Not many people of our Jammu City are aware of the fact that Jammu region has the unique distinction in whole India to have IIT, IIM and AIIMS in same region. But this rise in stature of Jammu is not an overnight transformation as Jammu has paid a heavy price time and again, be it sacrifice of Shri Syama Prasad Mookerjee or numerous agitators who sacrificed their lives for the cause and rights of Jammu. It all started during partition days itself when otherwise peaceful Jammu witnessed massacre of Mirpur, Rajouri, Poonch , Sialkot along with communal riots in Jammu also .With total neglect even during signing of Instrument of Accession to Delhi agreement which subsequently shifted the power equation from Dogra rulers to Kashmir centric NC. In fact Jammu was nowhere in the plans of respective Central Governments also. Whatever so called development took place in the name of airport, railway station, GMC; they were either necessities or strategic requirements of GoI than efforts to apply healing balm to Jammu. Leave alone the development even assembly constituencies were divided irrationally to appease Kashmir which is still prevalent today despite clear recommendations from Wazir Commission and various other committees from time to time. Though following the Constitution of J&K of the year 1939 enacted by the Maharaja which was on the basis of equality of number of constituencies yet after the accession of the State, administration suddenly carved out 43 seats for Kashmir Region and only 30 seats for Jammu region along with 2 seats for Ladakh Region. Even today, the total contestable and filled seats of the assembly are 87 with Kashmir valley region having 46 seats, the Jammu region has 37 seats and the Ladakh region has 4 seats despite being the fact that as per Census of India 2011 with a population of about 12.5 million, J&K is 19th most populated state in India while Jammu region is having 26% of the State’s total geographical area but it accounts for 55% of its total population. In the Jammu division, Jammu district has the highest share of population. Along with elected 87 MLAs two women may be nominated as members by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir if he is of the opinion that women are not adequately represented.
Expansion of Jammu city actually took its shape in 1962 with formation of Jammu Municipality over an area of 16.87 sq km. Afterwards First Master Plan (FMP) 1974-94 extended Jammu city over an area of 130.36 sq then delayed Second Master Plan (SMP) for Jammu was approved in 2004 and eventually now JMP -2032 has been approved. Initially all the development projects be it AIIMS (SKIMS), REC (Regional Engineering college, now NIT) , 5 Star hotels, International Airport , HMT factory , Doordarshan Kendra, Cement factories , telephone and television factory, CEDTI to name a few were established in Kashmir only along with full focus of Tourism Department and industries only on Kashmir. Despite time to time agitations in Jammu region right from Praja Parishad days to moving of Secretariat permanently to Kashmir along with agitations from various other regions like Poonch, nothing changed practically for Jammu on the ground. However, suddenly with the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir resulted a mass exodus to Jammu region and sleeping GoI was caught in precarious situation. This was a wakeup call for the GoI as no parallel setup like housing colonies, hospitals, engineering college, AIIMs to cater to specialized treatment were available in Jammu region. After taking J&K state under Governor Rule in 1990 all focus again was on stabilizing Kashmir instead of looking into the problems of Jammu Region. It took two to three years for the administration to come out of slumber to wake up and started thinking about Jammu region as it had no choice but to create a parallel infrastructure in Jammu. So the first institute to come up at least on paper was GCET in 1994, Jammu (Government College of Engineering and Technology) which started its operation from Old University Campus with majority of staff from REC Srinagar. After normalization of situation in Srinagar, in 1996 elected Government was installed and this college was again in the neglected hibernation. The College’s New Campus was ultimately inaugurated in 2006 after 12 long years by the then Chief Minister Jenab Ghulam Nabi Azad when only three Engineering Departments of Civil, Computer Sciences and Electronics & Communication Engineering were shifted and interestingly its library block was completed in 2016 only which speaks about the intent and practical approach of the respective Governments in the name of Jammu development.
Jammu got its first facelift done as some road widening and parking projects were implemented during three years rule of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed from 2002-2005 along with Super Specialty Hospital, Gandhi Nagar Hospital and district hospital buildings of various districts were sanctioned and started during Gulam Nabi Azad’s tenure from 2005-2008. In 2008 Shri Amarnath Agitation flared up the sentiments of Jammu and whole Jammu came on streets. The regional bias turned its full wheel and three month long agitation made the authorities realize that enough is enough. When Gulam Nabi Azad as Chief Minister resigned due to Amarnath row GoI got the first hand information and from here onwards fortunes of Jammu changed a little bit as Central Government tried to sanction various development projects under Central Schemes only like Jammu Sewage drain project though it has not been completed till date.
It was the BJP led NDA Government in 2002 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee which initially intended to have IIT along with AIIMS at Jammu in 2004 but due to change of Central Government they were not established at that time. But with NDA Government coming back to power in 2014 , once again focus on Jammu’s development came to forefront ,the first step taken for Jammu by Modi Government in 2014 itself was issuance of order for re-opening of Yuvawani services of All India Radio. Floods of 2014 and always on hartal Kashmir once again highlighted the need for infrastructure at Jammu. The ball was set rolling with the establishment of IIT Jammu at village Jagti, Tehsil Nagrota at Jammu with temporary classes being set up in the KCS campus Jammu right now as the curriculum of IIT Delhi is being followed to begin with. Similarly IIM Jammu is the 20th Indian Institute of Management established by the MHRD in 2016 and is mentored by the Indian Institute of Management Lucknow. IIM Jammu is also temporarily located at the Old Jammu University Campus till it moves to its own campus of approximately 200 acres . As per PM’s development package announced for J & K in 2015, AIIMS like institute for health care in capital city of Jammu was sanctioned, specifically at Vijaypur. Similarly Jammu has been enlisted for smart City project in 2017 with a plan of Rs 3400 crore to develop amenities for the ultra modern city. Metro is another prestigious project sanctioned for Jammu for which DPR has already been prepared by RITES and in the first phase, it is suggested to operate the metro rail on the 36 km area of the city on three routes: Bantalab to Bus Stand, 7 Stations- Bantalab, Janipur, Rehari, Kachi Chawni, Parade, Shalamar to Bus Stand, second route Nagbani to Bus Stand, 4 Stations- Nagbani, Canal via Jewel Chowk to Bus Stand and Bari Brahmin to Bus Stand, 7 Stations- Bari Brahmin, Kunjwani, Shastri Nagar, Trikuta Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Exhibition ground to Bus stand. The report submitted by the departments on behalf of the Divisional Commissioner of Jammu has been sent to the Government of India for approval and once approved JDA along with ERA will apply for loan and work is expected to commence in 2018 with the assistance from DMRC.
For Jammu Ring Road project, National Highways Authority of India has already issued Letter of Award for construction of 58.25 km long standalone ring road/bypass to be completed in three years which will usher in substantial socio- economic growth of the area as it will transverse through 56 villages, 9 tehsils and two districts. With four laning of Jammu – Akhnoor road already on track and a new airport has also been announced for Jammu though details of location will be known after DPR only; it seems that finally GoI has fulfilled Jammu’s dream of development.
Once known as City of Stones it’s getting its due share with PM Modi ensuring that all the projects under PMDP (Prime Minister Development Projects) are completed in time. Rising stature of Jammu under PM Modi is quite noticeable with special efforts from MoS for PMO and its time BJP local leaders must ensure that all these efforts of NDA Government are fulfilled on ground by PDP-BJP Government by sorting out all land related issues with special focus on state projects like Mubarak Mandi Heritage project , Cable Car project, Artificial lake and Tawi River front projects. All these Central projects will take 3- 4 years to complete, as such people have to show some patience and meantime do not fall in trap of false and malicious propaganda. This NDA Government has allocated best of projects to Jammu and one hopes more synergy and energy is infused to make our Jammu City as one of the most modern city of India.
What else to say – Jammu’s patience and perseverance has paid and Jammu is once again centre of all around development it deserved.