Prospectus of resolution rekindled in J&K
JAMMU, Nov 6: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today she was optimistic that various organizations and parties will not miss the opportunity and join dialogue initiated in Kashmir by Centre Government’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma even as she called upon the Council of Ministers to facilitate the talks and ensure that maximum stakeholders join it.
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In a couple of tweets and addressing meeting of the Council of Ministers at Civil Secretariat on first day of re-opening of Durbar Move offices in Jammu, the winter capital of the State, Mehbooba tweeted:”Optimistic that various organizations and parties will not miss opportunity to be part of peace parleys. Hope of resolution via dialogue has been rekindled in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Mehbooba’s tweets came within hours after Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma landed in Kashmir on his maiden five-day visit to the State after his appointment last month. He would be in Kashmir for first three days and in Jammu for next two days.
In brief inter-action with the Council of Ministers on re-opening of the Civil Secretariat here, the Chief Minister is reported to have called upon the Ministers to facilitate dialogue between as many stakeholders as possible with the Special Representative as this would lead to resolution of Kashmir.
Mehbooba told the Ministers that the Centre Government has made sincere effort on resolution of Jammu and Kashmir problem by giving the Cabinet Secretary rank to Sharma and asking him to meet all stakeholders.
“It was duty of all elected representatives including the Ministers to facilitate the dialogue and ensure maximum involvement in it,” she reportedly said.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State attended the meeting. However, some of the BJP Ministers couldn’t make it to the meeting as they were busy in election campaigning at Himachal Pradesh.
Mehbooba also called for coordination among the Ministers. She stressed that the Ministers should focus on developmental works by regularly holding review meetings with the officers and officials, executing agencies and other concerned authorities to ensure that the projects didn’t miss deadlines, which lead to cost escalation.
Mehbooba later also chaired the meeting of all Administrative Secretaries of various Departments and called upon to regularly monitor developmental works including those being executed under Prime Minister’s Development Plan (PMDP) and ensure their timely completion.
She said the Administrative Secretaries should ensure that the people don’t suffer on account of power and water supply and other basic necessities.
Mehbooba directed the Administrative Secretaries to ensure that budgetary allocations to their respective Departments are fully utilized by the end of current fiscal and in no case should any funds revalidation or lapses be allowed to happen.
She directed the officers to reflect the needs of their Departments in the coming budgetary meetings and ensure that funds allocated to them are utilized to full by the end of this financial year. She also asked them to see to it that the on-going schemes and projects are completed at the earliest to avoid cost and time over run.
Mehbooba asked the officers to keep a track of all the projects under Prime Minister’s Development Plan and make it a point that these are executed as per the timeline already decided and in no case be allowed to overrun. She asked them to take periodic reviews of these projects in their Departments so that the completion of timelines are met with.
In view of the coming winter, the Chief Minister sought details of stocking of essential supplies at far flung areas of the State like Ladakh, Marwah and Wadwan.
She was informed that stock and supply position in these areas is by and large satisfactory. She directed the Power Secretary to improve distribution system during winter months as much as possible and ensure as minimum curtailment of electricity in Kashmir valley in view of the harsh winters as possible.
On the health sector, Mehbooba directed that all the medical staff be rationally posted and the concept of attaching them in cities and towns be done away with. She directed the Health Secretary to ensure that the Medical Supplies Corporation, entrusted with supply of medicine to hospitals, is made much more vibrant and active and supplies are ensured to hospitals in time.
The Chief Minister directed the officers to undertake periodic visits to areas to personally acquaint themselves with the developmental pace and needs of the people. She also asked the Secretaries to start a process of digitization of their records and in this connection directed the General Administration Department to initiate the process with its records. She also directed that all Departmental enquiries, hanging fire for last so many years, be concluded at the earliest.
Mehbooba directed adoption of a monitoring mechanism to oversee proper implementation of Public Services Guarantee Act and Right to Information Act. She also laid stress on introducing File Tracking System in all Departments besides ensuring induction of biometric attendance system in every field office.
Chief Secretary, B B Vyas and all Administrative Secretaries were present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the State Government spokesman and Works Minister Naeem Akhter today said the dialogue process initiated by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir is “different” from previous such initiatives as it is “institutionalized, structured and sustained”.
“I cannot describe the (high) level of expectation (from the dialogue process). This is a sincere effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He started this process from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day,” Naeem Akhtar told reporters soon after the reopening of Government offices here, after the seat of power moved from Srinagar.
He was replying to a volley of questions on the dialogue process, which Sharma began in Srinagar today.
This “is a national commitment” made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naeem said.
Modi had said on August 15, “Na gaali se, na goli se, parivartan hoga gale lagaane se (Only by embracing the people, and not with abuses or bullets, can there be a change in Kashmir).”
Akhtar said the process was a “follow-up” to Modi’s remarks and should be seen as “a serious move” by the Government.
Replying to a question on the fate of reports of previous interlocutors and the “trust deficit” among the people about the present process, the Minister said, “His (Sharma) mandate is sustained dialogue and it is different from the rest in the past.”
“Sustained dialogue means, irrespective of what you and I say, the dialogue process will continue,” he said.
“This interlocution is different. First, the President of India has appointed him. Second, he has been given position in Government structure and therefore, this is structured dialogue. Third, he will carry forward a sustained dialogue. Therefore, it is an institutionalized and structured dialogue process. We know there can be problem as well,” Naeem Akhter said.
Asked whether he has any message for the Joint Resistance Front comprising separatist groups including moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat and JKLF who have said they would not meet Sharma, Akhtar said, “I don’t want to tell anybody anything. We purely hope that the effort has been made with utmost sincerity on the line of the Prime Minister’s wish to win the hearts and minds of the people.”
He said the dialogue process was a “right step in the right direction”.
Akhter said that the present initiative would strengthen the Agenda of Alliance (AoA) between the PDP and the BJP.
Meanwhile, the PDP-BJP coalition Government today began its functioning for next six months from here after shifting from Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, as part of the pre-Independence practice of “Darbar Move”.
The Civil Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, Police Headquarters and other offices opened with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti inspecting a guard of honour at the seat of Government here.
Accompanied by Minister of State for Education Priya Sethi, the Chief Minister met employees on the first day of Darbar Move.
“Darbar Move offices have been opened here and we hope to ensure that we bring best possible governance to the people of the State,” Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said.
He said the Government will reach out to all sections of people and all areas of the three regions for best possible development on all fronts.
The Civil Secretariat and other ‘Darbar Move’ offices function in Srinagar for six months of summer and in Jammu for the remaining six months of the year.
The practice of ‘Darbar Move’ was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape the summer heat of Jammu and the biting winters of Srinagar.
The winter capital has been given a face-lift ahead of the re-opening of the ‘Move offices’.
The roads around and leading to the Civil Secretariat are being renovated with labourers busy cleaning the pathways and painting the roadsides.
Government offices and quarters have been renovated and the damaged street lights repaired, officials said.
The State Government spends crores of rupees every year to shift voluminous records between the two capital cities twice a year, besides paying a huge amount as allowance to several thousand employees who shift base with the Government.
The Chief Minister inspected ceremonial guard of honour by a contingent of Jammu and Kashmir Police. She also met representatives of Civil Secretariat led by Ghulam Rasool Mir.