Zero tolerance for corruption whether they are politicians or bureaucrats: LG

PM has given Rs 55,000 cr for development projects in J&K

Return process of KPs to Kashmir may start in a year

Assembly elections after Delimitation Comm report

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 20: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today declared that he is committed to zero tolerance for corruption and whether it is a corrupt politician or a bureaucrat, he must be afraid from the Government even as he disclosed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released Rs 55,000 crore for different projects in Jammu and Kashmir. He took signatories of Gupkar Declaration to task asking where they were on the black night of January 19, 1990 when lakhs of people (a reference towards Kashmiri Pandits) were driven out of their houses from the Valley.

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In an interview to Aaj Tak news channel in Srinagar, Sinha while responding to a question on Enforcement Directorate’s questioning of National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah yesterday, said the questions would have been raised even if Farooq was called a month after Gupkar Declaration.
“As far as corruption is concerned, I have zero tolerance for it. During last one week only, several Government officials and other persons have been arrested and their assets attached. Those who have looted the Government exchequer or done corruption, they have to be afraid, whether they are politicians or bureaucrats,” Sinha said.
Asserting that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were pained by corruption, bad governance and lack of development, he said he has visited several areas of the Union Territory during last two and half months of his tenure and realised their pain that they want development to be expedited.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released Rs 55,000 crore for different projects of Jammu and Kashmir. Several big institutions like two AIIMS, IITs, IIMs, roads, tunnels and bridges are coming up. But due to COVID during last 7-8 months, the development process was slowed but has again picked up now. Forty four major projects have been completed. Under the PMDP, 17 projects were complete. We are trying to finish the projects within the timelines,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
He said he has requested the Prime Minister to give time for launch of `Sehat’ Scheme in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked whether some Kashmiri leaders could be arrested again after Gupkar Declaration, he said there is no impact on the situation.
However, he added, some people had made terrorism and gun as identity of Kashmir, which is not the case. Kashmir is known for Sufism, Sarv Dharam. “Where were these leaders when on the black night of January 19, 1990, lakhs of people were driven out of their homes from the Valley. Had these leaders felt pain then, I would have said they are really worried about Kashmir,” he said.
To a question on PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s statement soon after her release recently that Article 370 was illegally taken away by the Centre and she will fight for its restoration, Sinha said 370 was scrapped by the Parliament. It was a decision taken by the Parliament but some people have gone to the apex court challenging its abrogation. They should have faith in the judiciary and wait for the verdict, he added.
Sinha said he was not worried by the alliance of political parties.
“My worry is what has to be done for the people of beautiful Valley. Development of Jammu and Kashmir is my primary responsibility. I’m trying hard to fulfil wishes and aspirations of the people,” he said and didn’t agree that Gupkar Declaration is a challenge to Indian democracy saying in a democracy, everyone has right to speak.
On Dr Farooq Abdullah’s pro-China remarks, the Lieutenant Governor said those who have held Constitutional posts should see whether they should make such statements.
The Lieutenant Governor dropped hints that return process of Kashmiri Pandits could start in a year’s time.
“The Prime Minister had approved 6000 jobs and 6000 houses for Kashmiri Pandits. Except 176, all posts will be filled in next few months. Work on construction of houses is also on and within a year all houses will be complete,” he said.
Asked whether this will initiate return process of Kashmiri Pandits, Sinha said when they (the Kashmiri Pandits) will get jobs, they will start living there.
Asserting that many Kashmiri Pandits are in touch with him, he said one of them living in the United States has approached him and he wants to open a school in Kashmir.
He reiterated the Prime Minister’s August 15 statement that Assembly elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir after completion of Delimitation Commission process.
“I can say with responsibility that the Delimitation Commission is working as mandated by the Parliament and the Government,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai has been mandated to complete process for delimitation of Assembly constituencies by March 6, 2021.
On the constitution of District Development Councils, Sinha said, it will be third tier of Panchayati Raj in Jammu and Kashmir and, with this, the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India will be implemented in letter and spirit. It will lead to further development in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
He said the Government has created Grievance Redressal Institutional Mechanism from district to capital cities and he has called meeting with representatives from all 20 districts on October 22 for further discussions.
Sinha said during last 73 days, he has taken 73 important decisions especially those pertaining to fill trust deficit between administration and people.
“Many decisions have been taken to boost tourism, industry, trade and employment including 5 percent interest subvention across the board,” he added.
He disclosed that he was trying to learn Urdu, Dogri and Kashmiri.