JAMMU, Jan 18: Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice Abdul Haq Khan today said the government is committed to strengthen the democracy at grassroots level by holding Panchayat elections.
“All arrangements are being put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the polls and the formal notification in this regard will be issued soon by the competent authority,” the Minister said while winding up the debate on the Demand for Grants of the Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and allied Departments in the Legislative Assembly today.
The Minister enumerated in detail the achievements of Rural Development department during the past three years and outlined the future plans of the Department.
He said the department has laid a network of roads, bridges and culverts in the state under MGNREGA scheme that has changed the socio-economic status of the rural populace.
Stating that the improved implementation of RDD schemes has given flip to the rural economy, Minister said the department has done tremendously well in all facets of human endeavour and a silent revolution is taking place in rural areas.
He said the coalition government under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is relentlessly focusing on energizing rural economy as engine of growth and that the government is uplifting rural poor through a number of key initiatives related to rural housing & infrastructure, farm income, job creation and entrepreneurship promotion.
Abdul Haq said since the launch of MGNREGA in the State, Rural Development department has for the first time done some commendable works which has been acknowledged at national level and has also won many awards in last three years.
He said the department shunned its tradition of constructing lanes and drains on political considerations and instead concentrated on building a network of roads, culverts and other durable assets while providing job to lakhs of unemployed youths of the state. He said the department has witnessed several changes during last three years in its emphasis, approaches, strategies and programmes and has assumed a new dimension and perspectives as a consequence rural development has been richer and more meaningful only through the participation of people as people are now actively participating in Gram Sabhas.
He said during the last three years department has set short terms missions with an aim to create durable assets for the people of rural areas while jobs are created under MGNREGA. He said though the prime aim of the scheme is to create jobs but if simultaneously durable assets are created that would be blessing for the area. Minister said the department identified the rural connectivity a major issue in rural areas and hence took up the task to focus on rural connectivity in first two years. He said the department constructed 679 bridges, 2283 culverts, 31337 roads during past three years that speaks volumes about the success of the implementation of this scheme in rural J&K.
Minister said also took up the task to build sports infra in rural areas to help youth to showcase their talent and in this regard the department constructed 561 play fields. He said Government is making all out efforts to promote sports activities in the State by providing requisite facilities to youth.
JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar
Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.
Cong, BJP same when it comes to nat’l interest: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Apr 21: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said Congress and BJP are always on the same page when it comes to “national interest”.
She said whether it was Ghulam Nabi Azad’s transfer of forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board in 2008 or the 2013 hanging of Afzal Guru or the BJP’s poll plank of scrapping Article 370, both parties considered national interest to be of paramount importance.
Only regional parties like PDP were concerned about the interests of Jammu and Kashmir, she told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said no religion should be blamed for terror acts.
Health Ministry left with no vaccines for Haj pilgrims
New Delhi, Apr 21: The Health Ministry is grappling with paucity of meningitis vaccines for Haj pilgrims as the only firm manufacturing them was asked to stop production last year after contamination was detected in their oral polio vaccines.
According to sources in the Health Ministry, the only firm which manufactured the vaccines and provided it to the government, was asked to stop production of all human vaccines after type-2 polio virus contamination was detected in oral polio vaccines.
Following the ban on the Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company Biomed Pvt Ltd, the ministry is now looking for options to arrange the vaccines in time for vaccinating the pilgrims, the sources said.
Around 1.27 lakh people are expected to go for the annual Haj pilgrimage in July this year for which the ministry will have to arrange for at least 1.47 Lakh doses.
Extra vaccines are kept as some are rendered ineffective in the process of delivery to the states.
The Health Ministry is already in talks with two firms which import the vaccines, the sources said.
Those going to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of Umra or pilgrimage are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW 135) vaccine against meningitis, proving the vaccine was administered no more than 3 years ago and no less than 10 days before arrival in the country.
Biomed Pvt Ltd was a licensed indigenous manufacturer for Meningococcal Polysaccharide vaccine while two firms M/s Sanofi Pastuer India Pvt Lt, Mumbai and M/s GlaxoSmithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Mumbai are importers for quadrivalent Meningcoccal Meningitis Conjugate Vaccine in the country.
“Earlier with Biomed Pvt Ltd providing the vaccines, government spent Rs 250 for each vaccine but now if they have to buy from companies which import the vaccines, they may have to shell out around Rs 1500 per dose. The Health Ministry is already in talks with the two firms which import the vaccines,” the sources said.
Biomed Pvt Ltd was directed to stop the manufacture, sale and distribution of all human vaccines including the Quadrivalent Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine aftertype-2 polio virus was found in the sewage and stool samples in Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh in September last year.
The polio drops were sent for testing which confirmed that some of them were contaminated with type-2 virus, a strain believed to have been eradicated in 2016.
The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd., which was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes, was arrested after the central drug regulator filed a complaint and an FIR was registered.
The destruction of traces of type-2 polio virus was ordered by the central drug regulator to all manufacturers in 2016.
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