‘Will ask LG to appoint Nodal Officer’
SRINAGAR, Mar 15: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today met a 24 member delegation from Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari in New Delhi and assured them Government will take all steps for the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah expressed confidence that visible changes will be seen on the ground in the next three to four months.
The Home Minister told the delegation that there is no intention of the Government for demographic change in the region and all such talks have no basis at all. He said that the Government will work with all sections of the society to realize the hopes of Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at an early opportunity.
Allaying the apprehensions of the delegation on restrictions, Shah said all decisions on relaxations being taken by the Prime Minister and implemented by Home Ministry are based on ground realities and not due to any pressure.
The Home Minister referred to steps like release of people from preventive detention, restoration of internet, relaxation in curfew and added that even political prisoners will be freed in times to come as the main objective of the Government is that not a single person should die, be it a common Kashmiri or security personnel.
Shah assured the delegation that Jammu and Kashmir will have a better domicile policy than other States in the country and said that a reasonable Economic Development Policy will be drafted soon after widespread consultation. He emphasised that there is no discrimination in implementation of Central Laws in Jammu and Kashmir and interests of all sections will be taken care of.
The Home Minister told the delegation that soon a very attractive Industrial Policy will be announced for rapid economic development and a Land Bank has already been created. He said, for the last 70 years, J&K attracted Rs 13,000 crore and expressed hope that by 2024 three times more investment will come in the region as there is huge potential for the same and investors are also willing to come forward. “This will also solve the problem of unemployment in the region”, he added.
On the issues of reservation, Shah said that a Commission will be set up soon and reiterated that no injustice will be done to Gujjars, nomads and other communities.
On the issues concerning J&K Bank, he assured the delegation to personally look into the problems. He said that issues on bureaucratic front and loopholes in general administration will be resolved on a fast track basis.
Shah said that he will also ask the LG to appoint a Nodal Officer to meet the aggrieved people twice in a week. He also asked the delegation to provide feedback from the below for their prompt redressal.
Shah said his Government is open to suggestions and feedback from all including from old parties, new parties and individuals for overall development of Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting of the delegation lasted over two hours during which they called for immediate confidence building measures for making a conducive atmosphere in J&K.
They demanded that the gulf between people of Kashmir and Jammu need to be reduced with a promise and purposeful assurance by the country’s top leadership that there shall be no discrimination in development and opportunities on the basis of region or religion. The delegation demanded that the majority community of J&K should be reassured that no steps would be taken that can effect a change in demography of the region.
The delegation demanded release of political detainees. They were, however, assured that till their release, the political activists who are under preventive detention and are lodged outside J&K jails shall be allowed to talk to their families on phone which would be facilitated by the authorities within a week.
Bukhari said that the Home Minister assured them the process of delimitation will be carried out purely based on merit and there would be no scope for any changes to be made in boundaries and description of the extent of Parliamentary constituencies without any rationalization.
The Apni Party president said that Home Minister assured the delegation that the Government would ensure J&K Bank functions as an autonomous financial institution with negligible political or bureaucratic interference. He assured that all other issues related to the Bank like corporate lending, settlement process, advances to business community, recruitment processes, delayed results, cancellation of selection lists etc would be looked into on top priority.
Bukhari said that Shah assured the delegation that a reasonable Economic Development Policy will be drafted soon after widespread consultation that will cover all sectors including tourism, agriculture, horticulture, transport, handcrafts, hoteliers, houseboat owners, shopkeeprs and industrial sector.
He said the Home Minister told the delegation that a very attractive Industrial Policy will be announced soon for rapid economic development and a Land Bank has already been created. “For the last 70 years, J&K attracted Rs 13,000 crore and expressed hope that by 2024 three times more investment will come in the region as there is huge potential for the same and investors are also willing to come forward. This will also solve the problem of unemployment in the region”, Bukhari quoted Shah.
Bukhari said that Shah told them that youth are a very important asset of any nation and he would personally ensure that a comprehensive policy is framed for J&K youth to provide them opportunities and uplift their morale.
He said that Shah told the delegation that Government is already working on dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes and he would need support of all the stakeholders to make it possible.
Bukhari said that Home Minister assured Employment Package for youth of J&K.
He said that Home Minister assured that development of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway which has been a source of perpetual distress for the people of the region will be taken up on urgent basis.
The Apni Party president said that the cap on airfare will be also taken up with the concerned Ministry and similarly construction of tunnels to connect different regions of Jammu and Kashmir would be taken up on priority.
Bukhari said Shah assured that all Union laws and laws governing Union Territory that are beneficial to the public would be enforced in Jammu and Kashmir without any selective approach. “He assured that he will look into the non applicability of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir and address the issue accordingly”, he said.
The delegation also sought personal intervention of the Union Minister towards settling the problems faced by daily wagers, ITI skilled labourers, daily rated workers, UPSC aspirants, functioning of PSC, welfare of Gujjars, Pahari speaking communities, nomads, welfare of refugees, agriculture, horticulture, damages to farmers, orchardists, pending liabilities of contractors and administrative inertia.
“The Union Home Minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured full support on all these issues. The delegation extended gratitude to the Union Home Minister for showing extreme concern and assuring redressal on the public welfare issues and problems being faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, Bukhari said.
The delegation which met comprised party leaders including Ghulam Hassan Mir, Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Zaffar Manhas, Vijay Bakaya, Vikram Malhotra, Manjeet Singh, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan, Javed Hassan Beigh, Usman Majeed, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Raja Manzoor, Shoiab Lone, Abdul Majeed Padder, Abdul Rahim Rather, Syed Asghar Ali, Javaid Mirchal, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Yawar Ahmad Mir and Kamal Arora.