Prof. Virender Gupta
The so called seven main stream leaders of the Valley, after sensing the possibility that Centre Government may meddle with Article 370 and 35A, met at Gupkar residence of Farooq Abdullah, on 4 August 2019, one day prior to the decision of the Parliment abrogating Article 370 and 35A. These parties made a joint declaration, called the Gupkar Declaration. In the Declaration they resolved to unite and collectively fight to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir. These parties again met after the release of their main leaders on 22 August, 2020. The leaders of the parties reaffirmed their commitment made in the Gupkar resolution. Showing his firm determination to fight back National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on behalf of other colleagues declared that they will not participate in any of the elections till they did not achieve the goal of restoring the Article 370. Mahboob Mufti gave a provocative statement that she would not hoist tricolour flag; however, she would hoist it only if erstwhile J&K flag was restored. Her speeches were quite furious amounting to support the gun culture. The frustration of the Gupkar team was such that its Chairman Farooq Abdullah has gone up to the extent to get support from the Chinese Govt for the restoration of pre 5 August 1919 position. However, The Gupkar team called as People Alliance Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) which has decided not to participate in any of the elections has to take a retreat and decided to participate in the DDC elections collectively, after sensing that if they do not do so they would lose the political ground and also by realizing that the team parties may lose the DDC election battle, if they fight individually
After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories, the Government of India and the UT Government of Jammu and Kashmir took some of the major decisions to strength the relations between the Union and the state. The important ones are: Extending many of the central laws to the State, replacing the Permanent State Subject certificate by Domicile Certificate, reforming the Land Laws. These important decisions were followed by some of the key administrative decisions, like declaring Roshni Act which was enacted by the Farooq Abdullah Government in 2001, as null and void, retrieving Govt and Forest land from the land mafias, introducing Medical Insurance Policy for all the families of the state, amending Article 73 and 74 to ensure participation of the people in administration at the ground level and holding of DDC elections.
Under the Domicile rules any person fulfilling specific conditions is entitled for the Domicile certificate irrespective whether he is permanent resident of the state or not. Further the New land laws allow the people from rest of the country to purchase land, with the exception of agricultural or allied agriculture activities land, in the state. The Gupkar alliance alleges that the Domicile rules and the new Land Laws shall change the demography, culture and identity of the State, these are anti people, anti youth, and shall snatch the protection provided to the poor and downtrodden people, deprive the employment opportunities, and allow the looting of state resources which amount to selling J&K to outsiders. The charges are baseless and are without any footing. The State shall remain as it is. As per the Government about 90 percent of land in the UT is agricultural land that remained protected with the people of J&K.
On the contrary, the laws are beneficial for the people of the State as these laws are going to secure the livelihood of poor and downtrodden people, provide ample avenues of employment within the state, without going outside to seek the jobs. The state resources shall be better valued. It shall lay a mile stone for the growth of State economy, establishment of industries, the progress of health, education, tourism and other many sectors. State Government has identified 2.4 lakh Kanals of land for the purpose and the same has been transferred to the Industries and Commerce Department and that it has kept a target of making land available up to 4.8 lakh Kanals of land. As per the statement of the Lt.Governor, Manoj Sinha about thirty thousand Crores of rupees are going to be invested in the next three years in Jammu and Kashmir which would boost the economy and public welfare activities
It may be reminded that Kashmiri leaders encouraged the settlement of Muslims of other countries, particularly Rohingyas and Bangladeshi in Jammu region and encourage even the Kashmiri Muslims to purchase lands and establish their colonies in the region with malacious motives to change its demography. They forced the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits and other minority population from the Valley and created circumstances to compel the non-Muslims to migrate from the Valley not only in or after 1990 but right after the accession day with the intension to create a pure Muslim Populated Valley. Unfortunately, Congress Party was an active partner or mute spectator to the decisions of Kashmiri leadership even while remaining in the Government in the State or in the Centre.
All the allotments made under the Roshni Act has been cancelled and the concerned DCs have been asked to cancel all the mutations concerning the land allotted under the Act. It may be mentioned that the State Govt. merely fetched Rs 75 crore under Roshani Scheme against about 25000 crore of rupees as was claimed. The total land so allotted under the act was 20,64,972 kanal or 1,04458 Hect. The present Government also asked to the concerned authorities to get vacated 24 lakh kanal of revnue land and 21 lakh acres of forest land encroached illegally by land mafias including the politicians, high-ups during the previous regimes. About 65 percent of so illegally grabbed land falls in Jammu. However, so far about 9 lakh kanal of land has been retrieved.
J&K on the Path of fast Development
In the past four to five years Jammu and Kashmir has achieved many mile stones in various development activities. In Jammu region in particular many projects have been initiated which are going to benefit its people and change their social and economic life.
Constructions of Roads and Bridges
Ring Road Construction; Lt Governor Sh Manoj Sinha on 22 August 2020 inaugurated the first phase of 8 Km stretch from Akhnoor to Kot Bhalwal of the proposed 58.25 Km-long ring road around Jammu City, the foundation stone of which was laid in 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Ring road starts at Raya Morh in Samba District and ends at Jagati after passing through sarore, Bishnah,R.S.Pura, Marh, Gomanasa, Akhnoor, Bhalwal. The project is likely to meet its deadline on December 2021. Similarly, Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Express way is under construction 687-Kilometer, 6 to 8 lanes which will connect Delhi with Amritsar and Katra with total cost of 10599 crores. This Express way will reduces the Delh- Katra distance from 727 Km to 588 Km or from 14 hrs to 8 hours. It will be provided with all emergency facilities. Jammu to Srinagar Highwy Project is being completed in four segments; Four laning of Jammu – Udhampur (40.07), Ramban- Banihal (32.10Km), Srinagar-Quazigund (58.26Km) and Quazigund-Banihal which include a tunnel. which would have three big tunnels; at Kaliugasar (which will connect the area with Chamba (Himachal Pardesh), Sudmahadev tunnel and Chattargala tunnel. This road will provide all weather connectivity to Kashmir from Punjab. This road will reduce the distance from Pathankot to Srinagar by about 120 Kms from existing Jammu-Srinagar road. Further, National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is working on two-lanning of Chenani- Sudmahadev-Goha. Batal Gala Tunnel in Reasi constructed with a cost of 7.0 crore. Its length is 1.315 Km and is 359 meter height, 35m taller than Eiffel Tower. 1210m Span Bridge connecting Kathua with Punjab slashing distance between Pathankot and Kathua by 8.6 Km has been constructed.
The lay out for running small Metros in Jammu and Srinagar cities has been worked out and the project is likely to start in the coming months with the total cost of 10599 crore. The project is to be completed in 2024. After a long wait, the commercial operation of two Cable Cars of Jammu region, i.e. Patnitop Cable Car, the India’s highest cable car or gondola ride of 2.8 Km and first phase of Jammu Ropeway from Mahamaya to Bahu have started in Oct 2020. The work on second phase of Tawi Ropeway is in its final stage.
Ujh Multi Purpose Project (MPP) at the estimated cost of Rs 99,167 crore has been approved by the Govt. of India on 16 may, 2020. It will provide 781 million cubic m. water with irrigation benefit of 31380 ha in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba. The installed capacity of Power House of the project is 186 MW +26MW. The provision of water sport has also been envisaged in the project. Water boating facilities are also going to be provided at Chenab very shortly. In addition to this, J&K has been able to right fully claim on its share of water from Punjab flowing in River Ravi project regulated by Shahpur Kandi Dam. This shall benefit Dist. Kathua and Samba and shall irrigate 32000 hectors (80000acres of land) and shall provide 206 MW power.
The National Water Sports Centre in Basholi along the Ranjit Sagar Lake has been inaugurated by Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha on 28 October 2020 in its Pangar area. Rs 3 crores for the construction of the Building, which will be fully equipped with all facilities has been released by the Centre Government. The Govt. has also initiated many steps in development of Kishtwar those include coming up of four big power projects in Kishtwar; Pakal Dul, Kiru, Ratle and Phase-2 of Dul Hasti in the last four years; development of Saffron parks, one such Park was inaugurated by the PM of India and Sanction of Sapphire Mines. In addition, Doda to Kishtwar Road has been up gradated with the cost of 100 crore that makes the journey 30 to 40 minutes.
Mansar Rejuvenation Project is a centrally funded, which is expected to cost nearly 200 crore was inaugurated in October, 2020, jointly by Jatendra Singh and Lt Governor. Project of Rejuvenation of Devika and Construction of 10m long bridge on Devika to be completed in the end of 2021. 186.74 crore has been sanctioned for the rejuvenation of Devika project.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh laid the foundation stone of the Biotec Industrial Park on 15th May,2017 in Kathua. The park is expected to be completed around February 2021.The park is expected to benefit farmers and entrepreneurs by using biotechnology. The Park is spread over an area around 10.5 acres of land. The project was started in collaboration with Canada and Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIM) and expected participations of other collaborators through the CSIR. . It shall provide employment to the youth. To be completed by 31 March 2021. Another Project of National Institute of High Altitude Medicine took off on September 7, 2020 at Kotli in Bhaderwah to boost medicinal research infrastructure in J&K with total cost of Rs 100 crore. The deadline for the competition of the project is 2 years.
Centre Project for making Jammu and Srinagar as Model Cities is going on. In addition to the projects stated above, about 70 percent of the projects pending for the last several years have been completed. The Government of India has sanctioned AIIMS, NIIT, IIM, Institute of Mass Communications, 4 new medical Colleges (the imparting of studies in these institutions has been going on except for one Medical college), opening of new degree colleges, including one in Doda.
State Government has taken a very bold step of providing Free Medical Insurance up to 5 Lakh to all the families residing in the state. To protect the interests of Jammuites, Kashmiris in the Government services and safeguard their cultural identities, the Indian Parliament has recognized Dogri and Kashmiri along with Urdu, Hindi and English as official languages of the UT Jammu and Kashmiri. This was a long awaiting demand of the two provinces.
Prof. Virender Gupta