Modi, Shah discuss J&K situation

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 5: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about security situation in Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley and developmental works undertaken there particularly under Rs 80068 crore worth Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) besides steps taken to ensure balanced development of three regions of the State including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Shah, who was on a two-day visit to Kashmir on June 26 and 27, his first after assuming charge of the Home Ministry, was reported to have briefed Modi on all aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and steps being taken by the Home Ministry to keep militancy and law and order situation well under control.
“Security arrangements made for annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine, which had started on July 1 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan were reportedly discussed between the two,’’ reliable sources said.
They added that the Home Ministry of Amit Shah has provided nearly 450 additional companies of para-military forces to Jammu and Kashmir for smooth conduct of yatra, which was going on with heavy rush of pilgrims on both the tracks including Chandanwari and Baltal. Over 67,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance to Lord Shiva in the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas so far.
Shah is also understood to have briefed the Prime Minister on steps being taken to give boost to developmental works in the State and ensure equal treatment to all three regions of the State. During his visit, Shah had made it clear to the officers that there should be no complaint of any discrimination with any of the three regions of the State and developmental works including those under PMDP should be completed well in time to avoid cost escalation.
The Prime Minister had sanctioned Rs 80068 crore worth PMDP for Jammu and Kashmir, which has already crossed Rs one lakh crore due to delay in execution of projects by both Central and State Governments.
Sources said conduct of Assembly elections in the State and action against separatists known for fuelling unrest in the Valley were also reported to have been discussed during the meeting between Modi and Shah. The Home Minister had made it clear in the Parliament while replying to debate on statutory resolution seeking extension in President’s rule in the State for another six months and bill granting 3 percent reservation to the people of International Border that the Government will hold Assembly elections in the State as and when the Election Commission announces the dates.
Shah has also made his hardline clear against separatists. Recently, the Home Ministry had elaborated how family members and relatives of separatists were enjoying luxurious life in the foreign countries by studying and getting education there while the separatists continued to mislead the local youth of Kashmir instigating them to take to militancy and stone pelting.
Sources said the establishment of three-tier system of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time had been high on agenda of both Central and State Governments. While Panchayat elections were held along with Municipalities after several years in September-November last year, the State Government had ordered completion of formalities for holding elections to second tier of Panchayats i.e. the Block Development Councils (BDCs).
Sources said the Central and State Governments were keen to give more powers to Panchayats and Municipalities to restore democracy fully at the gross-root level and holding of week-long ‘Back To Village’ Programme was part of this exercise.