LG lists 5 guiding principles for J&K, focuses on peace, development, jobs

‘Activism not a bad thing but youth should choose correct option’
More Smart Cities on lines of Jammu, Srinagar

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Aug 14: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said today that following Constitutional changes enacted by the Central Government in 2019 and historic 50 decisions taken to transform face of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government has earmarked five targets which will be the guiding principles and declared that development, peace, progress and social harmony will be most integral part of the narrative of the Union Territory.
“A new era of normalcy and development has dawned due to changes effected last year and a new journey has been undertaken. To ensure that this journey allows us to reach our destination quickly, the Government has earmarked five targets,” Sinha said in his first Address to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as the Lieutenant Governor on the eve of Independence Day.
The five guiding principles listed by Sinha include transparent system of governance which will be dedicated to empower marginalized and weaker sections of society, establish thriving grass-root level democracy, ensure maximum welfare so that every person benefits from Government schemes, accelerate development of Jammu and Kashmir and give primary priority to economic development, creation of employment opportunities and livelihood.
Invoking former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee who laid emphasis on `Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’, the Lieutenant Governor said: “But humanity conceded defeat to terrorism for decades in Kashmir, democracy suffered at the hands of vested interests and Kashmiriyat was massacred to appease the hatred that ensued. The legacy of cultural syncretism has been eclipsed by the vicious story of sectarianism”.
However, he said, the Government wants to transform the narrative once again to make development, peace, progress and social harmony the most integral part of the narrative of Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that activism is not a bad thing, Sinha called upon the youth to choose correct option which is of utmost significance and activism should be directed at development of nation as the country belongs to youth, who are its future leaders.
“Youth and student life are defined through activism. My own student life can be defined by my engagement with activism. I have been a student leader and was active in student politics. Activism is not a bad thing, but to choose correct option is of utmost significance,” he said in his message addressed to the youth.
Saying that youth and student life can only be experienced just once, Sinha said if the youth make optimum use of their youthful years, then this short time is sufficient to effect the greatest transformation.
“The greatest power with the youth is power of transformative imagination. It is your greatest strength. Change is the only constant-we often hear this saying, and no one can deny the veracity of this truth. But I believe that there is another allied truth to this transformation that we all accept, This truth is that throughout history, youth-power has been the harbinger of all transformations”, he asserted.
Sinha said that unfortunately some wrong decisions were taken after Independence which inevitably led to resentment in the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and distanced them from the rest.
“This distancing led to the widening of fissures and cracks. Generation after generation was sacrificed at the altar of hatred. Instead of countless doors that should have opened for the people in independent India, numerous doors closed, and distances increased,” he added.
The Lieutenant Governor said it was the dream of Sardar Patel that whole India shouldn’t just exist as a political map, but also move forward together at the same time and conquer new milestones of development and progress.
Referring to cultural interactions between different parts of the country, he hoped that the endeavour to strengthen cultural relations will not be restricted to specific area and rather the people of Jammu and Kashmir should forge strong relations with each and every region of the country.
Tracing history of Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said it is the land of Rishi Kashyap, and also the land of Prophet Mohammad.
“This land has also hosted Guru Nanak in his quest for enlightenment while also accommodating the philosophy of Gautam Buddha. We can learn a lot from Jammu and Kashmir’s ancient tradition of religious inclusivity and we are committed to renew and empower this tradition,” he added.
He also quoted a verse by Kashmiri born Laleshwari saying this testified to the tradition of wonderful cultural syncretism of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sinha said a Commission for Socially and Economically Backward Classes is considering to make the Reservation Policy more effective and appropriate.
He said the Government is planning to create more Smart Cities like new Jammu and new Srinagar, which will be counted among most advanced cities of the world.
He, however, said equality and justice are being gradually restored in Jammu and Kashmir.
“No system of governance can be truly just, if even one person is deprived of equal social, political and economic rights. The rights of women who marry outside Jammu and Kashmir are now protected.
“Refugees from West Pakistan, displaced migrants, Pahari speaking people, Other Backward Classes and safai karmis have finally found long delayed justice. They now possess democratic, employment and property rights,” he said.
The LG said the full application of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has laid the ground for a strong grassroots democracy in the UT.
“Panchayats and Municipalities lay the base for thriving, significant and accountable grassroots democracy. To ensure development, unprecedented energy is being channelized at the ground level through 960 Councilors, as well as more than 27,000 Sarpanchs and Panchs,” he said.
The LG said the Government is cooperating fully with the people in this quest for development through decentralization in allotment of funds, works and employees.
“After the Constitutional change, elections for Block Development Councils were conducted for the first time in J-K. They have been accorded a status as public representatives and now possess the means to fulfill expectations of people,” Sinha said.
Referring to the killings of a Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch from Anantnag, Ajay Pandita, and BJP’s former district president of Bandipora, Waseem Bari, by militants, the LG said they laid down their lives to defend the idea of India.
He also expressed gratitude to Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central paramilitary forces and jawans of the military for sacrificing their lives to ensure the integrity and freedom of the nation.
He said his Government and administration stands by all those who are committed to and strive towards strengthening democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Elected representatives of local Self-Governments who face threat are being provided with Rs 25 lakh life insurance cover. To make policing more effective, the necessary reforms are being undertaken,” he said.
Sinha said the Government aims to create ultra-modern and world-class infrastructure in the UT.
“We have to transform Jammu and Kashmir into a world class tourism destination. We have to create a peaceful environment here. I expect the full cooperation and support of people here that we may create a new Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.