Azad regrets ignoring local youth for jobs in power projects, says will meet PM soon

‘I couldn’t see Cong Party dying while sitting mute inside’

Gopal Sharma

KISHTWAR, Sept 9: Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today alleged that thousands of local educated, skilled and semi-skilled youth are being ignored for various jobs in local hydel power projects and he will strongly take up this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly, if needed.
Addressing a large public rally at Drabshalla in district Kishtwar today, Azad said he was pained to know that thousands of local youth are being ignored for jobs in the new hydel projects and many outsiders are being given preference. Even the small and big contracts are being accorded to the outsiders and hundreds of labourers in these power projects have been brought from outside UT of J&K.
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Azad said for any big power project in a particular area, there are standing guidelines that people of that area will get handsome land compensation, free power supply, first preference to the locals for jobs. But it is unfortunate that after abrogation of Article 370 and conversion of this historic State into two Union Territories, the things have worsened for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The unemployment has touched new heights, development works have been stalled. Locals are being ignored in every aspect, he added.
“Many projects have been shelved and there is nobody to listen to the grievances of the public. Bureaucracy has turned out of control. The DDCs, BDCs and Sarpanches have not been accorded powers like other States,” he said. He added that if needed, he would meet Prime Minister soon and take up the issue of local youth from Chenab belt with regard to jobs in power projects.
Former AICC leader said Mughals, Britishers, J&K rulers or even previous Governments after independence, never broke this important State. Unfortunately, this Government degraded historic J&K State into two UTs in 2019 and with this bad days for the people of this erstwhile State started. He said an elected popular Government is no match and it should be restored after providing Statehood to J&K. Azad said Statehood, elected Government, protection to jobs and lands of the locals will be on top of his agenda.
The former Chief Minister said he wished to work for the welfare of the people of J&K with same zeal and dedication as performed during his previous stint and sought support, love and cooperation of all the residents, irrespective of religion or region.
While justifying his decision to quit the Congress Party, Azad said he tried his best to save the party which he like many other old guards, had raised with the dint of hard work, blood and sweat but his suggestions were not taken on board by the people at the helm of affairs at the top. “Under such circumstances, I had two options, either to see Congress Party dying while sitting mute inside, or come out of it, wage struggle for justice to the people. So, I opted for second option and came back to serve my people in my home state,” Azad maintained.
Referring to the recent targeted killings by militants in the valley, Azad said such killings should stop forthwith and anyone willing to return should be provided security and accommodation. He said nobody should be forced to return to Kashmir.
Azad said his party would work to ensure honour, dignity, respect and integrity of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and start Confidence-Building Measures.
Azad said Industry is facing closure after Covid-19 crisis. Over 60 % Industries have closed down. Thousands of workers have turned jobless. There is great need to revive the ailing J&K industry for providing much needed support, create more and more skill development institutes and trained our work force /youth, Daily wagers are protesting since long for wages and regularisation. There are no sincere efforts for their settlement, he added.
Unfortunately, after snatching of Statehood, outsiders have taken full control on miner minerals like- sand and gravel, With this the rates of sand, stones, gravel (Bajri) etc has gone sky high. Constructing a house has gone beyond the control of poor and lower middle class family. There is loot of local resources which is needed to be plugged. The price hike has also made the life of poor people miserable. The people are unable to project their issues in the absence of a popular Government, he added.
Recalling massive development in J&K during his two and half years tenure as Chief Minister, Azad said with his triple shift work concept he has delivered in the erstwhile State. He would like to ensure development with same zeal and dedication if his new party comes to power with the support and love of people, Azad maintained.
Senior leaders, G M Saroori, Majid Wani, Naresh Gupta, Aslam Goni and Salman Nizami also accompanied Azad.