JAMMU, Jan 2: Governor N N Vohra said today that all challenges can be met through dialogue, which is the best means of resolving all disagreements, and called upon all those, who had earlier refused to be part of peace process, to accept the offer of talks made by Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir (Dineshwar Sharma). He expressed confidence that all segments (of society) would come forward for dialogue and all issues would find resolution.
At the same time, the Governor said, the Government was determined to ensure that the arc of violence doesn’t spread from fringes to the mainstream, which will require “tough and targeted actions” by security forces.
“The Government firmly believed that “elected and electorate” have equal stakes in peace process and, together, they will have to rise against those who choose violence to disrupt the established order. Such challenges will be met through dialogue, which is the best means of resolving all disagreements.
“To all those who had earlier refused to be part of the peace process, the Government appealed them to come forward and accept the offer of the Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, for dialogue. The Government is hopeful that, soon enough, all segments will come forward for a dialogue and issues would find resolution,” the Governor said in his Address to Joint Sitting of Legislature, today.
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Vohra said the Government remained committed to taking all possible steps for building on the peace dividend and also remained equally determined to ensure that the arc of violence doesn’t spread from the fringes to mainstream, to yet again disrupt the lives.
“This will require tough and targeted actions by our security forces,” he added.
“For the past several months our security forces have been successfully carrying out targeted counter terrorist operations. While they shall engage in such operations whenever it is necessary to do so, it is hoped that these shall involve the least possible collateral damage to the lives and properties of innocent persons,” he said.
Saluting brave-hearts of Army, Central Armed Police Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel for operating in most difficult circumstances and laying down their lives in fight against terror and violence, the Governor said the nation will remain ever grateful to brave jawans and officers of the security forces.
He said that while the valour and sacrifices made by our police personnel cannot ever be viewed in monetary terms, the Government has, to express it unbounded gratitude, taken several measures for further enhancing the welfare of our policemen and their families.
Referring to the youth, who have been influenced and misled into deviating from the path, Vohra said the Government remained committed to weaning them away from “purveyors of violence”.
“The real battle is not on the streets but to combat and counter deviation of younger generation from inherited values of society. The Government is committed to patiently listen to the youth and do everything to bring them back to the fold,” he added.
The Governor reiterated the Government announcement to commence Panchayati Raj elections in Jammu and Kashmir during February 2018 and, thereafter, to the Urban Local Bodies.
Batting for regaining the lost trust and negating the misgivings in certain sections in Jammu and Kashmir, Vohra said the State Government sees 2018 as a year of opportunities and a period for fully exploiting all possible openings and opportunities.
“We shall need to regain the lost trust and negate the misgivings in certain sections of our society (in Kashmir),” he said.
The Governor hoped that 2018 will prove to be a year of opportunities on several fronts.
“Side by side, recognizing the serious visual disabilities suffered by youth who received pellet injuries, Government has decided to rehabilitate them and mitigate their sufferings to the maximum possible extent,” he added.
The Governor said that the Government is aware of the growing aspirations of our students, some of whom have secured outstanding achievements in academics, sports and many other fields.
Vohra outlined various achievements of the Government, and hoped that the New Year would bring peace and enable development.
He urged lawmakers to make “some resolutions” in the New Year to advance the development of “our people and our State”.
He said “let us resolve that from now onwards the problems faced in recent years” will not be allowed to become a baggage for the future, and added that the anxieties of the people will be replaced by aspirations of a prosperous future.
“I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy New Year and hope that 2018 shall be the harbinger of an era of peace which shall enable rapid growth and development of the State and foster harmonious social relations across the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir,” he told lawmakers.
He outlined the development-related programmes undertaken by the Union and the State Governments.
“The major part of the Prime Minister’s Development Package is dedicated to enhancing physical connectivity. The projects under the PMDP, upon implementation, will transform the infrastructural landscape of the State,” he stressed.
The Union Government was making a Rs 42,668 crore investment through the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and the Ministry of Defence, and 19 projects have been approved, which include national highway projects, he said.
Some of the projects he mentioned included the Chenani- Nashri Tunnel, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, and the Jammu-Udhampur Highway (completed).
He said the Government was seized of the traffic problems in the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu, and has initiated steps for structural changes to the landscapes of the cities.
To improve the traffic situation, Vohra said: “Unless the twin capital cities are decongested through appropriate detours, underpasses and flyovers, commuters would continue to face severe traffic jams, which would be unacceptable.”
He said the Government was making efforts to provide uninterrupted electricity to all registered consumers and to cover all un-electrified areas by 2019.
His address to the lawmakers also had a special mention of the devastating floods in 2014 in which more than 300 people died.
“The enormous damage done by the September 2014 floods cannot be forgotten. It reminds us of our systemic failure to appreciate the imperatives of flood management in the Valley and in the whole State,” he said, adding that the Government was committed to finding a permanent solution to the problem.
Vohra said a comprehensive flood management plan for river Jhelum has been devised and was under implementation.
To transform the State into a business hub, the State Government has implemented 270 business reforms advised by the Union Government, he said. “This has enormously improved our inter-state rankings. In a major shift, any new Industrial Unit in the State is presently being registered online”.
He said that consistent with the national goals, the State Government was working towards declaring all urban areas as Open Defecation Free (ODF) by March 31, 2018.
“It is a matter of serious concern that the contribution of agriculture and allied sectors to the Gross State Domestic Production has been steadily declined over the decades,” he said.
“More recently, it has declined from 28.16 per cent in 2004-05 to 15.89 per cent in 2015-16. The Government has decided to take steps to revive the agriculture sector. As a part of this renewed focus, steps are being taken to double the farmers’ income by 2022, in line with the national target,” he added.
He described the tourism sector as the “mainstay of our economy”, citing data that around 1.2 million tourists, including over 26,000 foreigners, visited the state in 2017.
The Governor said more than eight million pilgrims paid obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, while about 2.60 lakh yatris visited the Amarnath Shrine last year.
He praised the women of the State for being “stakeholders in furthering peace and development.”
“Safety and security of our women is among the priorities of the Government,” he said.
On the return of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, he said the Prime Minister’s package has been a key initiative aimed at ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
Vohra said the Government was committed to look after the Kashmiri Pandits, who chose to stay when their brethren left the Valley during the period when militancy was at its peak.