Tourism, education badly hit by hartals
JAMMU, Aug 14: Voicing concern over progressive increase in infiltration attempts across the Line of Control (LoC) this year, Governor NN Vohra today hoped that new leadership in Islamabad will realize futility of continuing with terrorist agenda in Jammu and Kashmir and accept that only peace between the two nations will lead to mutual benefits of prosperity.
Vohra also mentioned that number of youth, some of whom were pursuing professional studies, were influenced to pick up gun and join militant groups but noted that some of them have return and appealed to community leaders to exercise their utmost influence to get all young men, who have deviated from the path, to return home and pursue their careers.
In his Independent Day message, the full text of which was released by the State Government tonight, the Governor said: “During the past over four years, various initiatives taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure amicable relations with our neighbor (Pakistan) have not so far engendered any result. Elections have just been concluded in Pakistan and a new Prime Minister (Imran Khan) shall be soon taking over. I very much hope that the new leadership in Islamabad will recognize the futility of continuing with its terrorist agenda in Jammu and Kashmir and accept that peace between the two countries will contribute towards the establishment of fruitful relations, growing trade, prosperity and all around mutual benefits’’.
He said the western neighbour (Pakistan) attempted to infiltrate an unusually large number of trained terrorists across the International Border (IB) and LoC but added that “our Army and police forces carried out effective operations and neutralized perhaps the largest every number of terrorists in the past many year. At the same time, we also suffered loss of security personnel and civilian lives’’.
During this year also, he added, there has been progressive increase in the attempts at infiltration across the LoC. And till June this year, there were repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan, which caused manifold sufferings to the people living in the villages along LoC.
He added that steady growth and advancement of Jammu and Kashmir has suffered because of Pakistan’s continuing proxy war and its unceasing campaigns for the past nearly three decades now to perpetrate violation and destabilize Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that Army continued to enforce strict vigil on the frontiers facing terrain, climate and other challenges, the Governor salutes fearless officers and men of the Army and paid respectful homage to the brave hearts of State Police, Central Armed Police Force and Army, who made supreme sacrifice to preserve territorial integrity of the nation.
The Governor voiced concern over the new phenomenon of number of youth including some, who were pursuing professional studies, joining the militancy.
“In the past year, a number of youth were influenced to pick up the gun and join groups which perpetrate violence. It is gratifying that some of these young men have since returned to their families. I appeal to all our community leaders to exercise their utmost influence to get all the young men who have deviated from the path to return home and pursue their careers,’’ Vohra said.
He also referred to difficulties faced by the people due to recurring disturbances and hartals, which, he said, affect functioning of public delivery systems, stoppage of transport, tourism, trade and business and closure of educational institutions. In fact, he stated, almost every activity comes to a halt with consequential difficulties for the people and losses on all fronts.
“The recurring unrest has most seriously affected the academic schedules and the future careers of our youth. Whenever I have had the opportunity of visiting any educational institution, I have been appealing to the teachers, parents and the community leaders to take every possible step for protecting the interests of the younger generation. It is extremely important that the anger of our youth, from whatever reasons it may arise, must not lead to their getting involved in violent activities,’’ he said.
Without naming separatists and others, the Governor said all stakeholders—whatever be their political convictions or religious ideologies—should close their ranks and muster the courage to accept that our problems can be resolved only through dialogue and discussion and by making sustained sincere efforts towards promoting reconciliation and communal harmony. This, he said, will help pull the State, and all our people, out of the prevailing environment of suspicion, fear, distrust and growing cynicism.
“ Ever since I came to serve this State, which is now over 10 years ago, I have been repeatedly urging that the pursuit of divisive and confrontationist approaches can never lead to the resolution of any of our problems. As we have seen for ourselves, such approaches have only generated vested interests, who have fractured our society and severely damaged our centuries old syncretic values and traditions,’’ Vohra said.
He appealed to the leaders of all political parties in the State and to all those at the help of various social, cultural, religious and other influential organizations, to ponder most seriously over what exactly has been gained from the endless turmoil, the continuing human and economic losses and suffering which the people have been undergoing during the past several decades.
“It also needs being recognized that the activities of all those whose sole objective has been to stoke unrest have resulted only in branding our State with a negative profile which has discouraged tourism, external investments and adversely affected the economic advancement of the State,’’ he added.
Referring to imposition of Governor’s rule in the State, the Governor said for the past nearly two months now it has been his unflinching endeavour to see that the functioning of the entire administrative apparatus, from the village level up to the State Secretariat, functions with promptitude, efficiency and complete accountability.
“My three Advisors, the Chief Secretary and I have been working to infuse the Governmental machinery with the required zeal for performing effectively and delivering efficient services to all the people in our State. For resolving outstanding issues which are delaying the implementation of development works and delivery of welfare programmes, we have been continuously engaged in reviewing the functioning of every department.
“Also, I have been visiting the districts to meet and hear the views and suggestions of the local legislators and, thereafter, holding meetings with officers of the divisional and district administration to review the execution of all development schemes and welfare programmes,’’ he said.
Vohra said the first priority of the Governor’s administration is to ensure the maintenance of public order and to see that the entire administrative apparatus functions with speed and efficiency.
“Among the many problems facing us there is a huge requirement of funds for securing the completion of scores of projects all over the State, some of which have been lingering for 10-15 years. Side by side, the services of a very large number of workers, not all of whom may have been inducted against available vacancies or after following the due processes, need to be urgently examined for appropriate decisions. It is also necessary to ensure that all those who get paid from the State exchequer report timely for work and perform their tasks with due diligence,’’ he said.
Reiterating his resolve to hold Municipal and Panchayat elections in the State, the Governor said that soon after assuming responsibility, his administration has taken the required steps for holding elections to the two bodies.
“Necessary amendments to the existing laws have already been made and speedy action is underway to gear-up the administrative and logistical arrangements for undertaking both these elections. Elections to Urban Local Bodies are scheduled to take place during September – October and the phased Panchayat polls during October – December this year. Side by side, we are also taking action to ensure that adequate funds, delegation of administrative and financial authority, deployment of the required staff and necessary logistical support is provided to the Municipalities and Panchayats, as soon as they get established,’’ he asserted.
The Governor appealed to the leaders of all political parties in the State to provide full support to the administration to improve efficiency and accountability in every arena of functioning and to lend their valuable support towards engendering an environment in which the forthcoming elections to Municipalities and Panchayats produce a positive outcome which would, in turn, pave the way for the restoration of peace and normalcy and enable the State to take on bigger challenges.
He also appealed to all the employees in the State to forthwith commit themselves to work with honesty and devotion to efficiently discharge the tasks entrusted to them. In this process, he added, they will not only win the respect of the people they are required to serve but also enable our State to move speedily ahead on all fronts.