2022: Peace and Progress

People gather in large numbers at Tawi bridge in Jammu to celebrate birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh.

Rajan Gandhi

After COVID19 pandemic waves of 2020 and 2021 much was expected from 2022 which started with third wave of COVID19 for first two months and gradually ebbed down. Once the lockdown/closure effects reduced wheels of happening and development started picking up speed and what followed in 2022 is a beautiful transformation journey to remember.


Unprecedented budget allocation by GoI to Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh, despite resources crunch due to pandemic, ushered a new phase of development never ever seen in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Smart City projects of twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar taken on war footing, throughout city laying of old drains, construction of new footpaths and repair/relaying of lanes/by-lanes is going on in full swing. In Jammu, Tawi River Front and Artificial Lake, both projects are coming up and has given a new lease of life to Tawi with day and night construction activities going on. All PMDP projects are on fast track to make substantial visible changes in quality of life in the

Football Fervour : On the third anniversary of Art 370, the LG Administration has thrown open an internatinal level football Stadium in Srinagar.

whole Jammu and Kashmir. First Phase of Jammu-Akhnoor flyover got operational giving much relief to commuters on this section. More funds sanctioned for Akhnoor-Poonch highway widening. Bari Brahmana yard of railways also inaugurated and now transformation of Jammu railway station has started to increase passenger platforms and other facilities. New Depot of oil companies is coming up near Athem in Jammu as such present Narwal land will also be utilised as per plans. North India’s first Industrial Biotech Park also inaugurated, will provide much needed support to Agri-entrepreneurs, startups, farmers, scientists and scholars. Work on Delhi-Katra Express Highway also started. Satish Dhawan Centre for Space Sciences at the Central University of Jammu inaugurated with B.Tech in Aviation and Aeronautics courses to be started. Mobile network services to remote areas improved and much awaited rural helicopter services also started. More accountable B2V and MTMP initiated for holistic development. However, work on Jammu Zoo due to lack of funds is almost standstill.
PM Modi visits Jammu

Panchayat Power : Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally on National Panchayati Raj Day at Palli village in Samba.

Keeping up his heart warming personal touch with Jammu , PM Modi addressed Gram Sabhas of entire nation on National Panchayati Raj Day, from village Palli near Jammu, it’s a matter of great pride that all three tiers of Panchayati Raj were established in J&K for the first time. Top business leaders of UAE accompanied PM and ensured investments worth crores in J&K. Palli became first ‘carbon neutral panchayat’ as PM Modi dedicated a 500 KV solar plant installed in a record time of three weeks. PM also dedicated projects worth around 20,000 cr to J&K.
HM Shah visits

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressing the public rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla

Home Minister Amit Shah also gave special attention to J&K, visited the UT twice, gifted ST reservation to Pahari speaking people and projects worth crores inaugurated. Addressed a massive rally at Baramulla without the bullet proof shield, no shut down in entire valley on VVIP visit now, an achievement beyond words.
Jammu and Kashmir topped in e-Governance services delivery saving around Rs 200 crore annually as colonial system of annual Darbar move stands abolished, now both Civil Secretariats of Jammu and Srinagar work simultaneously without any break, much to the relief of public. More services/departments brought under Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA), time line fixed to assure promised services at the doorsteps of public, minimum visits to offices.
Ladakh development
Primary focus is on carbon emission free Ladakh as various Solar plants made operation thereby removing dozens of DG sets, Geo thermal powered pumps, solar powered

Scientific wonder : Officials and workers celebrating golden joint ceremony of the world highest Chenab railway bridge during Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav at Kauri in Reasi.

swimming pools, heritage home stays, night sanctuary, helipads, fiber optic network at remote areas, roads- bridges and what not to make Ladakh model UT of India. Special infra projects for army/civilians. With university and medical college already sanctioned Ladakh is developing at fast pace to get at par with other Indian Metro cities.
Strong will, intent to strike back, better strategies, iron hand crushing by GoI made 2022 a year of death for terrorism. Working on policy of no funds for terror , more than 300 schools, breeding grounds for radicalisation, run by Falah-e-Aam (FAT) got banned, multiple illegal properties purchased with hawala money of Jamat-e-Islami worth crores stands seized. Kashmir, where writ of terrorism dominated for three decades witnessed true independence of speech, expression and freedom to go anywhere this year, Independence

Militant MayheM : Police personnel inspecting the site of blast near damaged buses , at Bus Stand in Udhampur.

day celebrated with much fanfare, cinema halls and beauty parlours back again in Kashmir. Late evening outings and night festivals are reality now. Terrorist incident free Shri Amarnath Yatra this year was another hallmark. Frustrated terrorists and their handlers tried to create panic by targeting outsiders and Kashmiri Pandits but nothing achieved by all this. Terrorists also tried to disrupt peace in Jammu by dropping arms/weapons by drones and repeated attempts to target Jammu Airport with drones but alert belt forces thwarted such attempts. Jammu and Kashmir Police rewarded with 132 President medals.
Pandemic in first quarter again played havoc and consistent efforts are there by GoI and LG to build world class health infra in Jammu and Kashmir. Two State Cancer Institutes, Bones and Joint Hospital at Jammu, new complex at Bones and Joint Hospital at Barzulla Srinagar, are near completion and will be inaugurated next year. AIIMs is also coming up fast with classes already started.
Power Scenario

Vaishno Devi stampede : The stampede occured near Gate No. 3 leading up to the sanctum sanctorum.

Despite best reformative efforts, this year saw power cuts in Jammu Division. Smart metering and other measures fail to cut power losses, as a result J&K’s DISCOM outstanding rising with every year. Focus on Solar Power as 200 MW rooftop solar power plants sanctioned for fifty thousand residences to benefit two lakh population. In Jammu 12MW and in Srinagar 4MW capacity such plants will be installed on government buildings. Work on Hydro-power projects of Ratle (824 MW), Kirthai-II (930 MW) Sawalakote (1856 MW) started and to strengthen the Sub-Transmission and Distribution network across the UT Rs 6000 crore sanctioned.

SKY SENTINELS : Diamond Jubilee of headquarters of Air Force commanding Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh at Air Force Station Udhampur.

Unplanned development with encroached rain drains, choked nullahs, dumped malba and callous attitude of agencies resulted in another series of floods in Jammu and Kashmir, be it in and around Jammu or Surankote or Doda or Kishtwar or Samba, no district was left unaffected. Helpless public again got lip services only for personal losses worth crores.
Delimitation done
Delimitation exercise of J&K has been done, total 114 seats, 43 Jammu and 47 Kashmir, 9 seats reserved for ST and 7 for SC, 24 seats reserved for PoJK, almost all Assembly seats redrawn to balance the area, population and terrain. A win-win situation for everyone.
Municipalities JDA, SDA
While budget allocation of Urban Local Bodies increased manifold yet not much work done on Solid Waste Management and Sewage Treatment Plants with the result NGT imposing huge penalties time to time on different municipalities and ground water and river/lake water continue to get polluted unabated. HC acting strictly on Dal conservation. Against much hyped campaigns by Jammu Municipal Corporation , Jammu slipped to 199 ranking,

Accidents Galore : Road Accidents took a heavy toll this year.

30 ranks further down from 169 ranking last year, in less than 10 lakh population category and Srinagar got 41 ranking in more than 10 lakh population category. Total household waste collection still remains a distant dream. Both Mayor and Deputy Mayor of JMC got replaced this year. Another year of deadly Dengue specifically in Jammu as JMC policy of dig it, leave it open and forget it resulted in water logging at different places, again knee jerk reactions but too little too late and public paid the price as no planning or intent is there. No new authorised colony for Jammu and same true for Srinagar, seems JDA and SDA are in hibernation. Master plans pending for majority of towns. The two province also faced shortage of petrol for sometime.
Heritage Restoration
Despite more than three years since Master Plan for Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex got sanctioned with a timeframe but nothing on ground has been achieved on ground as palace after palace rooftops have been demolished, site now seems more like a demotion site rather than conservation site. For a State Protected Monument trying to somehow survive, priority should be to complete work. However, funds for restoration of 37 heritage sites in

Sunjwan Scare : J&K Police personnel checking encounter site with metal detector after two militants were neutralised, at Sunjwan.

Jammu and Kashmir have been released, work to be done through respective DCs, DPRs already made by Archives, Archaeology and Museums Department.
Record number of almost two crore tourists, with Jammu leading the footfall for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, thronged Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir Tourism Department organising different events like Boat Festival at Dal Lake, Wazwan festival and many more to create the tourism buzz while Jammu Tourism was busy in Kite Flying, Dandiya and imported Pop singers. Patnitop Development Authority, despite budget constraints, in collaboration with SMVDU organised many tracking events, some explored some unexplored. Much awaited Winter Carnival also held at Patnitop. Assets of Tourism Department identified for outsourcing and target of around twenty five thousand home stay homes was to be achieved but sanction for files stuck at various levels. Much delayed, musical fountain without power backup inaugurated at Bagh-e-Bahu.
Udhampur Air Show

Opposition Power : Opposition Political parties display unity

To mark Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Indian Air Force, the first-of-its-kind air show was organised at the Udhampur Air Force Station, beginning a fly-past with skydiving by a team of Akashganga from AN32 followed by air manoeuvers and different formations by Jaguar, MIG29, Su-30 and Rafale aircraft. Combat helicopters like Apache, Mi-17 Slithering and Chinook also exhibited adrenaline-pumping manoeuvers.
Highway blockade and accidents
Despite claims the reality is that throughout the year Jammu Srinagar highway witnessed unprecedented closures, sometimes due to snowfall, sometimes due to rain but mainly due to never ending landslides and shooting stones. Despite assurances nothing much has been achieved to sort out this road menace except change of contractors and time to time lip services. Total chaos during fruit season with almost a week taken to cover 300 km stretch, SSP NH attached but situation remains

Nature’s Fury : Rescue operation by security personnel after Amarnath Yatris were hit by a landslide.

the same. No road audits, no speed governors in commercial vehicles, unchecked drunken driving, no speed regulation, unrepaired road stretches, missing road rail guides make whole NH of hilly areas as perfect recipe for accidents as a result dance of death prevailed throughout the year. Front portion of under construction tunnel collapsed near Ramban causing multiple casualties.
Tragedies at Yatra
First day of new year brought the tragic news of stampede at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan as unregulated new year visitor rush resulted in several deaths, inquiry ordered but report still awaited. Similarly at Shri Amarnath tents were raised in river bed without applying mind, flash flood occurred and dozens again lost their lives. No accountability in this case also.
Ghulam Nabi Azad leaves Congress to form own regional party, Dem0cratic Azad Party, AAP also entering J&K with bang- though leaders joining and leaving party, Congress appoints

Entertainment booster : INOX, a multiplex inaugurated in Srinagar

new UT President, Vikar Rasool BJP replacing almost all District Presidents and J&K still waiting for assembly elections. Maharaja Hari Singh birthday on 23 September declared holiday after 75 years. Advisor Farooq Khan resigned and LG has now only one advisor. Meanwhile, some opposition political parties led by Dr Farooq Abdullah organised press conference in Srinagar.
Recruitment Scam
Paper after paper got cancelled and investigations handed over to CBI specifically for SI recruitment scam and many police persons arrested for their involvement. Shocking for unemployed youth as J&K stands 3rd in national unemployment rate, a serious situation by any standards.
Fight against corruption
CBI registered FIRs for Chenab Valley Projects Corporation allotment, old insurance scam

Tiranga yatra : Independence fervour catches up with people in Kashmir Valley.

on Ex-Governor S.P.Malik’s disclosures, confiscated properties worth crores in JKCA scam, raids on IAS/JKAS and others in fake gun licenses case, raids in J&K Bank’s loans cases. Meanwhile ACB got many open and shut, caught red handed trap cases. ED also raided many places in J&K Bank loan cases, Vivo mobile case, fake gun licenses and attached properties in JKCA scam. NIA and SIA also had multiple raids in hawala racket cases for terrorists’ funding. Roshni Scam still waiting for action.
Protests and Agitations
Daily wagers of various departments protested throughout the year for regularisation while PM Package employees are on sit in dharna for last more than 200 days for getting transferred outside Kashmir on safety issues.

Comeback of Colleges : Colleges open in Srinagar after Covid break.

New HC Judges
Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court got new judges namely Rahul Bharti, Moksha Khajuria Kazmi, Wasim Nargal, Rajesh Sekhri
With the wheels of democracy and development in full swing, Daily Excelsior wishes all its readers ‘A Very Happy and Prosperous 2023’.



Petrol Pandemonium : People face acute shortage of petrol in Srinagar.