PM, HM review J&K’s development, political, security scenario with LG

Centre for timely execution of PMDP, CSS projects
*No shortage of funding now from GoI

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah held high-level review of security and political situation and developmental projects in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha with focus on further expediting projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for which there was no shortage of funding from the Central Government.
Sinha met Modi and Shah in New Delhi separately. Both the meetings lasted half an hour, official sources told the Excelsior and said the Lieutenant Governor returned to Srinagar this morning after attending the meetings.
“Though the security and political issues also figured in the meetings, development remained the main focus,” they said, adding that Sinha briefed the Prime Minister and the Home Minister about ongoing developmental projects in the Union Territory and the Government’s attempt to give boost to the projects which have been stalled or delayed.
In a recent interview to a news channel, Shah had praised Sinha for taking development to grass-root level in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said the Central Government wants timely completion of developmental projects especially which have been undertaken under the PMDP or other Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) as these projects were getting regular funding from the Government of India. The projects are also being reviewed periodically by the Union Ministries with concerned Administrative Secretaries of the UT Government.
The Central Government, according to sources, is satisfied with pace of development works in Jammu and Kashmir. However, it wants the projects to meet timelines fixed either by the Central or the Union Territory Governments for benefit of the people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 7, 2015 announced Rs 80,080 crore worth Development Package for Jammu and Kashmir which had subsequently crossed Rs one lakh crore as number of projects had missed the deadlines leading to cost escalation. Mostly, the power projects are missing the timelines, sources pointed out. There is also concern about delay in Ring Road Srinagar, they said.
However, delay in execution of some of the projects has been attributed to Coronavirus pandemic and clearance by the Forest Department. The J&K Government’s major focus, like the Centre, remained control of COVID-19 which had spread in the entire Union Territory but has gradually shown signs of decline.
“The Lieutenant Governor is also reported to have briefed the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on security and political situation in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir including release of almost all political leaders who were under detention since August 5 when the Centre had revoked special status of J&K and bifurcated it into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh,” sources said.
The Central and Union Territory Governments, in major political process, have decided to conduct by-elections to vacant seats of Panchayats followed by constitution of District Development Councils (DDCs), which will form third tier of Panchayats for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir.
On security front, according to sources, Army and police have definite upper hand over the militants-be it on the Line of Control (LoC) or the hinterland in the Kashmir valley as several militants including top commanders have been killed in the recent past. On the LoC also, Army has foiled several major infiltration attempts by the militants backed by the Pakistan army.
According to sources, the Central Government has decided to keep Accession Day celebrations on October 26 and Union Territory anniversary on October 31 as low-key affair.
This is for the first time that the Union Government has kept Accession Day on October 26 as gazetted holiday in Jammu and Kashmir while October 31 will mark the first anniversary of formal conversion of J&K into the Union Territory though it was made UT along with Ladakh on August 5, 2019.
The Central Government has left it to the UT Government in J&K to list achievements of one-year of the UT of J&K and further announcements especially those pertaining to development projects. The Central Ministers are unlikely to visit Jammu and Kashmir on October 31.