Home Secy to chair high-level meeting
JAMMU, Aug 24: The Union Home Ministry will be holding a high-level meeting to review security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and discuss reorganization of the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 27. Top officials of the MHA and some other concerned Ministries are expected to attend the meeting.
This will be first meeting of the Home Ministry on Jammu and Kashmir which will be chaired by newly appointed Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, who will replace Rajiv Gauba, who has been appointed as the Cabinet Secretary.
Sources told the Excelsior that situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley in the aftermath of revocation of special Constitutional provisions of the State and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will come up for review during the meeting.
The Home Ministry has already announced that Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will come into existence on October 31.
“By then, the Home Ministry in consultations with the Jammu and Kashmir Government will be completing all formalities for switching over status of Jammu and Kashmir from a State to two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh,” sources said, adding that the MHA officials were on the job.
Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Incharge Jammu and Kashmir Division, Gyanesh Kumar will also attend the meeting as his department deals general policy matters in respect of Jammu and Kashmir and security situation including the terrorism in the State.
The meeting would also be attended by several Secretaries of the Government of India, whose Departments were dealing with re-organization of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories as the Government of India had to complete all formalities in the next two months before formally declaring J&K and Ladakh as the UTs.
According to sources, security situation in Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley would come up for high-level review at the meeting as there were still restrictions in some parts of Kashmir and life was yet to return to complete normalcy. Restrictions have, however, been lifted in Jammu region, where life was normal.
The Government was, however, confident things would be normal in the Valley after few days.
“Ongoing operations against the militants will also be reviewed in the high-level meeting as during past 20 days, only one major encounter has taken place in the Valley in which just one militant was killed,” sources said but added that slowdown in anti-militancy operations was because of the fact that focus of the security personnel had shifted to maintenance of law and order situation following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories on August 5.
However, according to sources, with situation normalizing to some extent, security forces will step-up operations against the militants.
“The Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), which is also monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs, could also come up for review in the high-level meeting,” sources said, adding the Central Government wants to give push to ongoing developmental works in the State under the PMDP to prevent further cost escalation.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Kashmir on June 26 and 27 had also reviewed the progress of projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package, both in Central and State sectors, and directed the administration to ensure that the projects are completed within the timelines set for them.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in November 2015 announced Rs 80068 crore worth Prime Minister’s Development for Jammu and Kashmir but its cost has already exceeded to Rs one lakh crore due to cost escalation of some of the projects for missing of deadlines.