Speaker, NC delegation, legislators, former Ministers call on Governor

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Aug 2: Legislative Assembly Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh today took up the issue of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and bar on inauguration of developmental works by the MLAs, with Governor NN Vohra.
In half an hour long meeting, Dr Singh suggested that ban on the CDF and inauguration of projects by the MLAs should be lifted as this would help MLAs to connect with the people and go ahead with political activities, which were necessary in the State, which was passing through the phase of Governor rule.
Dr Singh told the Excelsior that response of the Governor on both the issues was very positive.
The Speaker also took up with the Governor the issues of modernization and expansion of MLAs hostel and eviction of the hostel from unauthorized occupants, presentation of Best MLAs’ Award, strengthening of the Public Services Commission (PSC), Sukrala Mata Shrine Board, revision in Assembly Recruitment Rules, which were last framed in 1959 and finalization of e-Assembly project.
An 11-member delegation of the J&K National Conference led by its General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar also met Governor.
The delegation put forth its concerns relating to the legal challenge to the Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution; appreciated the decisions taken by the Governor for streamlining the Administration after the imposition of Governor’s Rule; raised issues relating to the security concerns of their party members on account of terrorist attacks on its leaders and workers; growing menace of drugs among  youth; downturn in the tourism and handicrafts sectors of the State’s economy;  raised attention to the developmental issues of Srinagar city, particularly the urgent need for Dal Lake conservation; problems of Kargil District which included unlawful constructions, encroachments on public lands, and need to ensure timely completion of the Zojila tunnel.
The delegation thanked Governor on his decision to conduct the long overdue elections to the Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats. Governor urged Sagar and his party members to raise awareness about the high importance of the forthcoming elections to establish grass-root democracy in the State.
Governor assured the delegation that he would schedule an early visit to Kargil to discuss and settle all outstanding problems relating to the district.
Present in the delegation were Shamima Firdous, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Mubarak Gull, Ferooz Ahmad Khan, Nasir Aslam Wani,  Haji Mohammad Syed Akhoon, Mohammad Irfan Shan, Peer Aafaq Ahmed, Bashir Ahmad Ganaie, Ghulam Rasool Naqvi and Haji Hanifa John.
M.Y. Tarigami, MLA Kulgam informed Governor about the development programmes in his district which were languishing for want of the funds required for their completion.
Governor assured to examine and early determine the way forward to ensure the optimization of the investments already made in the incomplete projects.
Tarigami welcomed Governor’s decision to organize polls for the restoration of the democratic framework at the grass-root level. Governor urged the Legislator to spread awareness about the high importance of the forthcoming elections to Municipalities and Panchayats.
Surinder Ambardar, Member of the State Legislative Council also called on Governor and apprised him about certain matters relating to the Kashmiri Migrants and welcomed the forthcoming elections to urban and rural self-governing bodies.
Appreciating Ambardar’s initiatives at the ground level Governor advised him to spread awareness about the high importance of establishing the grass-root level democratic framework.
Sham Lal Sharma, former Minister informed Governor about development issues relating to the Jammu region and the people’s high expectation from the outcome of the forthcoming elections to Panchayats and Municipalities.
Sham Sharma also discussed long pending demands of casual and need base labourers with Governor and said that this issue needs to be considered on priority as these workers are agitating for the last so many years. He also urged the Governor to revisit the SRO 520 so that justice is done with all and nobody feels aggrieved.
He also said that Anganwari workers have been agitating for the last several months for increase in their honarium and other demands. “The issue needs to be given due consideration”, he added.
Sham Sharma also discussed with the Governor the problems being faced by the people living along the border and brought to his notice that a package of Rs 5.50 lakh was announced in favour of displaced people but the same has been discontinued.
He also demanded dissolution of Assembly and early elections.
Governor appreciated Sharma’s endeavors and urged him to encourage large scale participation of people to re-establish urban and rural self-governing bodies all over the State.
Prof. Saif-ud-Din Soz, former Union Minister also met Governor and presented a copy of his recently released book, “Kashmir Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle” to the Governor. He also informed Governor about some of his concerns relating to the effective functioning of health and other institutions in J&K.
Prof. Soz congratulated Governor on his decision to conduct the long pending elections to Municipalities and Panchayats and stated that this will greatly strengthen the democratic framework.
A 14-member delegation of All J&K Panchayat Conference, led by its Chairman Shafiq Mir also met Governor.
The delegation lauded the Governor’s decision to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989 to restore the direct election of Sarpanches and taking steps for strengthening the grass root level self-governing institutions in the rural areas.
The delegation emphasized that the Panchayats are entirely non-political, community centric institutions which promote growth and development in sync with the aspirations of people living in the villages. They requested that the District Administration in the State should be directed to involve the erstwhile Panchs and Sarpanches for tackling various issues in the Panchayat areas. The delegation also highlighted the pressing security concerns of the All J&K Panchayat Conference members.
Governor urged the Panchayat Conference delegation to lose no time in starting preparations for the elections which are planned to be held in October-December this year. He urged Mir and his colleagues to spread awareness amongst the general public about the apolitical character of the Panchayats and their crucial importance in enabling the villages to plan and decide their development priorities and be also responsible for implementing the village development programmes.