Press Trust of india

PM’s dream of development in J&K becoming reality: Hardeep Puri

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Reviews progress on development projects in Srinagar; interacts with beneficiaries of different govt schemes

Srinagar: “Prime Minister’s commitment to development of J&K is turning into reality and work regarding the same is in full swing,” Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri said Monday.

He stated that the PM’s development initiatives in J&K have “created an emotional bond between the people and the country. Central schemes directly benefit the people and I am glad that work is going on at the ground level.”

Addressing the media persons here in Srinagar, Puri, according to an official press release, said people are investing in the economic development in the Union Territory of J&K because of the Central government’s “farsighted decision to remove the bottleneck of Article 370 and 35A”.

Puri said “a new dawn of development is now set in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 that could be judged from the fact that 25 new national highway projects have been sanctioned to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 11,721 crores, 168 MoUs have been signed amounting to Rs 13,600 crores, seven new medical colleges have been sanctioned with medical seats increasing from 500 to 955, world’s highest railway bridge constructed in J&K, Vande Bharat Express is in operation from Jammu to Delhi and tourist footfall increased to more than one lakh.”

Puri further said that under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, some 12 lakh LPG connections have been provided under PM Ujjwala, 50,000 houses have been sanctioned under PMAY (U).

Interacting with the district administration officers in Srinagar, Puri said that the Centre is committed to achieving new milestones with respect to growth and development in Jammu and Kashmir.

The minister reviewed the progress of work on various development projects and work done as per government schemes like PM Awas Yojana, PM Ujwala, PM SVANidhi, SBM 2.0 and Amrut 2.0.

During the review meeting, the minister said that application of modern technology to solid waste management is the need of the hour and Srinagar will be among the cities where such strategies will be adopted on a priority basis.

He said that there is a need to process the waste as per modern standards to avoid dumping it at one location, which is hazardous to the ecosystem.

Interacting with the beneficiaries of various centrally sponsored schemes, Puri said that there are many schemes and projects under Housing and Urban Affairs that people need to take advantage of. He added that we could now improve resource utilisation through the use of technology better than the earlier times.

Elaborating on the work undertaken in Srinagar under the Smart City project, Puri highlighted that urban planning is essential as new settlements in cities have come up and there is a need to replace the old traditions to deal with the new challenges. He said that urban work has one litmus test that is to produce benefits for the citizens, and the voices of the people need to be heard for the same.

Commenting on the economic boost due to development in urban space, the minister said that the urban space had been neglected earlier and the government took the opportunity to reform this sector, which is evident from the fact that cities are now the largest contributors to the GDP of the country.

According to the press release, the minister was briefed about the redevelopment of the city by the district administration. He complimented the admin for working with dedication in order to bring about the timely completion of different projects. He advised district administrators and local bodies to take appropriate measures for dealing with solid waste management, discourage the use of single-use plastic and address the voices of people on a timely basis.

While handing over the sanction letters to the beneficiaries of various schemes, the minister said that the benefits of development should reach the poorest at the grass-roots level and the government is ensuring that it takes care of people in terms of any adversity.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K. Pole, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Ajaz Assad, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Athar Aamir and other senior officers of the district administration were present on the occasion.

Centre ready to bring fuel under GST: Petroleum minister

The Centre is ready to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime but it is unlikely that the states will agree to such a move, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

“For bringing the petrol and diesel under the GST, the states have to agree. If the states make the move, we are ready. We have been ready all along. That’s my understanding. It is another issue how to implement it. That question should be addressed to the finance minister,” Puri told reporters here.

The minister, however, pointed out that it is unlikely that the states will agree to such a move as liquor and energy are revenue generating items for them.

“It is not difficult to understand, they (states) get revenue out of this. One who is getting revenue, why would he leave it? Liquor and energy are two things that generate revenue. It is only the Central government which is worried about inflation and other things,” he added.

The Union minister said the Kerala High Court had suggested that the issue be placed before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council for discussion at its last meeting in Lucknow.

“The finance minister of that state did not agree. As far as GST is concerned, your wishes and my wishes apart, we are in a cooperative federal system,” he said.

Asked if the people can expect some respite in terms of fuel prices, the minister said India has seen one of the lowest increases in these prices in the past one year.

“I am surprised by your question. In a lighter vein, people are asking me when the prices will rise again. In North America, the fuel prices went up by 43 percent in one year but in India it went up by only two percent.

“If there is a bright spot anywhere in the world, it’s India. It’s not me saying it, it is Morgan Stanley. It’s the managing director of the IMF saying this,” Puri said.

The minister said India has been able to insulate itself from the rising fuel prices by taking a number of steps, including reducing the excise duty by the Centre.

“There are some countries in our neighbourhood which have fuel shortages, and prices are exorbitant. But we did not have shortages even in the remote areas of the country. It has been a very strong navigation at the level of the Centre and the states.  What will happen in the future it is difficult to say.

“During Covid in March 2020, the price of an oil barrel had come down to USD 19. 56 which is now USD 96. I don’t answer hypothetical questions but the efforts of the Central government will be that prices remain stable,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *