CBI probe into Malik’s allegations will make everything crystal clear: LG

‘Relief, rehab of KPs prime focus of Centre, UT Govts’
*Annual J&K budget futuristic, growth-oriented

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Mar 25: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today confirmed that Jammu and Kashmir Government has given consent for probing allegations made by former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik of being offered bribe when he was in the office here.
He described relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits as one of the prime focus area of both Central and Union Territory Governments saying accommodations for them are ready at various places in the Kashmir valley.
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Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Sinha said that the CBI has been given consent to probe allegations made by former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik of being offered bribe to clear two files when he was in office.
He said that the probe will make “everything crystal clear”.
Malik had in October last year claimed that he was offered Rs 300 crore in bribe to clear a file each belonging to “Ambani” and an “RSS-affiliated man” during his tenure.
“If someone sitting on such a high post has said anything, then it needs to be probed. We have sent our consent to CBI to probe both allegations,” Sinha said.
He added that he considered the allegations and decided that truth needs to come out.
Asserting that relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits is one of the prime focus area of Central and UT Governments, Sinha said 1025 transit accommodations are ready at various places in the Kashmir valley for the migrants while 1488 units are at various stages of completion.
“Out of 6000 posts, appointments have been made to 4678 posts and the process of recruitment on the remaining posts is also being completed in mission mode,” he added.
Referring to recent visit of business delegation from Gulf nations to Kashmir for exploring investment opportunities, the Lieutenant Governor said the Government has cleared investment proposals to the tune of Rs 27,000 crore within a year’s time and allotted them land for their projects.
“The investment proposals are expected to cross Rs 70,000 crores in next six months,” he added.
He said farmers living in the border areas are getting benefited with cultivation of abandoned land near the International Border to increase acreage and production.
Sinha said during last one and half year, 11,000 appointments have been made in most transparent manner while for the first time in history, meritorious candidates from disadvantaged sections have got Government jobs on the basis of merit.
In addition to this, he added. 20,323 other posts have been identified and recommended for recruitment on fast-track basis.
“We are exploring all possibilities for generating a host of employment opportunities in every sector,” Sinha said.
Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for granting Rs 1,12,950 crore worth budget to Jammu and Kashmir for the financial year of 2022-23, Sinha said the budget reflected needs and aspirations of the people of the UT and commitment of the administration for peace, progress and prosperity.
“Immediate goal is to accelerate pace of economic development in J&K and make it multi-dimensional,” he asserted.
Sinha described annual budget as “futuristic one” and “growth-oriented” saying the Union Territory has got almost two-fold increase in the budget compared to that of erstwhile State of J&K few years ago.
He said that a growth-oriented budget is aimed at ensuring developments of all sectors with focus on economic growth and fulfil the aspirations of the people.
“The picture is clear. The budget has almost doubled for this Union Territory as compared to Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh, when it was not a Union Territory (a few years ago). This needs to be understood”, Sinha said.
He elaborated his point by quoting the budgetary figures of the past few years.
“In 2015-16, we had a budget of Rs 51,670 crores, followed by Rs 61,480 crores in 2016-17, Rs 69,728 crores in 2017-18 (when Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was a state).
“In 2019-2020, the budget was Rs 88,911 crores followed by Rs 1,01,428 crores in 2020-21 and Rs 1,08,621 crores in 2021-22. This year it has gone up to Rs 1,12,950 crores”, he said.
Thanking the Union Government for increasing budget support, the LG said that the aim is to ensure overall development in all the sectors and journey of continued peace and progress.
The LG spelt out various components of the budgets and said that out of Rs 41,335 crores of capital expenditure, 61 per cent of this amount will be spent on social and infrastructure sectors and Rs 8,085 crores will be spent on rural development.
“The immediate goal is to accelerate the peace economic development in the Union Territory and make it multi-dimensional”, he said.
The LG said that GDP for the year 2022-23 has been projected at Rs 2,03,716 crores which shows a growth of 7.5 per cent.
Sinha highlighted the main focal areas of the budget on horticulture and tourism will be the main thrust areas.
He said that tourism has been the backbone of J&K’s economy and we will once again ensure that the tourism sector reaches the same height where it was a few decades ago.
The world’s highest rail bridge will be ready in the Reasi which will connect Kashmir with Kanyakumari by September this year, he added.
An official handout said an  allocation of Rs 1313 crore to Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies is aimed at strengthening the grassroots democratic setup in the UT. Rs 200 crore have been earmarked as Development Fund for 20 District Development Councils (Rs 10 crore for each DDC) and Rs 71.25 crore for Block Development Councils (Rs 25 lakh each). Besides, Rs 357 crore has been kept for Solid Waste Management with the two Municipal Corporations and other ULBs.
“Huge allocation of Rs 9,289.15 crore for the Jal Shakti Department this year. Rs 7750 crore kept under Jal Jeevan Mission for achieving the objective of 100% piped water supply to each household.  Apart from this, 43 irrigation schemes are being targeted for completion this year under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and 28,000 hectares of irrigation potential will be created/stabilized during 2022-23,” it said.
This year, Rs 2,835 crore have been allocated to the agriculture sector and Rs 646 crore to horticulture. The budget aims at doubling the farmers’ income in a planned manner. The strategy is to focus on cultivation of high yielding/high density crops, use of modern technology and a host of other measures. Nine lakh farmers are being benefitted by distribution of High Yield Varieties/Hybrid seeds. Provision for coverage of 400 hectares under high density apple plantation and 1000 hectares under sub-tropical fruit plants has also been made in the budget, the statement said.
It added that the allocation of Rs 391.90 crore for Animal, Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries sector will help to meet our target of setting up 2,000 additional dairy units in the Union Territory providing direct employment to 5000 people.
“This year’s allocation of  Rs 5,443 crore for the rural sector will give a major fillip to our endeavors of Rural Development and Economy.  Under MGNREGA, 426 lakh persondays to be generated and more than 14,000 youth will be trained under the Rural Skill Development Programme.  Target has been set for constructing 54,000 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana during 2022-23. We are also targeting to include 21,994 additional Self-Help Groups to our existing tally. Dedicated focus is being given to connect all Gram Panchayats with the Internet. Under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, 1500 elected public representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions will be sent for exposure visits outside Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement said.
It added that connectivity is a priority sector and critical for all round development of the UT of J&K. Unprecedented progress has been made in the last two years in this regard.  Allocation to the tune of Rs 6296 crore has been made to further strengthen the road and bridge network in Jammu and Kashmir.  Four major National Highway projects viz; Jammu-Akhnoor Road, Chenani-Sudhmahadev road, Baramulla-Gulmarg road and Semi-ring Road Jammu are being completed during 2022. Execution of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway project is also being taken-up, besides 10 new road/tunnel projects for the UT under Bharatmala project. Overall 6000 Kms of black topping of roads will be achieved during 2022-23 under various components.
“For the power sector, Rs 8,768 crore have been allocated in the budget this year. In the last one and a half year, historic steps have been taken to strengthen power generation and infrastructure. We are working diligently towards the target of generating 3500 MW of electricity in three years and this will be further increased to three times in 7 years.  The Central Government has also approved Rs 11,000 crore Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) project aimed at improving the power system in the UT and providing quality power to the people of J&K. In this financial year, 3 lakh smart meters each will be installed in Jammu and Srinagar to ensure reliable power supply,” the statement said.
“As far as the Health sector is concerned, the Union Government has earmarked Rs 7,873 crore which will go a long way in extending best-in class medical facilities to the people of the UT. The pace of coverage of AB-PMJAY will be accelerated covering all the residents of J&K. Efforts will be made to start the First Batch of MBBS classes in new Medical Colleges at Handwara Kupwara and Udhampur, increasing the overall intake capacity to 1300 MBBS seats in J&K.  Completion of seven nursing colleges is also targeted for 2022-23,” it added.