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Govt committed to empower Panchayati Raj Institutions: LG

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Inaugurates Modernized & Upgraded Government Silk Weaving Factory Rajbagh

Srinagar: Taking note of the area-specific needs and developmental aspirations of the people, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today interacted with the chairpersons of District Development Councils of Kashmir division at Civil Secretariat here.

During the interaction, the LG also sought feedback on the pace of the developmental projects and their implementation on ground, besides other issues of public importance in their respective constituencies, an official press release said, adding a similar interaction with DDCs of the Jammu division will be held soon.

Speaking on the occasion, the LG reiterated the J&K government’s commitment to making Panchayati Raj Institutions more empowered and vibrant in true sense.

“The integrated approach to institutionalize the active participation of PRIs in implementation of various schemes and projects will be a key driver of the UT’s overall development agenda.  The three-tiers of the Panchayati Raj system is a bridge between policies and their implementation on the ground, and the administration is putting concerted efforts to strengthen the grass root level of the democratic setup,” the LG said.

Terming the Panchayati Raj system as the cornerstone of participatory governance in J&K, the LG observed that the funds, functions and functionaries have been made available to the public representatives for grass-root development.

“For invoking a greater role of ‘Jan Bhagidari’ (public participation) in the development process, the PRIs will be further strengthened in the near future,” he added.

The LG called upon the DDCs to work in collaboration with the administration at all levels, and also assured full cooperation and support of the government towards meeting the aspirations of people and their elected representatives.

“The UT government is treading successfully on the five principles  — transparency in governance, empowering grassroots democracy, people’s welfare, accelerated development, creation of employment opportunities — which were laid down one year ago for the development and prosperity of Jammu & Kashmir,” observed the LG.

Acknowledging the roles and responsibilities of the DDC chairpersons for the development of their respective districts, the LG said that “people of J&K have high aspirations from the DDC chairpersons in fulfilling their development aspirations and needs, and formulation of historic District Capex Budget 2021-22 with the active participation of District Development Councils was a step ahead in this direction.”

He also appreciated the functioning of the DDC chairpersons and said that their rich experience and knowledge would complement the government’s efforts in the holistic development and welfare of the people of J&K.

During the interaction meeting, the DDC chairpersons apprised the LG about their district-specific issues related to the development and public welfare.

Addressing the issue of providing continuous water supply to every household under Jal Jeevan Mission including those residing in far-flung and remote areas, the LG said that directions have already been passed to the concerned Secretary for the constitution of a team for monitoring the specific mission only.

On being apprised regarding power outage in Gurez region due to heavy snowfall, the LG said that the UT administration is working on the underground cabling project with Power Grid Corporation of India for providing power to Gurez even during the heavy snowfall season. The DPR of the project would be completed this month, he added.

While informing the achievements of macadamization of roads under PMGSY in the UT, the LG said that the UT administration has cleared a large number of cases and completed various works pending for several years.

He further informed the DDC Chairpersons that work is also going on in full swing to provide pothole-free roads and this year, the department aims to make 6000 km road length free of pot-holes.

“Soon the remaining villages left without proper road connectivity would be connected in the next two years,” he added.

On being informed about the shortage of staff in the offices of line departments in some districts, the LG said that rationalization would be done to strengthen the departments facing a shortage of officers.

The LG also spoke about various schemes and programs viz. Mission Youth, Mumkin, Parvaz, Hausla and other such initiatives under which employment opportunities are being provided to young boys and girls of the UT along with promoting entrepreneurship.

He informed about the target of extending the financial assistance to 50,000 youth set by the government for this year’s ‘Back to Village’ program.

The LG directed the concerned officers to provide upgraded/new vehicles to the DDC offices. He informed the DDC chairpersons that DPR has been formulated for providing them accommodation and office facilities in every district.

The LG also enumerated the measures taken by the government pertaining to providing reliable power supply to the consumers, besides connecting the left-out habitations; employment generation; maintaining transparency and accountability in the government’s functioning.

The DDC chairpersons would visit the other regions of the country to get the first-hand appraisal of the working of Panchayati Raj system in other States/UTs of the country thereby increasing their exposure and knowledge base, it was informed.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor today inaugurated the Modernized & Upgraded Government Silk Weaving Factory at Rajbagh, Srinagar marking an important step towards the revival and holistic development of the silk industry in UT.

Government Silk Weaving Factory was established in the year 1937 and has been in operation since then. Over a period of time, most of the machinery had become obsolete and the factory suffered huge damage to the infrastructure in the floods of 2014.

As part of the revival plan, the Century-old Government Silk Weaving Factory Rajbagh has been upgraded and modernized with a project cost of Rs.23.54 crores under the World Bank Funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. Under the upgradation plan, a new factory with state-of-the-art preparatory and weaving machinery has been installed.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor observed that the government will begin the branding of Kashmir silk to provide it an international market. “We will soon launch Rajbagh Silk as a new brand for Kashmir silk. Moreover, the Tourism Department will work in tandem with the department of Industries and Commerce to ensure ease of access to Kashmir silk market for our tourists”, he added.

The revival plan of Jammu Kashmir Industries Limited (JKI) is being implemented focusing on making the organization as a profitable and viable entity, besides providing livelihood support to the marginalized sections of the society, especially those associated with the cocoon rearing and production of wool, the Lt Governor said.

The revamped Government Silk Factory would provide a cocoon consumption market to approximately 50000 cocoon growers/ farmers of the Kashmir Division. Pertinently, in absence of such a big consumption Centre for the local cocoon, the farmers were exploited by middle men and major quantity of cocoon would get exported to other parts of the country without any value addition.

The Government Silk Weaving Factory Rajbagh will now be capable of producing 4,50,000 meters of silk fabric per annum creating a viable economic cycle and employment opportunities both directly and indirectly. Further, the Government Silk Weaving Factory Jammu established in the year 2020 is providing direct market to the cocoon rearers of the Jammu Division, added the Lt Governor.

In the second phase, the Industries department will restore two heritage buildings of the silk factory. This will have a design studio, quality control lab & areas for tailoring where customers can select the fabric & talk to the master tailors, it was informed.

Later, the Lt Governor also interacted with the Artisan clusters of Willow wicker (Ganderbal), Papier machie (Zadibal), Crewel (Noorbagh) and Wool (Bandipore). The artisan clusters have been established under the World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project for the skill enhancement of the artisans, training them in the management of the artisan owned clusters and developing market linkages for their products.

A presentation was also made by the experts of the consultancy engaged by JTFRP for the adaptive reuse of the Rajbagh Silk Factory, and the steps proposed for the retrofitting of the old factory, using the old campus for dyeing, yarn certification and other beautification measures, besides linking the campus with the tourist circuit.

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