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J&K budget fails to enthuse NC, PC, FCIK

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“Stakeholders excluded, nothing for fruit growers, Kashmir’s beleaguered economy”

Srinagar/New Delhi: National Conference on Friday said that the J&K Budget 2021-22 has failed to enthuse stakeholders, saying the budget was prepared with no public participation and consultation with stakeholders.

Speaking on the discussions on annual budgetary allocations to Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha, NC Member of Parliament from Anantnag, Hasnain Masoodi, according to a party press release said the budget has dismayed stakeholders whose grievances were not taken into consideration before presenting the budget.

He said that the “unconstitutional decision of August 05, 2029 had pushed Jammu and Kashmir from democracy to unrepresentative bureaucratic rule”.

“The people voiced their disapproval of 5th August decisions in DDC elections as the party in power (BJP) got mere three percent votes in Kashmir despite mobilization of all resources. This apart from the statistics of the last one-and-half year show that the ground situation has gone from bad to worse. There has been upswing in militancy-related incidents, increase in militant ranks and of late in suicides of security forces personnel,” he said.

Asking the Central government to shun the “politics of arrogance”, Masoodi asked the GoI to go for introspection and realize that 5th August assault has been a misadventure and achieved nothing.

He voiced concern on lesser allocation for some key sectors like labor, employment, rural development, cooperatives, etc.

Masoodi while welcoming extra focus on healthcare and strengthening tertiary healthcare suggested that new maternity hospitals be set up at suburban entry points of capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar and not concentrated at one point.

For Kashmir, he suggested maternity hospitals at Narbal and Pampore to cater to requirements of north and south Kashmir.  He also demanded Nursing colleges at Kulgam and Shopian in addition to the Nursing college already proposed.

Masoodi also took exception to the import of apple and termed it as a “conspiracy against Kashmir”.

Demanding increase in commercial processing and cold storage facility to prevent loss of fresh fruit due to frequent road blockades, he expressed concern over total failure of the ‘Saffron Mission’ and refuted the claims that there was bumper saffron and labeled it as a conspiracy to get the saffron from other places introduced as produced in Kashmir to the detriment of local crop.

Responding to the demand for return of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, he insisted that the government was not sincere as it wanted to keep pot boiling to harvest votes mischievously and use the community as a tool to record electoral victories.

Remarking on the acceleration of work on road and tunnel projects in Kashmir, he demanded concrete steps for construction of Dessan-Kapran, Simthan, Rajdhani, and Sadhna pass tunnels and release of Rs 3000 crore CRF to facilitate improvement in road connectivity.

Abdul Gani Vakil, senior vice-president of People’s Conference (PC) slammed the central government for neglecting fruit growers in the J&K’s budget.

Terming it unfortunate, Vakil said Kashmir’s economy is on the verge of collapse as horticulture sector has been battered over the past several years due to back-to-back shutdowns and Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press release here, Vakil said apple industry is considered the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir economy and is estimated at Rs 8,000 crore with 22 lakh metric ton production each year. “Growers are being sidelined due to the wrong policies of the government,” he said.

He said the budget is “anti-people and has neglected the middle-class families and labor class. Lofty claims of ‘Naya Kashmir’ were made by the central government after the abrogation of Article 370 but things have remained unchanged on the ground. There are no jobs for our youth, petrol and diesel prices are touching skies. There is no one who can speak on these issues faced by common people.”

Meanwhile, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK)  secretary general Ovais Qadir Jamie said the budget has nothing for Kashmir’s beleaguered economy, and that the industrial sector is anguished at it.

In this budget, there is no financial allocation for helping the existing industrial sector, which is facing grave problems owing to the prolonged lockdowns since August 2019. “Industry was expecting some kind of stimulus, which unfortunately has not come about and this is disappointing,” FCIK said.

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