Srinagar, Dec 12: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Wednesday that corruption is the single biggest problem that has retarded economic development in the state.
Addressing the media after releasing a compendium of developmental and administrative works done in the state during Governor’s rule, Malik said: “Corruption is the single biggest problem of the state.
“Those in power here, be it political, administrative or business power, live like Mughal emperor Jahangir.
“The poor youths who go with their ponies to earn a living during the Amarnath Yatra do so without even wearing warm clothes.
“When I said the state’s biggest single problem was corruption, a senior politician said I was bringing a bad name to the state.
“It is in fact the rampart corruption that brings a bad name to the state and it needs to be weeded out.”
Malik said his administration had pro-actively been pursuing an anti-corruption agenda.
“The state vigilance organization has been given more powers by converting it into the state Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“This empowerment has already started showing results. We recently had a Commissioner level bureaucrat in our net.
“More punitive action against corrupt officials is going to be taken in the days to come,” Malik said.
Calling “successful” conduct of civic polls a “landmark achievement”, Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Wednesday said the bodies would get Rs 1,200 crore and Rs 2,300 crore per annum, respectively.
Announcing the achievements of governor-led administration, Malik said conducting of civic polls was for empowering of people and devolution of power.
He said the elections conducted in a span of three months were “free and fair”.
“Transfer of funds, functions and functionaries to the local bodies has been approved. Sarpanchs will get Rs 2,500 honorarium per head per month, while Panchs will get Rs 1,000,” he said.
“The total funds for civic bodies would be Rs 3,500 crore annually.”
The government has termed the initiatives of the governor as ‘Mission Delivering Development’ and ‘Mission Good Governance’.
For devolution of powers, the government approved Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill-2018, he said.
“Mayors/Deputy Mayors of Municipal Corporations and Presidents/Vice-Presidents of Municipal Councils/Municipal Committees elected through secret ballot Amendments made in the Panchayati Raj Act-1989 to devolve powers to Panchayats, ensure participative decision-making functioning and monitoring of 19 Departments devolved to Panchayats. Social audit of government schemes and programs to be conducted by Panchayats,” he announced.
He said bottlenecks have been removed for implementation of Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).
“Long pending state level issues have been resolved. Land for two new AIIMS, IIT, IIM have been handed over. Work started on Ring Road Jammu. Land for IIM out-campus identified in Kashmir.”
“Final instalment of Rs 110.74 cr released by the Govt of India under PMDP for upgrading the healthcare infrastructure in JK ensuring full release of the allocation of Rs 900 crore under this sector.”
He said Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Corporation (JKIDFC) was constituted to raise Rs 8,000 crore for development.
“Major thrust to infrastructure, particularly languishing projects, some of which have waited for over 20 years.”
He said 559 water supply schemes, costing Rs 965 crore approved to ensure assured drinking water supply
“Discussion initiated with Asian Development Bank for $150 million fresh loan for new development projects.”
MoU has been signed between J&K and Punjab government for execution of Shahpur-Kandi Dam Project, he said.
“J&K will also get 20% electricity from Shahpur-Kandi, Thein Dams.”
He said that Ratle Hydroelectric project has been cleared for implementation, which was hanging for over 5 years
He said J&K would get its first-ever Gas Pipeline
He said 175 declarations/notifications involving 8770 Kanals of land for various important developmental projects like roads, bridges, and transmission lines have been issued.
Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Act was amended to further empower the Council, he said.
Funds earmarked for development works Ladakh region to be released through the Councils, the governor announced.
For administrative reforms, he said fact-finding committees have been constituted to go into areas suspected of having transparency issues.
For reformation in recruitments, he said, interviews have been abolished for many posts, as selection would be made only through common merit-based exam
“Selection of 958 Medical Officers was the fastest ever selection process completed by JKPSC in just 42 days. Selection process for 3,700 medicos and paramedical staff for five New Medical Colleges on fast-track basis,” he said.
He said a high-level committee headed by Advisor to Governor has been constituted to address service-related grievances of government employees.
Major initiatives taken by Guv during past five months
* Rs 80000 crores PMDP fast-tracked
* J&K to get first-ever Gas Pipeline
* New Power Corridor to J&K
* New rail link from Baramulla to Kupwara
* J&K Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill-2018 approved
* Generating Employment – 42211 New Posts Created
* Power to every home
* Housing for All
* Ease of Doing Business
* J&K Trade & Export Policy
‘No political agenda, aim is development of entire J&K’
Jammu, Dec 12: Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Wednesday said he does not have any political agenda and was working strictly within the ambit of the constitution.
Interacting with media at a press conference here, Malik said he was not trying to encroach upon the political space in Kashmir.
He was replying to a question about the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti accusing him of encroaching upon the political space in the state.
Malik said he was in J&K not to make the political parties happy but to accelerate the development of the state and remove “genuine grievances” of the common people.
He said he endeavour was to reach the common people and ensure a “balanced development” of the state’s three regions.
Governor said, “I tried to streamline the issuance of the bona fide resident certificates to permanent residents of J&K but had to shelve the process because of the hue and cry raised by certain political parties. Complaints of inordinate delay in issuance of these certificates had been received from the affected people.”
Malik said corruption in J&K was more than in any other state and tackling the menace was a challenge before him.
Development of the state has been hurdled due to corrupt practices and it was an “opportune time” for the political leadership and bureaucracy to introspect, he said.
“The influential people have become rich whereas the common people have been suffering because of the malice,” he said.
He said that among the major initiatives of his administration towards good governance was the establishment of the first ever Anti-Corruption Bureau, making amendments to make the J&K Vigilance Commission Act 2011 more vibrant and effective and amendment of the Prevention of Corruption Act to provide it more teeth.
Malik was hopeful that a new leadership would be churned out of the Panchayat and municipal elections that have successfully been completed in the state after a gap of several years. These elections were held to empower the people and not to tinker with the Article 35A as was alleged by some political parties.
He regretted that J&K was not being projected in the right perspective by the national media and at times the reports were “distorted” without bringing out the truth.
Bottlenecks have been removed and 1296 development projects languishing for as long as 20 years have been approved for completion with an investment of Rs 2700 crore. Projects worth about Rs 6000 crores will be sanctioned in the next two months.
Malik said that in an effort to introduce transparency, the interview system for recruitment process has been abolished and 1000 doctors have been recruited through the fast-track system within 42 days.
He said that work on building bunkers for residents of areas near the Line of Control (LoC) in the Rajouri and Poonch districts will be taken in hand soon.
3 militants killed in Baramulla gunfight
Srinagar, Jan 23: Three militants were killed in an encounter between militants and government forces at Binner village of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday.
Quoting official sources said that three militants had been killed while searches were still underway.
The slain trio was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba militants. “They were identified as Shoaib Akhoon of Khanpora, Mosin Mushtaq of Qazihamam and Nissar Darzi of Jamia Mohalla Old Town,” the news agency quoted an anonymous army officer saying.
Earlier, SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain also confirmed the exchange of firing between militants and joint team of police and other government forces in the area.
A police spokesman said based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Binner, forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area.“As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” the spokesman said.
“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” he said.
“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter,” he added.
“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” the spokesman said.
Six militants buried after multiple funerals
Srinagar, Jan 23: Thousands of people on Wednesday participated in the multiple funerals of six militants, including the brother of an IPS officer, in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir.
Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants–Shamsul Haq Mengnoo son of Mohammad Rafiq of Dragad Shopian, Aamir Suhail Bhat son of Abdul Aziz of Chidipora Chitragam Shopian, Shoaib Ahmad Shah son of Ghulam Rasool of Shermal Shopian–were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Shirmal area of Zainapora, Wednesday.
Shamsul Haq had left studies at Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) at government college here in Zakura campus and joined militant ranks in May last year. His elder brother, Inam-ul Haq, is a 2012-batch IPS officer and presently posted in North East.
Eyewitnesses said that a large number of people participated in funeral prayers of the slain militants at their respective villages.
At Chidipora, there were minor clashes between government forces and youth. The government forces fired few rounds in air but there were no reports about any injury to anyone.
Apart from them, funeral prayers were also offered for three militants of Al-Badr militant outfit— Sabzar Ahmad son of Ali Mohammad Mir of Lassipora Pulwama, Syed Rabani son of Mohammad Hussain of Nazneenpora Shopian and Towseef Ahmad Itoo son of Abdul Aziz of Nowpora Payeen Pulwama. The trio from were killed in a gunfight Hapatnar area in Budgam on Monday.
At Shoaib’s and Syed Rabani’s funerals at Shermal and Nazneenpora Shopian, some militants appeared and offered gun salutes to the slain, reports said.
Reports said that multiple funerals were offered to the slain. Later the slain were laid to rest at their respective native places. A spontaneous shutdown continued on the second consecutive day in Shopian and Pulwama to mourn the killings. Shops and other business establishments are closed while traffic was off the road in the twin districts where internet also remained suspended by the authorities. (GNS)
Srinagar grenade attacks:Six arrests made so far: DGP
Srinagar, Jan 23: Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh Wednesday said that six persons have been arrested so far in connection with the recent grenade attacks in summer capital, Srinagar.
Singh was quoted saying so by news agency Kashmir News Service, that “one person was arrested with the help of Delhi police.”
“Militants were planning to hurl more grenades in public places, but the police successfully busted their module,” he told the news agency.
About the January 26 function, the DGP said all the preparations have been done in Srinagar and other districts of the valley. “Militant organisations are hell-bent to disrupt January 26 function. They have been making such attempts in the past as well by throwing grenades to discourage and pressurize people,” he was quoted saying.
R-Day event: Frisking intensified, traffic diversions in city from today
Srinagar, Jan 23: The security has been beefed up across Kashmir valley especially in the summer capital Srinagar in view of the Republic Day (January 26) functioned to be held here. All the entry and exit points under close security vigil while some important roads suspended for vehicular movement.
ADGP Law and Order Muneer Ahmed Khan told KNS that the security arrangements have been finalised for the Republic Day function. “We have made all the arrangements and only the drill is to be followed,” he said.
Asked in wake of the grenade attacks if there is a security concern, Khan said all the necessary arrangements have been done and full-proof security apparatus is in place. “All important entry and exit points across the city are manned by security forces and other security equipments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the traffic police has suspended traffic on some key city roads causing inconvenience to people.
The City Traffic Police said that due to security reasons the traffic movement from Sonawar upto Ram Munshi Bagh Road stretch including Dalgate-Ram Munshi Bagh, Radio Kashmir-Ram Munshi Bagh & Gupkar-Ram Munshi Bagh will remain suspended on 24th and 26th of January-2019 from early morning hours upto 1400 hours.
The motorists intending to travel from South Kashmir-Pantha Chowk towards City Centre shall adopt Bypass road stretch and vice versa. Similarly the motorists intending to travel South Kashmir from City Centre and Down Town areas shall adopt Batamaloo-Tengpora-Bypass or Rambagh-Natipora road stretch to reach Pantha Chowk. Any inconvenience caused is highly regretted.
POLL TACTICS: Parties resort to rhetoric, rejig undone manifestos
Srinagar, Jan 23: With J&K administration gearing up for the elections, the political parties in the state have again resorted to their age-old technique: use unaccomplished manifestos with a new twist to woo the voters.
Before 2014, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti would visit militants’ families.
In their manifesto then, the party promised that if brought to power, it would initiate dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat, and also demand an end to the killings in Kashmir.
The PDP was highly vocal then about revocation of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
Mehbooba, during her election campaign in 2014, once said the people of Kashmir will never sell their conscience to support the BJP.
But then she allied with the same party and at one point in time during 2016 uprising tried to justify civilian killings with her infamous ‘toffee or milk remark’.
Fast forward to 2019 and we see Mehbooba trying to weave the same story: visiting militant families, calling for Indo-Pak dialogue, talks with the separatist groups and end to civilian killings.
Recently, she even said that PDP would seek return of power projects, something her party’s manifesto read in 2014 as well.
Ask PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir, he says their stand about dialogue ‘has not changed’. “Whether in or out of power, our stand is clear. Talks shall be held with Pakistan and Hurriyat to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir,” Mir told The Kashmir Monitor.
Mir said it was during Mufti Sayeed’s tenure “when peace returned to the valley”.
“We even formed the government with the BJP based on an agenda. Unfortunately, it could not finish its term,” he said.
Mehbooba Mufti played to the gallery when scores of civilians were killed during the National Conference-Congress government in 2010.
In 2016, National Conference (NC) leader, Omar Abdullah, returned her the favour.
Take NC as a case in point. Its repeated promise of the restoration of Autonomy is yet again being glossed up and presented to Kashmir electorate these days.
Party president, Farooq Abdullah recently urged Government of India (GoI) to invite Hurriyat and Pakistan for talks and asserted that if voted to power, his government, on very first day, would set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to probe the killings in the state.
General Secretary of the NC, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said restoration of Autonomy has always been the party’s agenda.
“We always advocate for talks with Pakistan and Hurriyat. The AFSPA has to be revoked and security forces have to be pulled out from civilian areas,” Sagar said.
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