KATHUA, Feb 11: Stressing on investigating the antecedents of Myamnar and Bangladeshi refugees putting up in various parts of Jammu region, Union Minister of State in PMO with Independent Charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that it must be ascertained that how these refugees reached Jammu from such a far off place.
Talking to reporters at the sidelines of laying the foundation stone of road projects under PMGSY falling in Kathua and Hiranagar constituencies at village Dhol Khad near here today, the Union Minister said a thorough probe needs to be held that who brought them here from Bangladesh and Myanmar, which are in the Eastern border of India.
Dr Jitendra, while making a dig at those political parties who chose to maintain silence over the issue for their vote bank politics said that in the long run these refugees will not also serve their interests. Those who oppose the settlement of West Pakistan refugees in the State, who are putting up here for last 70 years, have been exposed for their double standards by maintaining a studied silence over the rehabilitation of foreigners in Jammu, he added.
“It should be investigated thoroughly that who these people are, how they came and who allowed them to settle over here”, he said.
Later addressing public gathering Dr Jitendra asked people to watch that the funds earmarked for development are spent for their welfare or for foreigners who are going to change the demography of the region besides posing a security risk.
Without naming Congress and National Conference (NC), the Union Minister took those leaders to task who say that nothing has been done for West Pak and PoK refugees. He said that these people are right as nothing was done for these refugees during their 65 years rule. During the last two and half years rule of Narendra Modi at Centre and two year’s rule of BJP-PDP coalition in the State, a beginning has been made by issuing Identity cards for West Pak refugees while the first instalment of compensation of Rs 2000 crore was released for PoK refugees.
He said that those who talk that they had recommended Rs 9000 crore package for PoJK refugees are misleading people as they are only making statements and had done nothing on ground over the years for these hapless people. “These parties are frightened by seeing their report card of 65 years and comparing it with two and half years rule of Narendra Modi”, he added.
On return of Kashmiri migrants to Valley, Dr Jitendra said that BJP stands for their honourable and dignified return in accordance to their aspirations. In response to a question that Modi Government has changed its stand on the separate colonies for Pandits in Valley, Dr Singh retorted back that he stands by his previous statements on the issue of KPs that they should be rehabilitated in Valley with honour and dignity as per their aspirations. The decision in this regard will be taken which should be acceptable to Kashmiri Pandits”, he added.
Maintaining that discussions are being held in this regard, Dr Jitendra expressed the hope that some thing tangible will materialise.
On recent statements by the Chief Minister and other leaders that Modi Government should adopt Vajpayee formula and hold talks with Pakistan, the Union Minister said that it is the subject of Union Government and State leaders have nothing to do with it. “Moreover we are the people who are the followers of Vajpayee and we don’t need any advice from any body on this account. If they are so impressed by Vajpayee then they should join our Party,” he added.
In response to another question about the construction of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra corridor, Dr Jitendra Singh said its feasibility is being worked out and after its construction the distance from Katra to Delhi will be reduced to five hours only. Besides, it will also link the two holy cities of Katra and Amritsar, he added.
Later addressing a mammoth public gathering, Dr Singh said that all the major road projects for Kathua, Udhampur districts and erstwhile district Doda have been cleared for construction from Central funds like “Central Road Fund” (CRF), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Union Ministry of Defence / Border Roads Organization (BRO) fund.
He said, for the first time, the overall average construction of roads has increased to over 113 kms per day and out of total Central Fund of Rs. 3,600 crore sanctioned for PMGSY roads in Jammu & Kashmir, over half the amount has been earmarked only for the Lok Sabha Parliamentary constituency of Kathua-Udhampur-Doda.
Referring to some of the mega-projects brought in the Constituency, Dr Jitendra said, most of the major promises made during the Parliamentary election have been sought to be fulfilled with landmark Keedhiyan-Gadhiyal bridge and North India’s first-ever Bio-tech Park in Kathua, river Devika Cleaning Project, Radio Station for Udhampur and initiation of proposal for Chandragala tunnel on Basohli-Bhaderwah road segment.
The Union Minister said that in the last two-and-a-half years, a record amount of over Rs 850 crore has been sanctioned from Central Government for construction of roads and bridges in district Kathua. This is not only possibly the “record” highest amount so far sanctioned for Kathua roads in last several decades, but is also possibly the highest amount for any single district among the various districts of J&K State.
Under PMGSY, Dr Jitendra Singh said, Kathua district alone received Rs. 405.66 crore, Udhampur district Rs 350 crore, erstwhile Doda district Rs. 600 crore and Reasi district Rs. 160 crore. In addition, he said, Kathua also got Rs. 150 crore for Keedhiyan-Gadhiyal bridge and under CRF, Juthana bridge for Rs.45.54 crore, for Halti road upgradation Rs. 40.52 crore and for Lakhanpur-Thien road Rs. 43.3 crore.
Another amount of Rs. 34.25 crore under CRF category is under pipeline for construction of roads adjoining Keedhiyan-Gadhiyal bridge. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has also, in addition, sanctioned Rs.21.38 crore for seven roads and one bridge in district Kathua, he added.
Dr Jitendra said, Kathua is on fast-track of development and will soon emerge as a role model for other districts. He said, since the programme today is devoted to roads, he is not mentioning the other important works undertaken through Central funds, MPLAD and convergence from other sources. These, he said, for example, include the construction of North India’s first-ever Bio-tech Park at Gaati, Dreamland Park in Kathua, new Railway Station at Kathua and construction of sheds and benches at existing Kathua Railway Station.
Dr Jitendra also disclosed that the Union Health Minister will soon be invited to lay the foundation stone of new Medical College at Kathua while the new Engineering College has also been sanctioned under the Central Government’s “Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan” (RUSA). Under Central Government’s “Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana” (DDUGJY), a target has been set to achieve 100% rural electrification in Kathua district by the middle of next year, he added.
BJP MLAs Rajiv Jasrotia and Kuldeep Kumar and BJP Kathua district president Premnath Dogra also spoke on the occasion. All of them profusely thanked Dr Jitendra Singh and said that so much of development work had never been witnessed in Kathua during the tenure of any past MP during the last 65 years. They said, some of the landmark projects initiated by Dr Jitendra Singh as MP would be remembered by several future generations to come.
Later, Dr Jitendra Singh participated in a programme to pay homage to Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya on his death anniversary at Ghagwal along with the Mandal office bearers of BJP.