Deputy CM for reviewing State holidays
JAMMU, Oct 1: Expressing concern over mushrooming number of State holidays, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh today opined that the State Government must review the holidays as their increasing number is affecting the economy of the State also.
Talking to reporters here, Nirmal said Centre and UP Governments are reviewing the holidays as there is nothing wrong in it and following the same pattern the J&K must also review the holidays.
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The Deputy CM while justifying the demand for declaration of birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh as a State holiday, said “it is a genuine demand and BJP has always favoured this. We will take up the matter in Cabinet also”.
He said that some holidays in J&K are linked to particular political party and they have nothing to do with the State or sentiments of the people so Government should make a review of all holidays.
In response to a question regarding the statement of RSS chief Dr Mohan Rao Bhagwat regarding abrogation of Article 370 and grant of citizenship rights to West Pak refugees, Nirmal said BJP also has the same ideology and there is no shift in that but so far as Agenda of Alliance (AOA) between PDP and BJP is concerned the status quo on Constitutional matters is to be maintained.
The Deputy Chief Minister, while accusing the Pakistan of fomenting trouble in the State said the neighboring country has been totally exposed at international level and Pakistan is a loser from all sides. “It has been defeated on battle field as well as on diplomatic level” he added.
He said in recent times Pakistan made 54 attempts of cross border infiltration and, of them, 44 were foiled and dozens of commanders of terrorist outfits were eliminated by the security forces. “We have launched offensive against the terrorists now and they are on run”, he added.
“There is a joke doing rounds in Kashmir that the post of militant ‘commanders’ are lying vacant and is there any body to fill the post as one who gets nominated today is getting eliminated shortly”, he said, adding that no leniency will be shown to terrorists and a terrorist will be dealt as a terrorist only.
Nirmal said that the Narendra Modi as well State coalition want peace and “we are ready to talk with any body for restoration of peace provided he believes in Indian Constitution and those who will take to arms will be dealt accordingly”.
The Deputy Chief Minister, who exuded confidence that Government will succeed in restoration of peace in the trouble-torn State which is its main focus, said that it has adopted a multipronged strategy in this regard.
Singh said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP general secretary, Ram Madhav have already extended their offers for talks to the people desirous for restoration of peace in the State during their recent visit.
Singh, while making scathing attack on Pakistan said China has also turned its back towards it while the Islamic countries whose leadership Pakistan used to claim have also rejected it over terrorism.
Making a scathing attack on previous regimes, who ruled the State of J&K for 70 long years, the Deputy Chief Minister who also holds the portfolio of Power, held them responsible for the entire mess in PDD in the State. “The system which could not be improved in seven decades will now take some time to be put back on rails”, he added.
He announced the electrification of 102 villages by March next year and 2.70 lakh households by 2019 in the State under a Central Government scheme.
He said for the first time in the country, helicopters were used to install electricity transmission towers while laying the Jalandhar-Samba and Samba-Amargarh lines.The project will be completed within 18 months ahead of the deadline, he added.
“For the first time in India, helicopters were used to install transmission poles. A total of 102 villages have been earmarked for electrification by March. The project plans to cover the rest of the households that do not have electricity by 2019 with 30 free units for each,” he said.
A survey based on the last census put the number of houses without power supply at 2.70 lakh, he said. The Deputy CM, however, clarified that the first phase would cover the Panchayat Ghars, Public Health Engineering centres, schools, medical centres and 20 per cent of the households.
“While 52 villages — 11 in Kashmir and 41 in the Jammu region — would receive power by December, the other 50 would be electrified by March,” he added.
Asked about the challenges in laying power lines in the Valley, the Deputy CM said lack of manpower, inhospitable weather and terrain, and terrorism were some of the problems the Department faced in far-flung areas.
“The Department is working very hard to meet the deadline despite roadblocks,” he added.
Singh said the State has a total requirement of 2700 MWs of power and for utilization of 582 MWs there is no transmission line.
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initiatives, including the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme to supply electricity to the poor in the country, Singh said various Centrally sponsored projects, worth Rs 11,000 crore, were being implemented in the State.
He said the electrification of three villages, including Kali Masta in Ramban district, has been completed by laying 14 km long transmission line.
The Deputy CM further said that a meeting has been scheduled on October 10 to review various projects announced by the Prime Minister for the State. “We have invited Union Power Minister R K Singh to join the meeting,” he added.
Singh said the Central Government has given special concession to Jammu and Kashmir. “Instead of 60 per cent grants and 40 per cent loan, as is the norm in the rest of the country, Jammu and Kashmir will get 85 per cent grants and 15 per cent loan under the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme,” he added.
Seeking cooperation of the people, Singh said, “our attempt is to provide quality service to the consumers and we are working on improving the infrastructure.”
On transmission and distribution losses, Singh said 22,146 inspections were conducted in the State this year during which 12 MW load was regularised in the Jammu region and 10.5 MW load in Kashmir.
“We are working on a major project to improve the infrastructure and minimise the losses. The inspection has revealed that even the Government offices were not paying monthly fee,” he said, adding the losses have been minimised to a large extent and the Government departments are not included in the list of defaulters anymore.
Asked about Rs 1.87-crore outstanding bill of a prominent hotel here, Singh said, “If I have utilised power, I have to pay. Similarly, if the hotel has dues pending, it needs to clear the bill. Rules are same for everyone,” he added.