‘Many elements bent upon creating wedge’
JAMMU, Apr 9: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah today said that peace is imperative for the development and socio-economic prosperity of the State besides creating stability and addressing all the issues amicably.
Addressing a huge public gathering at Purmandal in Samba district, the Chief Minister said, “the dividends of peace in the shape of generation of economic activities, revival of tourism and carrying development to all corners of the State are visible on the ground across the State”.
“We have seen the desperation and destruction caused by disturbance and violence. We have also seen the benefits of prevailing peace in the State since last year”, he said asking the people to contribute in maintaining tranquility so that the State moves on the road to progress and prosperity firmly.
Mr Omar said that his Government has also percolated peace benefits to the people in the shape of softening of the provisions of acts like PSA. “We are also working for removing other laws imposed owing to the disturbance and violence”, he added.
Asking the people to maintain communal amity and brotherhood under all circumstances, he said, “many elements are bent upon creating wedge between various sections of the society. People have to be cautious against these elements and strengthen the bonds of harmony and love”.
The Chief Minister said that Government has flagged comprehensive development of farmers and ruralites as an important aspect in the State’s development policy. “We have initiated various measures to give necessary fillip to the development of agriculture”, he said, adding “this sector has been made free from all taxes in the current year’s Budget.
“Similarly, Government is keen to alleviate the rural poverty and bring villages at par with towns and cities so far as availability of basic amenities and other development matters are concerned”, he further said.
On Kandi development, the Chief Minister said, “the Government is working on a project to irrigate parched areas in Samba district by constructing an irrigation canal”, adding “Government has decided to spend 10 percent of the water charges collected from power companies for enhancing irrigation facilities in the Kandi areas. The State has collected around Rs 500 crore water charges so far and Rs 50 crore would be incurred on the construction of Kandi Canal out of this amount, Mr Omar further said.
He said that development of agro-based MSME sector is being encouraged along with the economic activities relating to the rearing of cattle. “The State is the highest consumer of mutton and chicken in the country. We have greater opportunities of harnessing this sector”, he said elaborating that the State Government’s measures in this regard have started yielding results and the graph of mutton and chicken import from outside the State is showing gradual decline.
About transfer of power from Secretariat to the public representatives, he said, “establishment of Panchayat Raj, Public Service Guarantee Act (PSGA), constitution of Jammu and Kashmir State Right to Information Commission and strengthening of Accountability Commission are initiatives in this direction”.
Maintaining that the process of constitution of Block Panchayat and District Panchayat Councils has been set in motion and this would be finalized soon after the Legislative Council seats reserved for panchayats are filled up from amongst the panchayat members, the Chief Minister said. “we are committed to a full-fledged three-tier panchayat system in the State”.
Mr Omar said that enactment of PSGA is an innovative legislation aimed at time bound public service delivery and reduction of corruption at lower level. “Around 50 public services in 6 departments of Power, Transport, Water Supply, Consumer Affairs, Housing and Revenue have been identified for time bound delivery under the Act”, he said, adding “any official found showing laxity or failure in the delivery of services like issuance of state subject, ration card, ST/SC certificate, power or water connection, driving license etc will be liable to fine to the tune of Rs 5000. The affected consumer would be entitled to a compensation out of this amount”.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather highlighted the efficacy of Pubic Service Guarantee Act in making the service delivery prompt and reducing the chances of corruption. “The Chief Minister has directed for bringing more public services under the ambit of the Act”, he said, adding “clearance of passport cases and issuance of character certificate by the police department for employment are also being brought under the Act”.
Referring to the benefits of SKEWPY, he said that this programme provides greater opportunities to youth to venture into self livelihood earning ventures for which Government is providing free seed money equal to 1/3 and Jammu and Kashmir Bank 3/4 of the total cost.
Mr Rather cautioned the people about the nefarious designs of those who are bent upon to divide the society for vested interests. “People are well versed about their stigmatised past and their only aim is to mislead the people as they did in the past”, he added.
The public meeting was also addressed by Minister for Industries, S S Slathia, Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, Ajay Sadhotra, Master Noor Hussain, Javid Rana and provincial president, NC, Rattan Lal Gupta.