Srinagar, Jan 26: Long-due Panchayat polls expected to be held next month have once again been postponed, official sources revealed to The Kashmir Monitor.
The deferment, sources say, has come after PDP-BJP coalition “mutually agreed that delaying the polls was necessary to avoid deteriorating the situation ahead of the 2018 summer”.
“The Chief Minister has already informed New Delhi about it. The issue was also discussed on Sunday, when BJP’s National General Secretary, Ram Madhav, met with J&K Governor, NN Vohra,” a source said.
Interestingly, the decision has come weeks after the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, had earlier informed the governor that the elections were going to be held from February 15.
Sources said the shift was a result of the “general goodwill that the government believes to have developed with the budget”.
“The budget, more or less, has received a positive feedback. The alliance does not want to spoil it by conducting the elections, which, given the recent experience, can become a major law and order issue,” they say.
Sources added that the CM, during her recent visit to New Delhi, apprised Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, of the same, and both of them agreed on deferring the polls.
The meeting, sources said, was followed by BJP’s point-man rushing to Jammu to convey the same to the governor, who had, in November last year, spoken against any further delay in the polls.
The second reason for delaying the polls, sources say, was the issue of the security of the candidates expected to be in the fray.
Opposition as well as the Panchayat members of the state recently expressed their apprehensions following separatists’ call for a boycott of the polls and warning by militants.
Earlier this month, an audio clip of a purported conversation between two Hizb militants went viral on social media, in which a commander of the outfit asked the cadres to pour acid into the eyes of the candidates.
Corroborating the sources, Shafiq Mir, chairman of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC), told The Kashmir Monitor that given the “lack of preparedness from the government, it did not seem that they were in a mood to conduct the elections”.
“They should have come out with the notification by now, which they have not,” he said.
Mir added they were “ready” for the polls.
However, he said, it was the responsibility of the government to provide a secure environment for it.
“If they can’t create a suitable environment for it, they should not be in power. Deferring it again means the political system of the state does not want a parallel institution that may curtail its own powers. So, in garb of security situation, they, time and again, delay the polls,” he said.
The panchayat elections in J&K have already been delayed since 2016.
Not forming an ideal precedent to it, the April 2017 Srinagar Lok Sabha election, with eight civilian casualties and over 200 incidents of protest, proved enough bloody to cancel a similar one in Anantnag.
Centre will soon come out with industrial package for UT: Goyal
Jammu, Jan 19: Describing Jammu and Kashmir as a “jewel” of the country, Union minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said the Centre would come out with an industrial package for the Union Territory soon and expressed hope that it would attract large amounts of investment to the valley.
The Minister for Railways and Commerce also announced that Kashmir would be linked with the rest of the country by train by December next year.
He asserted that development work has gathered pace in Jammu and Kashmir, especially after June 18, 2018 when the erstwhile state came under Governor’s rule.
“I am very happy at the progress (of development) that I have seen on the ground and I am sure that in the days and months to come this process will continue relentlessly. We will soon come out with an industrial package and we hope to see large amounts of investment coming to Kashmir,” he told reporters at the Jammu airport before returning to Delhi.
Goyal was in Jammu as part a week-long public outreach programme initiated by the Centre to apprise people of the potential benefits of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status afternullification of Article 370 of the Constitution.
He was part of the second batch of seven Union ministers who reached Jammu and addressed a series of public meetings and inaugurated various projects in different districts.
“What we have heard since our childhood that it is paradise on earth. It was paradise on earth and it will remain so as well. It is a jewel of the country and truly a paradise on earth and I am proud of Jammu and Kashmir,” Goyal said.
Article 370 was nullified in August 5, 2019 and the state was bifurcated into Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Central Government is committed on its promise for exemplary transformation on developmental front across Jammu and Kashmir after the people joyfully embraced the new system of administration. This was stated by Union Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal today while addressing a large gathering of people at Akhnoor here.
The minister inaugurated three projects for Akhnoor’s development at an estimated cost of Rs 669.82 lakh. Earlier today, Goyal inaugurated construction of protection work of 300 meter at Gurki Dakki/Jia Pota Ghat along the bank of river Chenab at Akhnoor at an estimated cost of Rs 324.58 lakh.
Also, he e-inaugurated a three kilometer road project from Tanda to Kapian De Ban (Part-I) at an estimated cost of Rs 150.24 lakh and Indoor Hall near Boys Higher Secondary School Akhnoor at an estimated cost of Rs 195 lakh.
Addressing the gathering, which included Chairmen of Block Development Councils, Municipal Committee members, Sarpanchs, Panchs, members of different political parties, Goyal spelled out the achievements and accomplishments of Central and J&K administration in the past two years.
“This is just a beginning, many more is on the way. J&K is going through rapid transformation. We all will see the old golden glory of the region,” he said and added that a new dawn of development has started in J&K which the people of J&K were deprived of from the last seventy years because of various hurdles in the path of progress and development.
Complimenting the people of J&K for maintaining peace and tranquility after region’s transition from State to Union Territory, the minister reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir would witness a fast paced and all round development in all spheres and would be a partner in nation building.
“Central government is committed on its promise for exemplary transformation in J&K as people have joyfully accepted the new stet-up of administration which will change their lives and fast pace developmental works in the region,” Goyal said.
While pronouncing that different projects have been completed and have been taken up in J&K, he said before two years number of projects were languishing or had little progress but most of the projects have been completed or nearing completion.
He said by March 2021, 25 projects would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crore in J&K. He said many prestigious institutions have been set up in the region including IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, Highway and road connectivity projects, Railway, Bridges (Chenab River) etc.
He said these projects would generate employment in sectors like irrigation, electricity, sports, tourism and other areas.
“J&K is Desh Ka Noor. Every languishing project has now been cleared which will set a new path of development in J&K,” he said.
The Minister said that there has been a great success in their implementation like the Saubhagya scheme under which 3,30,000 households have been electrified and a 100 crore special award under this scheme has been awarded to J&K.
Conducting BDC polls in J&K a historical step: Anurag Thakur
Jammu, Jan 19: Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Singh Thakur today said that Jammu and Kashmir has suffered immensely due to the historical mistakes, and this has had a detrimental impact on its political, social and economic development. He said this while inaugurating various developmental projects at Nagrota, Jammu during the second day of the Central Government’s special public outreach programme to disseminate information about the implementation of its policies and programmes for the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir and its people.
While addressing a large gathering, Thakur said that the BDC elections in J&K was a historical step that made the local self government a part of the decision making authority of which they have been deprived of from the last seventy two years. He further said that the govt. wants grass root level participation to become an integral part of democracy which can then empower people socially, economically and politically. He also urged the Block Development Council members to implement the basic centrally sponsored schemes up to the gross root level to which they have been deprived of from many decades.
With respect to the implementation of the GoI schemes and programmes, Shri Thakur said that the UT of J&K has done wonderful in Ayushman Bharat Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Ujjwala Yojana and Swach Bharat etc. The Minister appreciated the role of J&K Administration on achieving target under Swachh Bharat Mission and Saubhagya Yojana. He reiterated that the Prime Minister of India has taken the UT of J&K on top priority in terms of development. Giving details regarding centrally sponsored schemes, the Minister said that the UT of J&K stood first in the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Scheme, 18,534 houses have been constructed under PMAY, 2.5 lac toilets were constructed under Swachh Bharat and Ujjwala has reached to its hundred percent target in Jammu and Kashmir. He also urged the concerned authorities to speed up the execution of these centrally sponsored schemes for the benefit of the grass root level population and also emphasised to spread awareness about the various schemes of the Govt. like PM Jan Dhan Yojna, MGNREGA, PM Gram Sadak Yojna, PM Awas Yojna, National Health Mission, Ladli Beti, Old Age Pension and others.
The minister also said that DBT is a huge game changer in developmental and welfare paradigm of India as it has changed the way in which benefits and welfare of citizens is secured in India and ensured a great transparency. Talking about the sports talent in J&K, the Minister said that sports infrastructure in J&K will be upgraded as there is a huge potential among the youngsters and they were being held back in the past from achieving their dreams and glory by the lack of facilities.
The Minister also emphasised the people of the UT of J&K to leave their past and urged to give efforts to make a New India.
Earlier, during his visit, the Minister dedicated a permanent ambulance to the PHC Nagrota and promised to provide a mobile van health service on trial basis for three months only to provide basic health care facilities to the people at their doorsteps.
GoI committed to equitable, fast-track development: R K Singh
DODA, JAN19: Union Minister of State for Power, New & Renewable Energy, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Raj Kumar Singh today reiterated the commitment of the central government to ensure equitable and fast-track development projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Minister was addressing a public outreach programme here along with Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar.
The programme was attended by M Raju Secretary PDD, Yasha Mudgal MD JPDCL; Dr Sagar D Doifode, DDC Doda; SSP Doda Mumtaz Ahmed, Chief Engineers; BDC Chairmans, President MC Doda, Sarpanches, Panches, Ex-Legislators besides a large number of people.
In his address, the Union Minister said that central government aims at long-term initiatives for the equitable and sustainable development of Jammu and Kashmir. He said emphasis will be laid on raising the living standards of the people of every community.
He asked the people present during the programme to avail the benefits of various centrally sponsored schemes like Ayushman Bharat, PM-KISSAN, PMAY etc, besides directed the concerned to achieve 100%coverage under all the welfare programmes of the government.
During the programme, achievements like 100% implementation of DDUGJY and PMDP(R) in 252 villages of Jammu besides issuance of 42,000 KCC cards, issuance of soil health cards, effective implementation of PM-KISSAN in the district were highlighted.
Addressing the gathering, Advisor Bhatnagar appreciated the district administration for carrying out various welfare programmes successfully. He also ensured that the demands raised during the programme will be looked into and addressed accordingly.
The Advisor also highlighted the importance of Back to Village programme in addressing the basic issues of the people of rural areas at their door-steps.
Later, the Union Minister along with Advisor Bhatnagar inaugurated various stalls of line departments exhibiting their products and schemes to sensitize people of the area.
Earlier, the Union Minister laid foundation stone of various mega projects of power department. The projects whose foundation was laid included construction of 2×50 MVA, 220/33KV Grid station Nagrota, construction of 6.3MVA,33/11KV, Receiving station at Shazadpur Jammu under IPDS, construction of 2×10 MVA,33KV, Receiving station at Narandi Jammu under PMDP-U.
The Union Minister also e-inaugurated water sports centre at Pul Doda, up-gradation of electrical infrastructure of 12 Shrines in Jammu region, and augmented transformation capacity from 50MVA 100MVA at 132/33KV Grid station Pounichak in district Jammu.
The projects were inaugurated in presence of Advisor Bhatnagar, M Raju Secretary PDD, Yasha Mudgal MD JPDCL, and DDC Doda Dr Sagar D Doifode.
At the outset, DDC Doda Dr Sagar D Doifode presented a detailed report of progress on various developmental projects in the district under various heads like district plan, languishing projects, and Back to Village programme. He also informed about various district level initiatives like Zimedari project, Conduct of Free coaching classes etc.