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.
Bukhari’s ‘Apni Party’ constitution in making
Srinagar, Feb 23: Former minister Altaf Bukhari and his team are in the process of framing the constitution of ‘Apni Party’, the third front being formed to kick-start the stalled political process in Kashmir, courtesy Centre’s detention of major political players.
“The draft constitution has entered its final stage and is awaiting approval. We will declare our party anytime as all the formalities have been completed,” Bukhari said in an exclusive chat with The Kashmir Monitor.
‘Apni Party’ is meant to work as a third front to resume political activities in Kashmir at a time when three former CMs and other major political leaders are facing PSAs and detention since August when J&K simultaneously lost its statehood and special status.
Bukhari, a former PDP Minister, has been busy lately in garnering support of those political leaders, who managed to remain free, possibly in lieu of their silence.
On Saturday, Bukhari met BJP National General Secretary, Ram Madhav in Gulmarg, who, interestingly, a day after said that he wants the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for normal political activity to resume.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, senior Congress leader and former MLA Bandipora Usman Majeed resigned from the party to join hands with Bukhari.
Besides Usman, Bukhari’s team, so far, includes former MLA Ghulam Hassan Mir, and former PDP leaders Dilwar Mir, Javaid Beigh, Noor Muhammad Shiekh, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, and Abdul Raheem Rather.
The buzz of a ‘third front’ was further confirmed when in January these former MLAs met Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and envoys of 15 countries during the latter’s visit to Kashmir.
Bukhari said his party will differentiate itself from the mainstream parties through its “agenda of working to solve the issues of people”.
“After August 5, people lost their hopes as economy, development took a back seat. Our party will raise issues like providing domicile rights over land and jobs, releasing of political leadership from detention, protecting J&K Bank’s autonomy,” he said.
“We are not hereditary politicians but common people. Apni Party is a party run by common people for common people. When we thought of its name, we considered interests of all the regions,” he said.
Congress leader Majeed also confirmed his association with Bukhari and said they are going to work together “for betterment of people.”
“Yes, I have resigned from Congress as the party has a specific agenda which is no different from that of BJP. I just needed a free space to work for the betterment of people and decided to quit the party. We are many former MLAs who are with Altaf Sahab,” he said.
Usman quits Cong to join Bukhari
Srinagar, Feb 23: Congress leader and former Bandipora legislator Usman Abdul Majid Sunday announced his resignation from the party.
Usman is one of the nearly two dozen leaders who have joined hands to structure a new political podium in Jammu and Kashmir led by former minister Altaf Bukhari, which would likely be formed in the first week of March.
Usman has announced his resignation during a convention in Bandipora on Sunday.
“Yes, I am resigning from the party because Congress is no different agenda as it has its own particular agenda. I want to work freely for my people,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Asked if he was joining Altaf’s upcoming party, Usman said: “Yes I am with Altaf Sa’ab.”
Usman said that he will send his resignation to the party on Monday.
Addressing the convention, Usman lashed out at Congress saying it was is “because of it that the people of Kashmir have been suffering from last 70-years.”
“This party is behind the sufferings of Kashmir people,” he said.
Referring to Altaf Bukhari’s ‘Apni Party, Usman said the new party will be floated very soon.
“Regional parties including National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party misled people here over self-rule and autonomy. People in Kashmir are suffering because of their misdeeds,” he said.
He accused Congress of ‘double speak’ and claimed the party leadership was never sincere to the people of the Jammu and Kashmir.
“They would speak one language in Delhi, other at Jammu and quite contrasting in Srinagar,” he said.
Usman said like-minded people have already joined hands for the new party.
“The party which is being floated is not backed by BJP. Linking our new regional force with BJP is totally baseless and concocted,” he said.
Want normal political activity to resume: Madhav
Srinagar, Feb 23: BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said that everyone in his party wants the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for “normal political activity” to resume.
“Keeping the situation of J&K in mind, the government has invoked certain Sections for the detention of some leaders there. When the situation improves and things normalise, everybody will be allowed to do their political activity. We all want the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for normal political activity to resume,” Madhav told ANI.
Ram Madhav’s response comes days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that he was praying for the early release of the three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir who are currently under detention.
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