Changes made in J&K by Centre historic: Guv

‘Will lead to development, economic growth’
Zero tolerance policy towards militants

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Aug 14: Governor Satya Pal Malik today described the changes made by the Union Government in Jammu and Kashmir as “historic” saying they will open a new vista of development for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and will also speed up economic growth and prosperity, promote good governance and lead to enhanced job opportunities.
In his Independence Day message, Malik assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their identity is not at stake nor has it been tampered with the measures taken by the Union Government.
“The changes brought out by the Union Government are not just historic but have opened a new vista of development for the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. For the past 70 years, the common people of the State have been distracted on the core issues of economic development, peace and prosperity. Rather than focus on these, people have been misled about issues which are not material to their lives. It is amazing that whether it is an election or otherwise, the public discourse never focussed on issues of “Roti, Kapda aur Makaan,” he said.
Asserting that with these changes, the veil has been removed, Malik said: “This will speed up economic growth and prosperity, promote good governance, usher in self sufficiency, provide enhanced job opportunities and more importantly bring a feeling of belonging and oneness amongst the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, with rest of the country”.
Malik said he would like to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their identity is not at stake nor it has been tampered with.
“The Constitution of India allows many regional identities to thrive and prosper. If you travel from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, you will see wide range of languages, cultures, religions and societies. Therefore, no one should get worried that their identity will be lost with the measures taken by the Union Government. In fact this opportunity can be used to promote the traditional cultures, values and languages in the State. Kashmiri, Dogri, Gojri, Pahari, Balti, Sheena and other languages will have opportunity to thrive in the new set up. Various tribes and castes in the State who have not had political representation will find proper representation,” he added.
Malik asserted that he sees a bright future for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh with Srinagar and Jammu becoming ‘Global Metropolises with International Airports, tourism getting a big boost in future with better infrastructure, creating jobs for youth, large scale industrial development, generating employment and growth, J&K becoming a hub for medical tourism, full rights for women with no discrimination, all rights and democratic representation for refugees and safai karamcharis, benefits of Central laws and schemes flowing to everyone and Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies becoming instruments for local self governances.
Reiterating zero tolerance policy towards militants, the Governor said security forces are taking proactive action against militants, who are carrying out isolated attacks on troops at the behest of their handlers across the border but have lost the battle.
“Due to concerted and synergized efforts of security forces, there has been a discernible change in the approach of militants and their supporters. The recruitment of new militants has witnessed a downward trend, while stone-pelting incidents after the Friday prayers have all but ended. The misguided youth are returning to the mainstream. We have adopted a multi pronged approach to contain cross-border infiltration that is giving positive results,” Malik said.
Referring to the problems of those residing in areas adjoining the International Border, he said the Government has given them reservations in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in different professional courses at par with those living along the Line of Control (LoC). Similarly reservation has been extended to the Pahari speaking people and also Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) of the Society, he added.
Maintaining that Kashmir is not complete without Kashmiri Pandits, the Government said his administration is committed to the safe return and rehabilitation of the Pandits in the Valley.
“The process for recruitment against the remaining 3000 posts out of 6000 created for Kashmiri migrants and the construction of transit accommodation for the Kashmiri migrant employees serving in the Valley has been expedited. I firmly believe that the complete return of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley is possible only with the support and cooperation of all stakeholders including the civil society of the Valley who share a social & cultural bond with the Kashmiri migrants,” Malik said.
He added that a long pending demand of the people of Ladakh has also been fulfilled with the formation of a Union Territory of Ladakh.
“This will enable the people of Ladakh to realize their aspirations inspite of the problems they face on account of the large and difficult terrain. My administration had earlier this year created a separate Revenue and Administrative Division for ‘Ladakh’ comprising the districts of Leh and Kargil with a Divisional Commissioner and an Inspector General of Police. Subsequently, 495 posts were also sanctioned for staffing the various Departments of this Division,” the Governor said, adding a separate University has been established for Ladakh region for which a Vice Chancellor has been appointed, which will facilitate the students of the area, who will not have to move outside Ladakh for higher studies.
The foundation stone for new Kushak Bakula Rimpoche Airport terminal building at Leh has been laid and process has been initiated for establishing a full-fledged commercial airport at Kargil, he said.
The Governor said the process for establishment of the second tier of the Panchayats has been initiated for which the elections to the Block Development Councils shall be held very soon.
“I urge all elected Panches and Sarpanches to come forth and participate whole heartedly in these elections. The Block Development Councils and thereafter the District Development Boards play an important role in ensuring people’s participation in planning and execution of development of their respective areas. I am confident that this budding Panchayati Raj system will be the harbinger of change in J&K in future,” he added.
The Governor recalled that with a view to taking governance to the door steps of the people, his Government had initiated the first of its kind “Back to Village” Programme to create a sense of belonging and address the problems of locals in the remote and far-flung areas.
“More than 4500 Gazetted Officers of the State visited the Panchayats and interacted with the people in a bid to resolve their grievances. The officers, including senior officers, were directed to stay for at least two days with a night halt in the village to interact and obtain a feedback from the Panchayat representatives, elders and other community members about their concerns, developmental needs and economic potential of the area. Such was the level of success of this programme that the Prime Minister had appreciated the effort by making a special mention of the initiative during his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ aired on 28th July, 2019,” the Governor noted.
Malik said the annual pilgrimage to Shri Amarnathji shrine was conducted in a smooth manner and during a period of almost 30 days, the yatra witnessed more than three lakhs pilgrims paying homage at the holy cave.
“This was an appreciable increase as compared to the last three years. I reiterate my sincere thanks to the local people of Kashmir in making this yatra successful. The Amarnath Yatra and the Hajj were conducted in a manner which is an excellent example of the true essence of Kashmiriyat which is exemplary for its communal harmony,” he added.