Farooq issues white paper on development in J&K

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Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Oct 6: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today rejected Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s charge on regional parties’ links with separatism in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the NC made sacrifices and many of its leaders and workers were killed by terrorists during the past 35 years.
“I do not want to be sidetracked by some of the other things that Shah said about guns and stones. The sacrifices of my colleagues over the last 35 years where scores of NC leaders and workers have been killed or injured by these very guns Amit Shah ji accused us of distributing is the only answer this accusation needs,” Abdullah said in a five-page statement.
Abdullah issued a white paper on development undertaken in Jammu and Kashmir during the rule of “Abdullah and Sons” — as Shah referred the family in his speech at a rally in Baramulla district — to counter the allegations of corruption.
“Yesterday, Home Minister Amit Shah Ji asked me to account for the development that took place during the years the National Conference has been in power. He was trying to suggest that nothing had been achieved (and) that the NC had wasted its time in office with nothing to show,” the NC president, who has been Chief Minister of the erstwhile State four times, said in the “dossier” on development under his party’s rule.
Enumerating major steps taken by National Conference founder and his father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as the head of the state, Farooq Abdullah said this list is by no means complete but just a snapshot of some of the works done.
Among other things, he listed the institution of Single-Line Administration, abolition of landed estates and giving land to landless peasants, free education up to university level, establishment of the University of Jammu and Kashmir, adult education centers, Jabri schools for children and constitution of district development boards constituted in 1970s.
The other steps taken by the NC Government included setting up the Gujjar and Bakerwal Advisory Board, tertiary care hospital SKIMS, Agricultural Universities in Jammu and Srinagar, Government colleges for women and 50 per cent reservation for women in medical and dental colleges, he said.
Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies were established and their elections held during the NC regimes, which also made Jammu and Kashmir the first State in the sub-continent to have universal adult franchise set at the age of 18, he said.
Allocation of the first Pay Commission at par with Central Government employees, mobile schools for the Gujjar community, setting up arts emporia to support local artisans and portray the rich art of J&K, support for small scale and medium size industries through SICOP and SIDCO were other steps taken between 1947 and 1989, he said.
During Farooq Abdullah’s last tenure as Chief Minister, he claimed that nearly 6,000 industrial units were established while power projects like Baglihar, Uri and Dul Hasti projects were set up to generate 1770 MW electrity.
The “dossier” listed the steps taken during the tenure of Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister including the “strengthening” of Panchayati Raj Institutions, Public Services Guarantee Act, Right to Information Act, reconstitution of Accountability Commission, and constitution of Vigilance Commission, 3rd Party Monitoring of development works, e-Tendering and e-Purchasing.
“Nearly 1.75 lakh jobs were provided to youth which included teachers, police personnel, Anganwadi workers…7000 additional posts were created for upgraded schools,” he added.
“The list could be broader, more exhaustive. Today the literacy rate in J&K is 77 percent. Infant mortality is less than 20, maternal mortality is 46. Life expectancy is 74 years. Population growth rate is 11 percent. The incumbent regime has and may again claim credit for all of this but propaganda and facts are two different things.
“Ultimately people will be the judge of what has and hasn’t been achieved. Perhaps now Amit Shah ji can share with the people of J&K what has been achieved in the last 3.5 years of Central rule,” he said.