Srinagar: As non-local labourers have left Kashmir, the developmental works have been halted in the valley for the last one month.
On August 2, the government issued an advisory asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave the valley citing militant threats. Three days after, the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre abrogated Article 370, 35A, and bifurcated the state on August 5. Since then, the valley has been under clampdown.
At the same time, the non-local labourers who have been working on several developmental projects or running their own shops have left the valley.
These days rarely any non-local labourer could be found across the Valley.
An official of Roads and Buildings Department said at least 80 per cent of semi-skilled and skilled workforces in Kashmir are non-locals mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and few other states.
“The works have been stopped on developmental projects. Construction works will be restarted only when skilled labourers are available here,” the official said.
As per rough estimates, almost five lakh labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal come to Kashmir every year to make their bread and butter. Developmental works in Kashmir are largely dependent on these skilled labourers.
“We want outside skilled labourers to return back but they seem reluctant to come here. The work on major construction projects is not possible unless these people return to the Valley,” he said.
He said most of the works of PMGSY, Economic Reconstruction Agency, Roads and Buildings Department, cement factories, brick kilns, are largely dependent on non-local skilled labourers. “We can’t do anything as outside labourers are reluctant to work on developmental projects under the present circumstances,” he added.
In Kashmir, over Rs 2000 crore worth projects started in the last two years are at different executions.
The government had set the target to complete almost 1800 languishing projects by end of this year.
Satish Kumar, a resident of Bihar has been working in Kashmir for the last several years. While boarding a bus along with a group of labourers for Jammu at Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar, he said, “It is not possible to work under present circumstances. Our families are worried as we have no communications with them.”
The Kashmir has a limited working season from April to September and the region’s developmental activities are worst affected when there is some disturbance in the Valley. The non-completion of developmental works would result in affecting the economy here.
Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, Rohit Kansal, who is also JK Government Spokesperson hopes that non-local labourers would return to the Valley. “Our developmental works are largely depended upon skilled non-local labourers. The situation is limping back to the normalcy and works on developmental projects will be restarted,” Kansal said.
Kashmir politicians detained will be freed in less than 18 months: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh has said political leaders detained in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s decision to revoke the state’s special status will be released in less than 18 months, The Indian Express reported.
At an event in Katra on Sunday, Singh said that he always said “less than 18 months” when asked about the release of political leaders detained in Kashmir. It is an apparent reference to the Emergency in 1975, when leaders of the Opposition were jailed.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader confirmed to The Indian Express that leaders would be released in “less than 18 months”.
Prohibitory orders are still in place in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which authorities maintained were a preventive measure since the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Several mainstream political leaders in the state, such as former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were taken into custody or put under house arrest after the clampdown last month. Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah was booked on Sunday night under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows one to be detained for six months without trial.
Jitendra Singh, who is minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, is the first senior functionary in the government to speak about how long the leaders might remain under detention for.
He said the statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir as the situation normalises.
RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.
Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.
Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.
The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.
Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.
Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.
Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.
After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.
Union Minister R K Singh to visit Kashmir to review development work in power sector
New Delhi: Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh will visit Kashmir tomorrow to review different development projects in the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the abrogation of Article 370, this will be the first visit of R K Singh to Kashmir.
Singh in an exclusive interview to ANI said that NHPC will provide jobs to 150 local skilled people. Powergrid Corporation is going for campus selection from different technical institution in Valley. Powergrid Corporation also takes up school smart learning programme.
“From this year, people in Kashmir will not face a power crisis in the winter season. The ministry is working towards providing 24×7 power supply to the Valley.
Secretary of power and Jammu and Kashmir administration will call a meeting of all contractors and ensure that works under various central government scheme progresses fast and are completed within the given timeline.
The government of India is spending more than 300 crores to provide uninterrupted power supply during the winter season in Valley,” he told ANI.
He further said that the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification corporation will spend 20 crores on skill development in Kashmir.
The minister also said that 100 MW rooftop solar plant in Ladakh region and Leh district will be lighting with green energy.
Singh has given instructions to officials that a comprehensive power plan should be prepared within a time frame so that entire J-K and Ladakh doesn’t suffer power shortage.
After the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, 10 central government ministeries have made massive and speedy development plans for J-K and Ladakh. The power ministry is one of those 10 central ministries which has made mega development plan for entire region.
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