JAMMU, Mar 1: A high-level Government Committee set up for working out modalities for implementation of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ reached out between PDP-BJP coalition Government, has achieved breakthrough on many of the issues and could very soon submit its preliminary report to the Group of Ministers (GoM) suggesting ways and means to implement some parts of the Agenda, which has been described as holy document by both the coalition partners.
Top official sources told the Excelsior that the official panel, headed by Chief Secretary BR Sharma and comprising senior officers, mostly Administrative Secretaries of Government departments concerned with implementation of the Agenda, have held series of rounds of meetings between them to discuss the “official portion of AoA” i.e. the points in Agenda that have to be implemented at the official level and have worked out modalities for implementation of several decisions.
The late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had on April 22, 2015 constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) comprising five Cabinet Ministers of PDP and BJP authorizing them to take all measures for early implementation of the Agenda of Alliance, which the two parties had agreed to before formation of the first-ever coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir.
After some meetings, the GoM had decided to constitute a high-level official committee headed by the Chief Secretary as there were a number of issues (in the Agenda) that had to be settled at the official and not political level. The Chief Secretary was authorized to co-opt the Administrative Secretaries of the Departments to whom the Agenda points pertained.
According to sources, the major issues which the Government Panel has discussed pertained to working out modalities for return of power projects, setting up of Transparency and Delimitation Commissions, reversion of Royalty Agreement with NHPC, extending benefits of Line of Control (LoC) to the people living along International Border (IB), addressing problems of West Pakistan refugees, ST status to some communities, sanction of Smart Cities for Jammu and Srinagar, construction of two AIIMS and other major projects like Highways, roads and other issues related to infrastructure development and welfare measures.
The Government Committee has so far submitted one report on some of the Agenda points and was working on the rest, sources disclosed.
“Some of the issues pertained to the State Governm-ent while modalities for others had to be worked out at official level before they are taken up by the State at their own level or the Government of India,” sources pointed out.
However, the official panel didn’t have any mandate to debate political issues, which would be exclusive domain of the Group of Ministers.
Asserting that the Government Panel has achieved breakthrough on a number of issues by devising ways and means to implement them, sources said the Committee was preparing draft report and could shortly submit its preliminary findings to the Group of Ministers
To facilitate implementation of some of the decisions, which formed part of the Agenda of Alliance.
Sources said the Group of Ministers would meet after receiving preliminary findings from the Government Committee and go ahead with implementation of the subjects that pertained to the State Government and take up rest with the Government of India.
The Agenda of the BJP-PDP alliance in the State includes creation of conditions to facilitate resolution of all issues of J&K by talking to all stakeholders, maintaining present position on all Constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K, including the special status in the Constitution of India, and examining the need for de-notifying ‘disturbed areas’ over revocation of AFSPA.
Besides this, the Agenda also includes working out a one-time settlement for refugees from Pakistan occupied Kashmir of 1947, 1965 & 1971, taking measures for sustenance and livelihood of the West Pakistan refugees, extending all benefits accruing to the people living on the LoC and on the International Border, constructing shelters in vulnerable areas on the LoC and the International Border, preventing loss of life and giving ST status to Kollis, Chopans and Paharis.
The agenda also focused on protecting and fostering ethnic and religious diversity by ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits with dignity based on their rights as state subjects and reintegrating as well as absorbing them in the Kashmiri milieu.
The Group of Ministers comprised Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, chairman, Rural Development and Law Minister Abdul Haq Khan, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu (both PDP) and Cooperatives Minister Chering Dorjey (BJP). Former BJP Minister Choudhary Sukhnandan was also part of the Group of Ministers when it was constituted. However, he has to be replaced with another BJP Minister when the Group meets again as Sukhnandan was dropped in April last year.