Strongly advocating dialogue to sort out issues, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today underscored the role of public representatives in redressing issues of the State and getting it out of difficulties.
Replying to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address in the Legislative Council today, the Chief Minister said the role of public representatives is very crucial in getting Jammu & Kashmir ahead on the road of development, peace and progress. She appreciated the concern of every section of political opinion in this regard.
Mehbooba Mufti said the need of the hour is to get the State out of the vicious cycle of violence. She appealed all shades of opinion in the State and the Country to come forward and play their role in getting Jammu& Kashmir out of uncertainties and bloodshed. “For how long shall we be seeing the dead bodies of our youth. The cycle has to end and for that everyone has to play its role,” she said in her appeal. She said she was not happy while saying that 14 thousand individual and community bunkers are being constructed for the border people because she wished the same money could have been used for building schools, hospitals and other community assets if there was no shelling on the borders.
Terming dialogue as the only way ahead, the Chief Minister said appointment of Dineshwar Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, as interlocutor last year was a major decision to undertake sustained dialogue in the State. She hoped that people from different shades of opinion would join the consultation process initiated by Sharma and it moves ahead with positivity. She said the mandate given to him is clear and categorical. “He has been appointed to carry forward the dialogue process in the State in a sustained manner”, she added.
Pitching strongly for re-opening all historic routes in the State, the Chief Minister said given its strategic local, Jammu & Kashmir can become a gateway to Central Asia. “We can’t change history. But let us use our geography to write a new history”, she told the House while making a case for opening of more routes across LoC.
The Chief Minister also stressed on the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan saying that it is Jammu & Kashmir which bears the brunt of hostility between the two neighbouring countries. “we have to go back to the era of Vajpayee ji who opened a new chapter of trust and friendship in which the Pak leadership vowed not to allow any anti Indian activity on their soil”, she said in her speech.
On the steps taken by her Government, the Chief Minister said in a major decision aimed at their social integration, her Government, immediately after taking over, started the process of withdrawal of cases against the youth from 2008 onwards. “Immediately after taking over we started the process but it got disrupted due the unrest of 2016. But now we have withdrawn the cases against youth from 2008 to 2017 amounting to more than nine thousand youth”, she informed the House.
Mehbooba Mufti said the aim of granting amnesty to them is to help these youth come back in the social network of the society and start their lives afresh.
Mehbooba Mufti said she has asked the Police to ensure that the local boys who have joined militant ranks are helped to come back to their families and friends. “It’s my endeavour to bring them back and see no harassment to them. Many have come back and we are encouraging even the parents of these youth in making efforts”, she told the House.
The Chief Minister said the pellet victims whose vision got impaired during the unfortunate turmoil of 2016 were given financial assistance and even jobs for their social inclusion and integration. She informed the House that these persons would be given special training in collaboration with a local institution so that they don’t have to depend on anybody for rest of their life.
Mehbooba Mufti said to empower people at grass root levels, her Government intends to hold elections to panchayats and urban local bodies and put in place a three tier governance apparatus in the State.
The Chief Minister said a large number of welfare schemes were launched by her Government but could not be highlighted because political scenario always dominates the scene in the State and the country. She said regularising the services of 60 thousand daily wagers was the largest public welfare step taken by any Government in recent times. She said it was satisfying to note that these workers won’t have to go from pillar to post now onwards for releasing their remunerations. “We have given them an honourable position, dignity and security though they were engaged by previous regimes”, the Chief Minister said.
Mehbooba Mufti said she was happy to see that Leader of opposition in the lower House praised the good work done by her Party during its rule from 2002-2005. She said during that tenure the people of the State, its Government and the Central Government, all were on the same page. Otherwise, she said, earlier, people would talk of bombardments, filling the jails and other things which ran contrary to the aspirations of the people of the State.
The Chief Minister said sensing the requirements of the labour class, who don’t have any job or life security, the Government conceived and launched a welfare scheme for around 3 lakh workers in unorganised sector in terms of accidental deaths, injuries or normal deaths. Named as Muhafiz, she added, the scheme envisages scholarships and educational incentives to the wards of these workers. Similarly, she said, the widow pension was enhanced and even the scooty scheme for college girls has so picked up that the demand is coming from all across the State. She said a number of welfare measures were taken for the benefit of employees of the State Government.
The Chief Minister said cadre review of Kashmir Police Service was undertaken, ex gratia amount for the cops was increased by three times, backlog of SRO-43 of around 1000 cases was cleared and quotas for promotions in constabulary were earmarked for their timely career progression, she informed the Upper House.
The Chief Minister said transparency in recruitments is the major takeaway in all the selections made so far. She said Government is taking steps to provide as much jobs as possible to youth in the Government. She said more than 10 thousand vacancies were filled last year by the PSC and SSRB and other recruiting agencies. “There has been no interference in these selections. Recently I heard 75 boys from Karnah got selected in a routine selection process which shows the level of transparency in recruitments,” she added. She said her Government is committed to provide corruption free administration to people and referred to the sacking of some 50-60 employees previously on charges of proven corruption.
Mehbooba Mufti detailed the steps taken by her Government for improving the educational infrastructure in the State, qualitatively and quantitatively. She said more colleges are being opened in the State and preference would be given to the constituencies which have no colleges so far. She said a record more than six thousand kilometres of road length was macadamised in the State for better and improved connectivity.
She said Government took action against the doctors of SKIMS indulging in private practice when it received complaints in this regard. Jammu: While defending her government’s decision of suspending three doctors of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and attachment of Director, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said that her government was committed to eradicate corruption.
CM said that private practice by SKIMS doctors was shameful. “We took lenient view about Director because it was happening under his nose. I just attached him, didn’t terminate or suspend him,” she said. Terming the hue and cry by Opposition over the issue as uncalled for, Mehbooba said her government is committed to eradicate corruption.
The Chief Minister said youth engagement remains the focus of her Government and efforts are being made for honing their skills and capacity building for a more constructive role in the development of the State.
During her hour long address, the Chief Minister dwelt in detail on the major initiatives taken by Government in the fields of Agriculture, Horticulture, Health, Public Works, water supply, health and other areas.
Earlier, members participated in the discussion on Motion of Thanks which was returned after the reply of the Chief Minister.