JAMMU, Jan 25: Governor NN Vohra today took on the separatists and their supporters saying that continuation of hartals and violent protests, like the one witnessed last year, will yield no other result except dragging out people and Jammu and Kashmir to slip further far behind.
Without naming Hurriyat Conference and other separatists, who had been issuing hartal calendars last summer in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the Governor said: “time has now come for the leaders of various movements in our society, and all those who follow them, to accept that the continuation of hartals and protests would take the State nowhere except causing irreparable damage to various sectors including education”.
In his message on the eve of Republic Day, Vohra said he has repeatedly been cautioning against serious consequences of a confrontationist approach being following to resolve the problems.
“I yet again appeal to the leaders of all social, cultural, religious, political and other organizations in Jammu and Kashmir to seriously ponder over happening in the past months (a reference to five-month long Kashmir unrest in 2016) and recognize that the recurring agitations are causing varied adverse consequences for our people, particularly those who live in Kashmir,” he said.
The Governor said: “the hartals, which exten-ded from week to week, caused large economic losses and severe hardships to those, who have to earn their livelihood by daily business or work. The violent agitationists burnt down several dozen schools, Government officers, police stations and private property”.
Apart from this, the disturbances also caused irreparable damage to functioning of education system, affecting studies of over 14 lakh school going children besides University and College students.
Batting for dialogue, the Governor called upon the stakeholders not to lose any further time in accepting that only way forward is through reconciliation, restoration of communal harmony and engaging in dialogue to resolve all issues.
“An environment of distrust, confrontations and violence will disrupt our society and further retard the growth and development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Taking a dig at Pakistan, Vohra said: “in the country’s forward march to attain growth and development, Jammu and Kashmir has not been able to achieve its goals because of the western neighbour’s unceasing ventures to destabilize our democratic framework and perpetrate violence and terrorism to seize Kashmir.
“From the time we attained freedom successive Governments at the Centre, irrespective of their political complexion, have consistently sought to secure peaceful relations with all our neighbours. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, soon after he assumed responsibility in 2014, launched vigorous initiatives for re-inforcing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all our neighbours, particularly with Pakistan. We continue to hope that the neighbour will soon realize the high dividends to be gained if peace prevails along our frontiers.”
In Jammu and Kashmir, our greatest strength is our youth, who comprise almost half of our population.
“As we have seen for ourselves in the past few years, despite the severe constraints arising from recurring spells of disruption and disorder, our youth has been doing very well in almost every arena. Besides excelling in studies and winning awards and national fellowships, a growing number of our students have been gaining high positions in the All India Services, Central Services, Defence, Central Police Forces and other Services,” Vohra said.
A matter for even greater pride, in the past year our young boys and girls have won medals in various sports at National, Asian, Common Wealth and World Championships. And, more recently, one of our bright young girls from the Valley has made an excellent beginning in the cinema world, he said.
“If the upcoming generation is to achieve its full potential it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to ensure that an undisturbed environment prevails in the State. On the development front, it is important to ensure that we do not lose any further time in most efficiently utilizing the Prime Minister’s Special Package of Rs. 80,000 crore. It would be of particular benefit to timely implement the infrastructure projects relating to the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels and highways for which there is an allocation of about Rs. 42,700 crore,” the Governor said.
He added that the establishment of connectivity with all parts of the State, particularly the remote and difficult areas, will pave the way for the rapid implementation of development projects.
Side by side, he said, time bound use must be made of the significant resources which are available for establishing and enhancing capacities in regard to power generation, power distribution networks, energy efficiency, agriculture and horticulture production, water supply, drainage and sewerage, urban transport systems and carrying out varied other programmes.
“To meet the challenge of unemployment, in the past year, the State Government have cleared various proposals valuing over Rs. 2500 crore for increasing the availability of jobs in the industrial sector. Adequate resources are also available for improving the productivity of the over 4 lakh artisans and weavers in our State,” the Governor said.
He said while resources are available, “we need to take systematic steps to visibly improve our work culture. The entire Governmental machinery needs to perform with speed, efficiency, accountability and totally free from any form of corruption. The State Government also needs to ensure that there is no further delay in restoring the effective functioning of the various statutory and constitutional Commissions which have been set up to serve as watchdogs of governance.”
Vohra said: “governance shall become far more effective and productive when all our people, living in the rural and urban areas, are empowered to be involved not only in determining their priority needs but also in planning and implementing various schemes and programmes to resolve their problems”.
He said it was satisfying to note that the present Government is committed to conducting Panchayat elections by next March and establishing the 3-tier Panchayati Raj structure which has been functioning in the rest of the country for the past several decades now. The Government is also committed to carrying through the now very long pending elections to the Urban Local Bodies.
“The establishment of a decentralized democratic framework at the grass root level shall provide an exciting opportunity for all our people, living in the villages and towns, of becoming closely involved in executing programmes which promote their welfare. I look forward to seeing the maximum number of voters exercising their franchise in the forthcoming Panchayat and Municipal polls.
I“ thank the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central Armed Police Forces and the Army for their devotion and the sacrifices that they have been making to preserve the unity and the territorial integrity of our State. Considering the prevailing environment along our frontiers, our Security Forces shall need to enforce even greater vigil.
“I take this opportunity to recognize the varied difficulties which are being faced by our people who live in the border areas and salute their courage and resilience,” the Governor said.