Road network reached from 4 to 40% under my brief regime in Doda: Azad

Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a large public rally at Bhonjwan in Kishtwar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a large public rally at Bhonjwan in Kishtwar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

* Politics has nothing to do with religion
Gopal Sharma

KISHTWAR, Nov 30: Alleging total neglect of Doda region by the successive previous Governments on all fronts, former J&K Chief Minister and Democratic Azad Party Chairman, Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that in erstwhile district Doda, just 4 % road network was created during past over 65 years while during his just short stint of two and half years as Chief Minister, it reached up to 40 per cent.
Click here to watch video
Addressing a large public rally at Bhonjwan in Kishtwar district today, Azad said that Jammu and Kashmir is lagging behind as compared to many other states and it needs a massive developmental push to meet the aspirations of its people. He said his tenure as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2005 to 2008 is still considered as the best in terms of development initiatives as his government had directed all departments to work on double and even triple shifts to ensure speedy completion of various projects.
“The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is lagging far behind from many other States of the country on the developmental front. Its infrastructure needs to be built on a fast-track basis,” Azad maintained.
“When I was Chief Minister in J&K, I got a survey conducted in each district with regard to road network developed since Independence. I came to know that some districts had 80 % road network, some 60 and even 50 %. But I was surprised to observe that in erstwhile Doda district including Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban, just 4 % road network existed. You will be surprised that during short tenure of just two and half years as Chief Minister, I brought this percentage to 40. This was the height of neglect of this largest district of which three districts were later created. The work culture was developed and the road infrastructure created on war- footing through double and triple-shift mechanism in the Chenab Valley,” Azad asserted.
He said his party has a vision of inclusive development for Jammu and Kashmir.”As Chief Minister, I ensured all the three regions of undivided J&K, including Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, get development projects equally. My vision is the same for all the regions,” he added.
The DAP leader said that he was pained to note that poor workers from the region were not getting work even for single shift today. There are no new roads being constructed or school buildings raised. The works have been stalled on the projects which were started during his regime. Even MGNREGA works have been stalled in respective Blocks and Tehsils. The poor labourers have been compelled to move out to Himachal, Uttarakhand and Punjab in search of work. But during his tenure the labour class people from adjoining States used to come to J&K for getting work. This system has been reversed by the people at the helm of affairs, he regretted.
Azad pointed out that most of the petty and even the big projects were being handed over to the people having connection with the ruling party. Even at local level work is accorded to the own party workers while others are being discriminated which is against the spirit of democracy.
Without naming BJP or any other party, Azad said people in the politics are dividing society on the basis or religion. A wedge is being created between Hindus and Muslims. The religious sentiments are exploited just for vote bank politics which is dangerous for any democracy.
” The politics has nothing to do with religion. A candidate having better track record whether he is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Gujjar or Pahari must be voted to power by the people. This is true democracy. For me, Hindus and Muslims are my two eyes. I have never discriminated on religion or regional basis. The people must rise above this narrow mindset and bias approach and avoid falling prey to the parties exploiting them,” Azad added.
The DAP leader, who is on a three-day visit of the Doda region to strengthen the party mass base, said, “If our party comes to power, we will ensure people get better roads, hospitals and educational facilities.”
He appealed to people to join his party to become an ambassador of peace and progress in the country.
“Jammu and Kashmir needs to be the beacon of peace, prosperity and development for the whole country and my party has the vision to accomplish this mission,” he said, adding when parties lack vision, they focus on petty issues.
Expressing concern over the hardships faced by Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities, he said his party will work for the uplift of the weaker sections of the society.
“Gujjar and Bakerwal communities are suffering the most with minimal economic advantages. The time is over now and they will get their due rights once we are in power,” Azad added.