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“Why ignore Chenab valley, Pir Panjal regions”

Srinagar, Feb 08: Welcoming the grant of divisional status to Ladakh, the mainstream leaders today pitched for a similar status for Chenab valley and Pir Panchal regions as well.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah went a step further and promised that he will grant status of division to Chenab valley and Pir Panjal region if his party was voted to power in the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir later this year.

The former chief minister was reacting to State government's decision to grant status of Division to Ladakh region, consisting of Leh and Kargil districts.

"After the elections of 2019, should the people of J&K repose faith in @JKNC_ , our government will grant division status to Chenab valley & Pir Panchal regions as already laid out in our regional autonomy promise," Omar tweeted.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the decision but said she failed to understand the government's intention of ignoring Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions which are equally remote and have much larger population than Ladakh.

"Although Leh and Kargil already have Hill Development Councils, we welcome the decision to grant division status to Ladakh. But I fail to understand what is the intention behind ignoring Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions. These are remote areas, the terrain is hilly and population is much larger," she said.

Mehbooba alleged that Governor Satya Pal Malik was peddling “BJP agenda” by not granting the division status to Chenab valley and Pir Panjal region.

"As far as I remember (during PDP-BJP coalition government), we were talking about granting division status to Chenab valley, Pir Panjal and Ladakh but BJP had opposed it," she added.

Welcoming the Governor administration’s decision to grant the divisional status to Ladakh region, Peoples Conference chairman said that Pir Panchal and Chenab valley should also be granted division status to bring government and administration closer to its people.

“Welcome the creation of separate division for Ladakh. Puts an end to their miseries. Equally important is the demand for separate divisions for Pir Panchal and Chenab. Smaller divisions will improve governance. And it will be a great relief for the inhabitants,” Sajad Gani Lone tweeted.

“Smaller divisions will mean improved access to the local administration, where people will have their voice heard when the need be. Considering the distance factor between the three regions of J&K, it is important to create micro-administrative divisions to be able to deliver governance at peoples’ door step.

“Peoples Conference advocates granting of division status to Pir Panchal and Chenab valley as closer access to governance has been their long-pending demand,” PC spokesperson said in a party release.

Commenting on the decision, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami today questioned that why was the Governor’s administration in hurry to take this decision and not leave it to the elected Assembly.

In a statement issued today, Tarigami said that there are several legitimate regional and sub-regional concerns and demands in J&K which is rich of diversities and its unity is important. He said, fulfilling the democratic aspirations of the people of different regions and sub regions and decentralization and democratization of governance is the foundation for the unity of our people.

“However, the best forum to address these concerns is the State Assembly. Successive governments couldn’t address these issues which resulted in widening of gaps between regions and sub-regions. The only possible solution to address these issues demands evolving a constitutional mechanism,” he said.

Former MLA and AIP president Er. Rasheed accused New Delhi of creating a wedge, distrust and disparity between various regions.

In a statement, the former legislator from Langate said, “Nobody is against creating separate division for Ladakh region but the government must come clean why it ignored people of Pir Panchal and Chenab regions, who deserved not only separate divisions but much more, as they have been deprived of their genuine rights in every field.”

He said “one has a right to ask government if it sincerely cares for the equitable development of the state, why were Hill Development Councils not created for Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley regions,” he said.

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