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Pak continues to disrupt peace in J-K: Guv

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Highlights administration’s priorities in his R-Day message

Jammu, Jan 25: Governor Satya Pal Malik Friday blamed Pakistan for continuing its support to militancy and engineering infiltration across the Indo-Pak border to disrupt peace and harmony in the state.

He said the administration was taking required measures to alleviate the sufferings of border dwellers.

“Our neighbouring country (Pakistan) continues to support terrorists to disrupt peace and harmony in the state,” Malik said in his message on the occasion of 70th Republic Day.

He said there have been repeated attempts to infiltrate militants across the International Border and Line of Control.

“Repeated ceasefire violations have brought untold hardships to the people living in the villages along the borders,” he said.

The Governor also hailed the armed forces and state police for working tirelessly in maintaining unity and integrity of the nation.

“On this joyous seventieth Republic Day, I extend warm greetings to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. On this day, we remember and pay tributes to the founding fathers of the nation who fought for our freedom and handed over to us a constitution that guarantees liberty, equality and justice.

“Notwithstanding the tough terrain, climate and other challenges, our armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and alertness on our frontiers,” he said.

“Our armed and police forces also carried out effective operations to neutralise the largest number of terrorists ever in a year,” Malik said.

“Our hearts also go out to the families of the civilians who lost their loved ones in the wanton violence,” he added in the message.

Governor also talked about youth taking to gun. “This has added to the difficulties and sufferings of the people, particularly in the Valley. Violence and a confrontationist approach is no antidote to addressing any issue(s). A number of precious and innocent lives have been lost due to mindless and dastardly violence. We shall have to find ways to remove such ugly scars of violence forever from our beautiful landscape by strengthening the discourse of peace. This is our collective responsibility and can be discharged only with active cooperation and support of our people,” Governor said.

He said in order to channelize the energy of the youth in constructive and nation building activities, the Department of Youth Services & Sports has given focused attention to the development and up-gradation of sports infrastructure in the State.

He said M.A. Stadium Jammu has been upgraded to an International Cricket Stadium at a cost of Rs 42.17 crore and shall be completed by April, 2019. It can now host national and international cricket matches. Bakshi Stadium Srinagar has also been upgraded as a FIFA compliant International Football Stadium at a cost of Rs 44 crore. It shall be completed by June 2019 and can host national and international football matches.

Highlighting the achievements and priorities of the government headed by him, Malik said “Deepening of democratic process and improving the quality of governance have been the prime focus of the government.

He said adding the huge turnout in the recently concluded Panchayat and Municipal elections in the State is an indicator of people’s yearning for peace and development.

“Despite stiff challenges, these elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, thanks to the overwhelming participation of the people. I congratulate the entire civil and police administration for having worked overtime to ensure successful and peaceful Panchayat and Municipal elections across the state,” he said.

Talking about the challenges posed by corruption, Governor said the first ever Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been established in the state. “The establishment of ACB is one of the important elements of the Mission Good Governance and Development. The Jammu and Kashmir Vigilance Commission Act has been amended to make it more vibrant and effective. We have also amended Prevention of Corruption Act to give it more teeth.”

Redressal of citizens’ grievances has been given priority, he said, adding the State Grievances Cell has been constituted apart from the establishment of District Grievance Cells.

“My Advisors and Chief Secretary are regularly interacting with public for redressal of their problems. A Service Grievance Cell to address service related grievances of employees has also been set up.”

He also talked about welfare measures for the police personnel, including grant of promotions at various levels, enhancement of honorarium for SPOs, enhancement of ex-gratia relief of NoKs of J&K Police personnel, SPOs, Central Armed Police Forces & Army, killed in violence and militancy related incidents and hardship allowance.

Promotions and other service related matters of the government employees are being prioritized, he said.

Amendments have been made in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act- 1989 to devolve more powers to Panchayats. The amendments will ensure well defined taxation powers to the Panchayats for generation of adequate resources by themselves, Governor said, adding that powers and functions of 21 departments have been devolved to the Panchayats.

Over Rs 2300 crore development funds per annum will be transferred to Panchayats and Rs 1200 crore to the Urban Local Bodies for undertaking various development activities in the respective areas of their jurisdiction, he said.

With the objective of addressing the state’s backlog in development, Governor said Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package for the State is under implementation. The package includes the Government of India’s support to various critical sectors and “will ensure peace, prosperity and development in the state.”

To address the problem of delay in completion of development works due to the paucity of funds, Governor  said the government has constituted the Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC) and authorized it to raise Rs  8000 crore loan for development.

Till date, 1644 languishing projects in key sectors with an investment of Rs 3631 crore have been approved, he said, adding these projects would be completed in next 18 months and bring a much needed impetus to the development requirements of the State.

“One of the major achievements in the Inter-State connectivity has been achieved through completion of 1210 mtr span pre-stressed bridge at Keerian-Gandial, Kathua. Land has been handed over to the National Highway Authority of India Limited for Jammu and Srinagar Ring Roads.  Work on these projects has commenced,” he said.

He also said government has been able to provide last mile connectivity to un-electrified households and achieve 100 percent household electrification in the month of October last year under the Prime Minister Sehaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBAGHYA) much before the target date.

“We are committed to provide 24×7 electricity to all registered electricity consumers. Work has been allotted for more than 90 percent of projects costing over Rs 7,000 crore for up-gradation of power infrastructure in the state under various flagship schemes,” he informed.

Talking about the State’s vast hydro-power potential, Governor said Ratle Hydro-Electric Power Project (HEP) pending for the last five years has been cleared for implementation through a joint venture with Government of India. This 850 MW power project will give further push to the energy sector in the State.

The 624 MW Kiru HEP at a cost of Rs 4708.60 crore has been approved for execution through Joint Venture (JV).  The project offers multiple benefits in terms of power and employment generation.

Ladakh region has been brought on national grid by completing 220 KV Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Transmission Line, he said.

Governor also said a university at Ladakh has been created and amendments have been made in the relevant Act to devolve more powers and privileges to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. Forty new Degree Colleges are being opened across the State to meet area specific requirements.

To address the grievances of our students studying outside the state in major cities, Liaison Officers have been designated, he said.

To address the issues of teaching community including existence of multiple teaching cadres, the government has decided to merge these cadres into a single cadre. This measure will help to promote quality education in the State, he said.

He said government is committed to providing access to affordable health-care in the State. More than six lakh families with 30 lakh individuals in the State are being covered under Ayushman Bharat Scheme. The scheme will provide paperless and cashless health-care service in any empanelled hospital across India with an insurance cover of upto Rs. 5 lakh per family per year in secondary and tertiary-care hospitals, Governor informed.

“We have already registered 12 lakh beneficiaries under the scheme.  The state became the second fastest issuer of Ayushman Bharat Gold Cards in the country. Our performance in the overall health indicators is also being constantly recognized at the national level,” he said.

He also informed that Rs 260 crore have been released recently by the Government of India for five new Medical Colleges at Anantnag, Baramulla, Doda, Kathua and Rajouri taking cumulative release till date for these colleges to Rs  765 crore.

“Selection process for recruitment of 4300 medicos and paramedical staff for these colleges has been fast-tracked. Classes for first batch of MBBS at five new Medical Colleges will be started from June this year. Apart from access to tertiary healthcare in the remote areas, 100 per cent increase in the number of MBBS seats in the State with the addition of these five new colleges will augment the health care across the State. Five Sub District Hospitals at Bandipora, Ganderbal, Shopian, Samba, and Reasi have also been upgraded as District Hospitals.”

He also said emphasis is being laid on creating an environment of entrepreneurship in identified sectors. To facilitate and nurture the growth of start-ups in the State, Jammu and Kashmir Start-up Policy has been rolled out. The policy will inspire young entrepreneurs to create vibrant and innovative start ups, he said.

He said the government has rolled out first-ever Trade and Export policy. The policy is aimed at enhancing domestic trade volume by five times in next 10 years. Concrete steps are being taken to make J&K investment-friendly, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Single Window (Industrial Investment and Business Facilitation) Act, 2018 has been enacted to facilitate overhaul of existing processes and procedures under the ease of doing business reforms initiative. A Single Window portal has been launched for investors and entrepreneurs to facilitate clearances from various departments. 23 new services notified by the Industries and Commerce department have been made online, he informed.

Horticulture contributes to 35-40 percent of State’s Agricultural GDP and is a mainstay of our economy; contributing to the nutritional security and on-farm employment. However, the challenges of poor post-harvest technology and inadequate storage infrastructure and processing capacity remains a concern for which government is taking necessary measures.

In view of its huge potential, an interest subvention scheme for setting up of Walnut Processing Units in the private sector has been approved. The units of upto 500 Metric-Ton capacity will be eligible for subsidy under the scheme. Similarly, scheme for setting up of walnut nurseries in high-tech Poly Green Houses has been approved for private sector.

He said government committed to unlock the vast potential in tourism sector. “We have launched a sustained campaign to address the challenges posed to the sector by the negative perception regarding the obtaining situation in the valley. Our efforts have begun to pay dividends, which is evident from the fact that hotels in Pahalgam and Gulmarg are registering almost 100 percent occupancy during past couple of months,” he said.

Governor also appealed the members of the civil society, political parties, leaders of all social, cultural, religious and other organizations in the State to come forward and lend their hand in building a prosperous J&K which will be a role model for other states.

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