightened citizens of the State shall continue to nourish the age old culture of harmony here”, he added. A good beginning has been made and I am hopeful that in the coming years the coalition government shall meet the expectations of the people, the Chief Minister said in his message.