*Seeks physical, financial achievements under various heads
JAMMU, Mar 20: Putting the Ministry of Home Affairs and Jammu and Kashmir Government in the dock for soft-paddling on implementation of key projects sanctioned under Rs 80,000 crore worth Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), a Parliamentary Panel has laid stress on fast-pacing the work during the upcoming fiscal so as to achieve the intended objectives within the fixed time-frame. Moreover, it has sought physical and financial achievements under various heads against the targets set under the package.
As far as law and order situation in Kashmir valley is concerned, the Parliamentary Panel has suggested prompt action to break stone pelters-militants nexus and large scale operation to identify and capture militants hiding in the length and breadth of Valley besides upgrading the vigil on borders.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir on November 7, 2015 had announced Rs 80,000 crore worth development package for the State while stating that funds would not be constraint in building a modern, progressive and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir.
Of this package, seven projects are being implemented by J&K Government with the financial support from Union Ministry of Home Affairs. These include additional 3000 Government jobs to Kashmiri migrants, construction of 6000 transit accommodations in Kashmir valley, one time settlement of 36,384 families from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Chhamb Displaced Persons, rehabilitation of Jammu migrants and raising of 5 new Indian Reserve Battalions etc.
“Though several projects were initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs under Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package for J&K yet most of the projects are still under progress and little outcome has been achieved”, the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs of Rajya Sabha has observed in its latest report.
Observing this pattern of poor outcome in the past over 12 months, the Committee headed by former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has recommended that the Ministry should intensify its efforts to achieve measurable outcome under the PM’s Development Package by speeding up the work in the upcoming fiscal year and implementing all the projects at the earliest.
The Parliamentary Panel has asked the Ministry to appraise it about the details of expenditures incurred under various heads out of Rs 80,000 crore and the actual physical and financial achievements against set targets under this package.
It has noted that State Government jobs were to be provided to an additional 3000 Kashmiri migrants and all these posts were identified in 18 departments. However, all these posts have not been filled so far. Similarly, against 6000 transit accommodations to be constructed in Kashmir valley, work is in progress only for 400 accommodations and for the remaining only land has been identified till date.
As far as rehabilitation package for one time settlement of 36,384 families from PoK and Chhamb Displaced Persons is concerned, the Parliamentary Panel has observed that orders for approval of package were issued on December 22, 2016 and J&K Government has started inviting applications from the beneficiaries. However, no time-line has been fixed for completion of whole exercise.
Not only on projects relating to MHA, the J&K Government is soft-paddling on almost all the projects sanctioned under PMDP and this aspect was exclusively highlighted by EXCELSIOR in its edition dated January 15, 2017. It was reported that despite lapse of more than one year since the announcement of package by the Prime Minister work on majority of the projects particularly in key sectors has yet not begun and even project-wise timelines have not been fixed. The findings of Parliamentary Panel have substantiated the report of EXCELSIOR.
About law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir in general and Kashmir valley in particular, the Parliamentary Panel has noted with concern the disturbing trend of recruitment and training of local youth by the militants in the light of the numerous infiltration attempts foiled by the security forces.
“There has been a rise in the number of law and order incidents, particularly incidents of stone pelting which seems to have become a regular feature in some parts of Kashmir. Numerous incidents of picketing of police stations and snatching of rifles from police and paramilitary personnel point towards local sourcing of arms”, the committee said, adding “there is a sinister and complex connection between the simultaneous rise in stone pelting incidents and fidayeen attacks on the establishments of security forces”.
It has observed that while the law and order incidents have kept the security forces busy, the militants meanwhile have found time to reorganize themselves and perpetrate terrorist attacks on the forces. “The MHA must work towards comprehensively breaking this nexus through a multipronged strategy that encompasses preventing the youth from joining the militant ranks, choking the financing and supply of arms to terrorist outfits and simultaneously launching counter insurgency operations throughout the Kashmir region to identify and capture the existing militants”, the Parliamentary Panel said.
The Committee has also recommended that the MHA must put rigorous efforts to completely stop infiltration from across the border and prevent all types of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir. “The security of the establishments of the forces should be tightened and the incidents of attacks on such establishments should not be allowed to recur”, the Parliamentary Panel of 31 MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha said.