Indo-Pak friendship in best interest of J&K: Mehbooba

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Aug 14: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today asserted that the Constitutional position enjoyed by the State provides a sound basis of cooperation, mutual trust and tolerance between the people of the State and rest of the country.
In her message to the people of the State on the eve of Independence Day, the Chief Minister said this position was the result of reciprocity of the sentiments of the people of the State and rest of the country following the accession of 1947. “When the situation in the entire sub continent was very bad, people of the State, by acceding to the Union,  chose a democratic system based on  shared ideals of democracy, tolerance and mutual trust”, she said in her address, adding the Constitutional status enjoyed by Jammu & Kashmir in the Union is unparallel adding that protecting and strengthening is the collective responsibility of all of us.
Mehbooba said the extensive powers enjoyed by the State Legislature, which are comparable to none in the country, were exemplified recently during the GST Act formulation. “The House debated the issues and the Presidential Order on the subject also ratified the Legislative competence and authority of our Assembly,” she said.
Describing dialogue as the only way ahead to sort out issues, the Chief Minister said it is her firm belief that dialogue always gives the best solution to any problem. She added the Agenda of Alliance of the present Government has also declared that dialogue with all stakeholders in the State is the way forward. She said democracy is the battle of ideas and ideas can’t be jailed. “A better idea only can defeat another idea”, she said.
Terming Indo-Pak friendship in the best interests of the State, Mehbooba said it is the people of the State who  bear the brunt of bitterness in relations between the two countries. She said due to the recent tension along the LoC, hundreds of people living close to the borders in the State had to migrate to safer places. “Many of them lost their lives, schools in these areas got closed and a lot of them were rendered homeless”, she said in her address.
The Chief Minister, however, noted with satisfaction that despite having lost too much to the violence and uncertainty of the past three decades, people of the State have held high the values and principles Jammu & Kashmir is known for.  She said the way in which people of the State stood up against the killing of Amarnath yatris recently is a case example. “This not only reflected the peaceful nature and value system of our people, it also created a soft corner for our people elsewhere in the country”, the Chief Minister remarked.
Describing youth as the future hope of our times, Mehbooba said in her interactions with the youth of the State she has seen the dreams of a better future. “A future where there is development, respect, guarantee for identity and definitely peace also. We owe it to them. It’s our duty and responsibility too”, she said and appealed for working unitedly for realizing the dreams of our future generation.
Describing unemployment as a major challenge, the Chief Minister said her Government is ensuring transparency in recruitments in the Government while as promoting many job rich sectors and simultaneously encouraging private sector   so that the spirit of enterprise takes strong roots among our youth.
Mehbooba said the execution of Rs. 80, 000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package has started unfolding in the State. She said the State Government has formulated an ambitious connectivity plan under which not only the State would be connected to rest of the country through improved road networks but all the regions of the State would also be connected with each other with more roads and tunnels.
“Recently the Prime Minister inaugurated Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and with the completion of another tunnel at Qazigund the distance on the highway would greatly decrease thus ensuring State’s improved connectivity with rest of the country”, she said.  Also, she added, preliminary work on constructing tunnels on Zojila more, Mughal road, Vailoo road and Chattergala on Bani-Bhaderwah road has been started by the Centre and the State Governments is also pushing for tunnels at Rajdhani pass on Gurez road and Sadhna top on Karnah road to improve people’s movement across regions in the State.
On the development front, the Chief Minister said work is apace on all the five medical colleges in the State. Also, she said, many nursing colleges are under construction which on completion would be a landmark in the history of medical education in the State. She said with the operationalisation of engineering colleges at Safapora and Kathua, two colleges of Architecture and many other polytechnics, which she founded recently in the State, the State would produce a new generation of skilled youth who won’t be having any problems in getting jobs.
Mehbooba said as she had promised, the State Government got Srinagar and Jammu cities included in the list to be developed as Smart cities with all the modern facilities of future urban life. Keeping in view the ravages of floods of 2014, she said, the State Government has launched a Flood Management project under which dredging in Jhelum and other flood protection works are being undertaken expeditiously.
To address the traffic problem in the two capital cities and improve their road networks, Mehbooba said her Government has formulated two ambitious semi ring road projects on which the land acquisition process is in full swing and are expected to be started this year only. She said important initiatives have been taken by her Government in sector like horticulture, handicrafts and tourism which are expected to rejuvenate them.
“My Government has started a helicopter service to far flung and cut off areas to give relief to the people of these areas,” she said.
Seeking support and cooperation of people in fulfilling the developmental dreams for the State, the Chief Minister said peace and people’s support are the two crucial components without which the developmental objective cannot be achieved. She in particular credited youth for their contribution in maintaining peace in the State saying with further improvement on this count the developmental process in the State would take a bigger push, tourism would pick up which consequently would lead to more jobs and thus realizing the dreams of our youth.


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