POONCH, Apr 20: Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice Abdul Haq today said that the development of twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch on modern lines is the priority of the present dispensation and its aim is to take the benefits of Government schemes to every individual living in the last village of the State.
Interacting with the people during his visit to the twin districts, the minister said former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took revolutionary steps within a short span of time for the development of these districts which include the opening of Poonch-Chakkan-da-Bagh road for cross border trade, opening of a university in Rajouri, connect the twin districts with Kashmir through Mughal road and other developmental projects. “These historical initiatives became the bedrock for the development of these hitherto neglected districts. Undisputedly the development at this scale was never witnessed before in this region”, he asserted.
He said the proposed tunnel on Mughal road, once completed, would not only provide round the year access to the region, it would also give a big boost to the tourism in the region. He said better connectivity was bound to give the region’s economy a turnaround besides tiding over the problem of unemployment in the region.
Abdul Haq said under MGNREGA, he has directed the officials to stop the traditional works of lanes and drains and instead focus on the rural connectivity. He said hundreds of bridges and roads have been constructed after that which could not have been imagined some years back.
Earlier the Minister reviewed the functioning of Rural Development Department in Poonch, which was attended by MLA Haveli Shah Mohammad Tantray, MLC Yashpal Sharma, DDC Mohammad Haroon, SSP Rajiv Panday, Director RDD Jammu, RK Raina and ACD Poonch Zubair Shah.
Describing use of technology to monitor the assets as a revolutionary step, the Minister said all the assets in the districts have been geo-tagged. He said the geo-tagging is a touchstone of transparency that will enforce better monitoring, recording and management of developmental works at the cutting edge level.
The Minister said new initiatives taken by the department will change the dynamics of rural areas, and will blur the rural-urban divide. He said several innovative initiatives have been taken to make the functioning of the department accountable and transparent, with the aim that the benefits of the schemes reach the rural masses well in time.
Abdul Haq asked officers to avoid concrete constructions for dams and tanks and instead stressed on simple, easy and affordable technological solutions and institutional arrangements that make use of, and build upon, local technical knowledge and available materials.