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Raj Bhawan will be people's house: Satya Pal Malik

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“Not politics but common people my top most priority”

New Delhi: Bridging the gap between the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India and engaging with alienated youths top the agenda of newly appointed governor Satya Pal Malik, who says politics will take a back seat during his tenure and reaching out to common people will have the topmost priority.

The first politician to hold the post of Jammu and Kashmir governor in decades, 71-year-old Malik is all set to make changes in the administration.

"I will ensure that the administration is at the beck and call of the people and there are no complaints about governance. I have already asked deputy commissioners to hold a meeting with locals every week and directed the advisers to visit every district headquarter once in a week to meet the people."

"The governor's house will be people's house," Malik told PTI in an interview.

Jammu and Kashmir is currently under governor's rule.

Asked about his reaction after receiving the call about his transfer to the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "It's a job. I know it's a challenging job but every challenge throws a new opportunity. I am sure that I will be able to fulfil the goal of turning it into a prosperous state."

The governor said he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after taking oath. "We have a prime minister who is very Kashmir friendly and has the best understanding about Kashmir and he has advised me to reach out to the people as much as I can."

Asked whether holding of local body elections including Panchayat polls figured in the list of priorities, he said, "It does definitely. After all empowering local bodies is essential for people. I will ensure that there is a free flow of funds to the elected representatives as this way we will ensure that fruits of development reach the grassroots."

On a question about many local youths joining terror groups, Malik said, "I know it's a problem. I have a blueprint in my mind and I will definitely ensure that the misguided youths are engaged with and brought back into family life."

However, he did not elaborate on it.

Malik, a politician from Uttar Pradesh who served as the governor of Bihar before his current assignment, said his focus would also be on ensuring better sports facilities in the state.

"The youth of the state are quite talented and all we require is to tap their potential. I want to see more and more youths from the state qualifying in higher education and all India services."

The governor, who has made courtesy calls on President Ram Nath Kovind, the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will be leaving for the Kashmir Valley tomorrow and plans to hold meetings with officials and advisers besides top officials of the Army, para-military and police.

"After that, I will be travelling across the length and breadth of the state and meeting civil society," he said.

Mentioning the commendable role played by Jammu and Kashmir Police, the governor said, "I will be addressing the difficulties faced by the police on a war footing. I met the home minister and requested for providing accommodation to them. He has agreed and we will work out the plan soon."

The governor said the state police has played a wonderful role in countering militancy. "They have been the prime targets of terrorists. They have been able to break the backbone of militancy and we owe it to them."

Governor meets Rajnath, discusses panchayat polls

New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI) Newly appointed Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik today met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and is believed to have discussed about the forthcoming election to local bodies in the state, officials said.

During the half-an-hour meeting, Singh and Malik also discussed about the prevailing law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under the governor's rule.

They discussed about the forthcoming panchayat polls, a Home Ministry official said.

The panchayat election to elect 4,130 sarpanch and 29,719 panch is expected to be held later next month.

The election to the local bodies were last held in 2011 after a long hiatus.

The election to the local bodies were supposed to be held in 2016 but could not be conducted due to the five-month-long unrest in the Kashmir Valley, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 that year.

Malik yesterday called on President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He took oath as the 13th governor of Jammu and Kashmir on August 23, replacing N N Vohra.

The newly appointed Governors of Bihar and Haryana Lalji Tandon and Satyadev Narayan Arya respectively also met the home minister.

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