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J&K joins rest of nation to celebrate Republic Day

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LG unfurls national flag at Jammu, Bhatnagar at Srinagar

Jammu/Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir joined the rest of the nation today to celebrate the 74th Republic Day of India with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha unfurling the National Flag at MA Stadium Jammu where the main function was held this morning.

The main Republic Day function in the Valley was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar here. Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Rajesh Rai Bhatnagar was the chief guest and presided over the function.

The LG inspected the contingents of the Republic Day parade and took the ceremonial salute.

The Republic Day parade consisted of smart contingents from Army, BSF, CRPF, SSB, IRP (Women & Male), J&K Police, JKAP, UT Disaster Response Force, J&K Fire and Emergency Services, J&K Forest Protection Force, J&K Excise Department, J&K Ex-Services League, NCC (Boys and Girls), Bharat Scouts and Guides (Girls & Boys), besides several school contingents, Brass & Pipe Bands of Army, BSF, J&K Police, J&K Armed Police and Band Troops (Girl & Boys) of different schools.

Various schools and departments on the occasion presented spellbinding performances and spread awareness on Nasha Mukt Jammu Kashmir, Digital Journey of J&K and Swachh Bharat Mission.

Acrobatics on motorcycle by the dare-devils of JKP, dance performances representing different regions of the nation based on the themes of unity, integrity and national integration, the history and heritage of Jammu Kashmir and displays by J&K Fire & Emergency Services, JKRLM, Youth Services & Sports Department, remained the highlights of the Republic Day celebrations.

Earlier, the LG laid wreaths at the Police Martyrs Memorial and Balidan Stambh and paid tributes to fallen soldiers who made supreme sacrifices while protecting the territorial integrity of the nation.

The Republic Day celebrations was attended by Chief Justice (A) Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court; Judges of the J&K and Ladakh High Court; Chief Election Commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir; Mayor, Jammu Municipal Corporation; Members of Parliament; DDC Chairperson, Jammu; Chief Secretary; DGP; Chairperson J&K Waqf Board; elected representatives of ULBs and PRIs; former Legislators; senior Civil, Police and Army officers; political and social leaders; prominent citizens, media persons and the citizenry.

Republic Day was celebrated across Kashmir on Thursday with functions held at all district headquarters of the Valley amidst tight security arrangements, officials said here.

Meanwhile, the main Republic Day function in the Valley was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar here. Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Rajesh Rai Bhatnagar was the chief guest and presided over the function.

Security forces were deployed in adequate numbers on the roads leading to the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium.

Braving bone-chilling cold, contingents of the police, CRPF, NCC and school children took part in the march-past where Bhatnagar took the salute. After the parade, artists from various parts of the union territory performed at the cultural event.

In his address, Bhatnagar highlighted the steps taken by the LG administration and the central government to improve the development scenario and security situation in Kashmir.

He said that “from past three years, J&K is witnessing a new dawn, a dawn which promises hope, a dawn which reflects prosperity, progress and development.”

He also added that the UT is poised to become the latest success story among Indian states.

“The government is committed to building a strong Jammu and Kashmir and continuing its march ahead with the mantra of 4 P’s – Peace, Progress, Prosperity and People first,” he said and asserted that the present government is determined to ensure that every single citizen of UT enjoys a prosperous and peaceful life.

Highlighting some of the achievements of the administration, Bhatnagar said that the health sector is one of the major sectors progressing rapidly from the last few years.

He said the LG-led administration has taken some novel initiatives to amplify the medical-care infrastructure across the UT so that the best and advanced services are provided to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Advisor also observed that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has registered a tremendous decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) during the last one year and has registered a three point decline from 20 to 17 in a single year — much better than the national average which stands at 28.

He added that two new AIIMS with the project cost of Rs 4000 crore, one each at Jammu and Kashmir divisions are coming up.

He further said that seven new medical colleges are being established with total outlay of Rs 1595 crore, 15 nursing colleges are targeted — eight are operational and two more in Rajouri and Pulwama — shall start shortly this year, while two cancer institutes (one each at Jammu and Kashmir divisions) with total cost of Rs 212 crore have been established.

He added that, out of 140 projects under Prime Ministers Development Package (PMDP) with an outlay of Rs 881.00 crore, 115 projects have already been completed and remaining 25 projects are in progress.

Advisor Bhatnagar observed that J&K is predominantly an agrarian economy with 70 percent of its population dependent on agricultural activities, and added that the progress of Jammu and Kashmir is directly associated with the development of farmers.

He added that the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir are taking benefits of various farmer-centric initiatives like PM-Kissan, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil health cards, Jan Dhan Yojana and Kisan Credit Cards, all of which are changing the face of India’s agriculture. He added that the claims of around Rs 55.94 crore have been disbursed covering 43,000 farmers under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

Advisor Bhatnagar also remarked that around Rs one lakh crore is being spent on road and tunnel infrastructure across Jammu and Kashmir. He added that J&K, which once stood at 10th or 11th position in implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), has secured the third rank in the country.

Advisor further said that till 2018, on an average, 1500 to 1600 km of road length used to be constructed each year; the same has now more than doubled to 3200 kilometers. Similarly, around 2200 to 2300 kilometers of road length used to be macadamized each year which also has more than doubled to 7610 Km during 2021-22 and the target of record 8000 km of road macdamization will be achieved by the end of this financial year, he added.

Speaking on industrial development, the Advisor said that the present administration has also taken some reformative measures in the industrial sector and for seamless establishment of business enterprises, various steps have been taken to minimize compliance burden for the investors while establishing business.

“The J&K Single Window (Industrial Investment and Business Facilitation) Act 2018 has been made operational. Single Window Portal is the single point of contact for an investor for end to end facilitation of business establishment. More than 166 services made online and available on the Single Window Portal,” he said.

Advisor further said that several other reformative interventions have also been initiated for boosting investments and till date J&K has received investment proposals of more than Rs 66,000 crore, with a direct employment potential of more than 2.93 lakh.

“Besides domestic, marked interest has been shown by foreign investors in the region and recently an MoU with Government of Dubai has been entered into for making investment in the region,” he said.

With regard to empowerment of youth, the Advisor remarked that the administration is working tirelessly for catering the needs of youth of Jammu and Kashmir and several interventions have been made for channelizing the enormous potential of our youth and ensuring their participation in the process of governance.

“4,500 youth clubs have been set up covering all Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies in the UT through which 63,000 youths have been connected. Playfields have been set up in 4000 Panchayats”, he said.

Advisor further said that more than dozen job-oriented programs have been started through the dedicated initiatives of Mission Youth along-with Skill Development Programmes aimed at securing their future and sustainable livelihood.

Meanwhile BJP workers led by the party’s state general secretary Ashok Koul unfurled the national flag at Lal Chowk’s clock tower.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad also conducted a march with a 100-foot-long national flag through the Lal Chowk city centre here.

Chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists from various parts of the country marched from Sher-e-Kashmir park to the iconic clock tower in Lal Chowk.

This is the first time that the ABVP, the students’ wing of the RSS, has held an event in Kashmir.

While security force personnel were deployed in numbers to ensure smooth passage of the functions, the atmosphere in the city was visibly relaxed with fewer check-posts set up to regulate traffic.

In a rare departure from practice, the internet on mobile devices was not suspended, which used to be a regular feature of the security drill after the 2005 IED blast, triggered by using a mobile phone, outside the venue of the Independence Day function here.

Similar functions were held at all district headquarters of the Valley where respective deputy commissioners presided over the proceedings.

Reports reaching here said the Republic Day parade in Anantnag and Kulgam districts made for a spectacular view as the parade was held amid snowfall, which had painted the parade ground white at both places.

In Pattan area of north Kashmir Baramulla district, a group of school children took out a ‘tiranga’ rally to mark the Republic Day.

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