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Centre, State on same page on extending healing touch: CM

Asserting that dialogue was the “core philosophy” of her government, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Friday said she has been emphasising on this aspect for long and now an interlocutor has been appointed for the purpose.

She also said the Centre and the State were on the same page when it comes to extending “healing touch to the people”.

Replying to the discussion on Demand of Grants for the departments under her charge, the Chief Minister said she hoped that all shades of opinion in the State would realise the emerging situation in Jammu & Kashmir and the heavy toll continued violence is taking.

She expressed optimism that they would join the dialogue process initiated by Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma to cut through the unending cycle of violence and uncertainty in the State.

On her efforts of extending “healing touch”, the Chief Minister said her government took the initiative of withdrawal of cases against more than 9700 youth against whom cases of stone pelting were pending since 2008.

She appealed these youth and their parents to go back to their studies and jobs and take benefit of this amnesty adding that based on the “positive feedback of this gesture”, her government would also review similar cases against more youth. She said that she was happy to say that on this subject both Central and State governments are on the same page.

Mehbooba Mufti said her government is keen that laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are withdrawn and for that conducive atmosphere is created.

She regretted that as the violence kicks up the corresponding footprints of the “security forces”, unfortunately, also go up, and appealed the people to give peace a chance to see the good changes take place on the ground.

She said political outreach is must to get people out of despair and asserted that the mainstream political parties have a major role in this.

On the recent Shopian incident, the Chief Minister reiterated that Army as an institution has a “great reputation” but when someone commits a wrong the legal process has to follow.

She said government has constituted a SIT into the case of death of a young girl at Hiranagar and even the case has been handed over to Crime Branch for expeditious probe.

Once again pitching for increased cross-LoC cooperation in sectors like tourism, environment, disaster management and related areas , she asked all shades of opinion to join hands in bringing a pleasant change in the State.

The Chief Minister said she wishes people on the two sides of the divide would cooperate with each other towards prosperity of the State and went on to remind the House of the earthquake of 2005 during which the need for such cooperation was felt so that rescue operations would have been carried more promptly.

Advocating opening of more routes along the LoC in the State, Mehbooba Mufti said recently a group of legislators met her and expressed the desire to visit Sharda Peth across the LoC.

She said she was happy to see a media report recently that a court there had directed proper upkeep of the said shrine.

She said she has said it a number of times that Jammu & Kashmir is strategically placed and is rich in natural resources. “Why can’t this feature be utilised to derive maximum benefits to the state and the country?” she asked.

On the developmental front, the Chief Minister said she has directed adoption of a three-pronged strategy of connectivity, productivity and employability while taking up developmental projects in the State.

She said her government has undertaken financial closure of the developmental projects which would otherwise keep on lingering for years together. She said Rs 200 crore worth drinking water schemes are being projected for NABARD funding.

Mehbooba Mufti said the projects taken up by the government for execution are being fully funded and their time of completion is fixed at their launch time. She said employees were engaged without salaries in the past and this practice has been put to an end. Work on five Medical Colleges, she said, is apace and staff has also been created so that these colleges are operationalized as soon as these are completed.

Rejecting the charge of some opposition members of undermining the local MLAs during her public outreach programmes, the Chief Minister said wherever she went during these programmes funds were released irrespective of the political affiliations of the applicants.

During these programmes, she said, people demanded works of immediate nature like de silting of canals, raising of embankments etc. to be undertaken for which funds were made available while as the bigger projects like colleges etc. are already being executed under various schemes.

Mehbooba Mufti said one of the biggest achievements of her government has been that all the recruitments in police and civil administration have been made in “a transparent manner” and through a merit-driven process.

She said cadre review of various services in the State is being done to remove stagnation and induce motivation among the officers.

The cut motions which were moved by the members were withdrawn after reply by the Chief Minister.

Later, the House passed the grants amounting to Rs 9449.19 crore for the departments under the charge of the Chief Minister with a voice vote.

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