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GUV regrets "negative publicity" of Kashmir by national media

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Satisfied over conduct of local body polls, says corruption is a big challenge; releases compendium of key developmental, welfare and other measures initiated by his administration

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Wednesday expressed satisfaction over the successful completion of the local bodies polls and said it was not his duty to "satisfy" politicians.

Addressing the media after releasing a compendium of developmental and administrative works done in the state during Governor's rule, Malik said the situation in the state has marked an improvement and is near normal.

The state recently had four-phase urban local bodies polls and nine-phase panchayat elections.

Major regional parties -- the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party -- had decided not to participate in the local bodies polls.

Malik said the situation in the state has marked an improvement and is near normal, but expressed displeasure over the "negative publicity" of Kashmir by national media.

"I am not here to satisfy them (politicians). Personally, I respect them, and interestingly I might be the first governor who jumped his protocol and had tea with both of them (former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti)," he told reporters.

He said he had no political agenda and his mandate was development, outreach, interaction and addressing the grievances of the people with sincerity.

Asked about his views on the prevailing situation in the state, he said, "I see a lot of improvement and consider the situation as near normal".

"We had nine-phases of panchayat elections (November 17 to December 12) and four phases of municipal elections (in October) and with the grace of god, cooperation of the people and alertness of forces, not a single sparrow was harmed which is a good thing," he said.

He said the good things happening in Kashmir are not mentioned at the national media which needs to be changed.

"A minor incident is projected in a wrong way to demonise Kashmir and show it in a bad light. I safely say that as the governor of Bihar and coming from UP, Jammu and Kashmir is a better place than these," he said.

He said there was no mention of the polls at national media while on the other hand, had a bird got hurt during these polls, it would have made headline.

On his war against corruption in the state, he said his administration was focused on the eradication of corruption and had set up an anti-corruption bureau.

On the delay in construction of underground bunkers for the safety of people living near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Rajouri districts, he assured that the construction work will start soon.

"The work on the construction of bunkers will start soon as the Union Home Ministry has given its nod to our proposal," he said.

He said the panchayats will get Rs 2,500 crore for development works while the municipalities will get Rs 1,500 crore.

A sarpanch would be entitled to spend Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 crore.

"The elections were meant to empower the people," he said, adding this would help the politicians to come closer to the people.

These elections would also facilitate emergence of new leadership. "The successful conclusion of polls is a good thing which had happened and I salute the administration, the Army and other security forces besides those who came out to vote despite threats".

He said his administration had asked the deputy commissioners to set aside one day per week to redress public grievances.

He said his administration is focusing on building infrastructure for sports activities.

"Our football team, Real Kashmir, has jumped up the table after registering a win yesterday.

"Deputy commissioners have been asked to identify land for playfields across the state, 500 auditoriums are getting completed while one  international standard stadium each in Srinagar and Jammu are in the final stages of completion," he said.

Governor said that corruption is the single biggest problem that has retarded economic development in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Those in power here, be it political, administrative or business power, live like Mughal emperor Jahangir.

"The poor youths who go with their ponies to earn a living during the Amarnath Yatra do so without even wearing warm clothes,” he said.

"When I said the state's biggest single problem was corruption, a senior politician said I was bringing a bad name to the state. It is in fact the rampart corruption that brings a bad name to the state and it needs to be weeded out," he said.

Malik said his administration had pro-actively been pursuing an anti-corruption agenda.

"The state vigilance organization has been given more powers by converting it into the state Anti-Corruption Bureau. This empowerment has already started showing results. We recently had a Commissioner-level bureaucrat in our net. More punitive action against corrupt officials is going to be taken in the days to come," Malik said.

Governor also released the compendium of key developmental, welfare and other measures initiated by the Governor’s Administration in the State during past 5 months.

He was flanked by his Advisors B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Umang Narula at the press conference.

 HIGHLIGHTS…

Rs 80000 crores Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) fast-tracked, bottlenecks removed;

Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Corporation (JKIDFC) constituted;

Discussion initiated with Asian Development Bank for $150 million fresh loan for new development projects;

MoU signed between J&K and Punjab Govts for execution of Shahpur Kandi Dam Project;

Ujh Multipurpose Project cleared;

Rattle Hydroelectric Project cleared for implementation;

J&K to get first-ever Gas Pipeline; New Power Corridor;

400/200 kV Gas Insulated Power Substation (GIS) commissioned at Magam in Kashmir;

New rail link from Baramulla to Kupwara;

Bottlenecks to development projects removed;

Initiatives for Dal Lake rejuvenation and beautification;

Successful conduct of local bodies polls, devolution of powers;

Anti-Corruption Mechanism beefed up;

Reforming recruitments, generating employment - 42211 new posts created;

The compendium also details grievance redressal mechanism, universal healthcare, power to every home, housing, education etc.

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