Immediate steps needed to solve water crisis: LG
JAMMU, Nov 30: Issuing a stern warning to vested interests in J&K who are still trying to mislead people on the name of Article 370 and implementation of Central laws after the reorganization of the State into two UTs, Union Minister in PMO and Incharge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh today asserted that the controversial Article has gone once and for all and it can’t come back.
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‘Prophets of doom’ predicting ‘volcanos’ in Jammu & Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 have ‘fallen silent’ and the Centre is determined to implement all Central laws in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh”, the Minister said while inaugurating a two day regional conference on ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, with focus on Jal Shakti and Disaster management organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances GoI in collaboration with Government of Tamil Nadu and UT of J&K here this morning.
In a loud and clear message to the people of the State, Dr Jitendra Singh said “Let each of us understand that Article 370 is gone for ever and it can’t come back., Those saying volcano will erupt and earthquake will shake J&K have fallen silent”, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said all the Central laws will be implemented in the two UTs to make up the lapses of last 70 years.
Urging people to cooperate with the Government in the implementation of the Central laws, he sought to assure them that all Central laws are ‘citizen friendly’ and meant to ‘benefit the last man in the queue’ and ‘liberate the lower strata of society from the exploitation by the vested interests’.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, “With the abrogation of Article 370 and the creation of the two UTs, it is the resolve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that we have to implement all Central Acts here. “There are 854 Central Acts which need to be implemented here. We just have less than 200 of them and many of these too implemented in a truncated form. These are all citizen-friendly acts which are meant to reach the last man in the queue and to liberate the lowest strata of the society from the exploitation at the hands of the vested interests”.
Dr Jitendra Singh said some laws, like the Prevention of Corruption Act, have already been implemented to facilitate the settlement of corruption cases within two years and the rest are in the pipeline. The Centre has taken a very important responsibility at hand and “we are going to take it forward. The Lt Governor has a mandate to do so,. These acts are being notified one after the other. Rest assured it is going to happen sooner than later”, he added.
“As patriotic, right thinking and responsible citizens, it is our responsibility to cooperate with the Government and the Lieutenant Governor and his administration. “I will also tell you whether you cooperate or not, this is going to happen. We have made the commitment because we have no right to deprive the common people of J&K and Ladakh of these citizen-friendly laws,” he said.
Referring to the demands raised by different sections, he said, “We are not going to succumb because there will be no end to it if one demand is met. You have a strange kind of fringe elements, representing vested interests and raising voices. Let us be very clear about it, they have to swallow the bitter pill,” Singh said.
“We should feel happy that Article 370 was abrogated after 70 years of struggle. This Government has gone beyond the imagination of the masses who had actually buried these aspirations,” said Singh.
Referring to the Fundamental Right to Free Education under Article 21A of the Constitution and a slew of other Central laws like the Dowry Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, the Minimum Wages Act, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act, Vigilance Law, the Central Administrative Tribunal, the Information commission Act, Singh said, “we do not have the majority in the Rajya Sabha, but personally sat with the Opposition to convince them to get the amendments through in Prevention of Corruption Act.”
“We will have to sacrifice our petty interests for the bigger purpose which the Prime Minister has created for us. We should be celebrating the new set up that has happened after October 31 and feel proud that we are the part of this and we have contributed to it,” he said. The Government of India allocated Rs 8,227 per citizen in the country last fiscal but J&K citizens were allocated Rs 27,358, which was nearly four times the average allocation for the citizens in the rest of the country, said Dr Jitendra Singh, adding “but we still are weeping”.
“Infact we should be feeling guilty why we could not make use of it,” he said. He added those opposing the implementation of Central laws want their illegal activities should continue and this is not going to happen at any cost for the larger national interests as well as interests of people of J and K and Ladakh UTs.
Ridiculing these demands of fringe elements he said if tomorrow someone will say that right to free and compulsory education prevalent in the country should not be implemented in J&K because his private academy will suffer and asked will the Government accept it.
He, while taking a strong dig at such elements said that they want that Central laws should not be implemented in J&K so that the vested interests will continue to indulge in corrupt practices. But now they have to swallow this bitter pill, he added.
On disaster management, Dr Jitendra Singh said that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made proactive policies to mange the disasters in last five years. “Today we are preventing disasters to a great extent and earlier we were putting every thing in the God’s baggage”, he added.
He said to prevent disasters nowadays there is foolproof high-tech system available in India.
Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu while addressing the conference observed that it is a great opportunity to share the best practices from across the country. Underlining the importance of water conservation and the sustainability of natural resources, the Lt. Governor emphasized on the need to take immediate measures to save water and solve the crisis of water shortage. He added that the agricultural scientists should study the cropping pattern to suit the Monsoon and other climatic conditions. It is not only about the availability of water, but also about the quality of water that we need to focus on, he stressed.
The Lt. Governor said “we can prevent several water borne diseases if we are able to ensure safe drinking water to the people. We often take the air and water as a free commodity, but we rarely think about the changing scenario where quality of both these indispensables is deteriorating”.
He said new cities are coming up and big cities and expanding day by day with the result problems crop up. He said water borne diseases are eating up economy of families. He said lot of things are needed to harness the water and conserve it.
He further said that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has proved how sanitation can improve the lives of people. Elaborating on the role of citizens during natural and manmade disasters, he said that the first responders to any disaster are citizens and their empowerment is the absolute requirement. He emphasized upon the awareness among citizens through early warning and SMS service, among others.
He further emphasized the need to strengthen the capacity building mechanism, knowledge and information sharing, outlining of Standard Operating Procedures( SOPs) for all the stake holders and learning from the past experiences so that a better future could be secured for the people.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam complimented DARPG for organizing the conference. He said that the themes of the conference are appropriate for J&K. He further said that no region in the country is as prone to natural disasters as J&K.
He quoted incidents of earth quake of 2005 and floods of 2014 which were due to the unique topography here, he added. He further said that disaster management includes prevention as well as mitigation.
“We should learn from the State of Tamil Nadu to build up capacities, he stressed. He emphasized that water should be taken to every doorstep and by June 2021, the entire State should have pipe water supply. Tamil Nadu is one of the best users of water and managing its water resources very well despite being a water stressed State, he said. He also mentioned about the Devika Project in Udhampur that has the potential to become a tourist destination in J&K.
Earlier, delivering his welcome address, the Additional Secretary, DARPG, V. Srinivas said that DARPG has taken various initiatives including visit of DARPG delegation to J&K in September, after which the collaboration with J&K Government has gained momentum.
He added that DARPG’s conference on 15th-16th November had adopted ‘Sushasan Sankalp: Jammu Resolution’ and two of its points are being implemented today. He added that ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ has brought together partner state of Tamil Nadu and UTs of J&K and Ladakh. The Conference is being attended by about 350 delegates from State Government – District Collectors/District SPs and representatives of Civil Society, Engineering Departments and Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, among others.