People’s participation drives growth in J&K: Murmu

August 04, 2020
Jammu and Kashmir's Lieutenant Gov. Girish Chandra Murmu
Jammu and Kashmir's Lieutenant Gov. Girish Chandra Murmu

NEW DELHI — Jammu and Kashmir's Lieutenant Gov. Girish Chandra Murmu revealed that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has witnessed tremendous development in the last year while stressing the new highways, state-of-art hospital facilities, educational institutions and resorts coming up in different parts of the Union Territory are testimony to this growth.

Many high-profile projects, long-delayed first by violence and then by the coronavirus epidemic, are now underway with great speed and determination, the J&K administration states, adding, these projects will link far-flung villages with the mainstream, connect millions of people to better opportunities and prosperity and transform Kashmir into a sought after destination for tourists as well as entrepreneurs.

Murmu was speaking to Times Now recently, a year after the government of India had revoked the special status of the erstwhile state and also announced its division into two Union Territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir, on Aug. 5, 2019.

Emphasizing the participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in this development, Murmu said lots of changes in the Union Territory have taken place with the extraordinary participation of the people. He further stated that the administration prioritized the development of the region with youth-oriented programs.

The focus of Jammu and Kashmir administration has been on youth and economic revival. It has turned its attention on social sector development and skill development and employment. The officials also said discriminatory and unjust state laws were either repealed or modified and more than 170 central laws were made applicable which include progressive laws like the right to protect SC/STs, forest dwellers, juveniles and the aged.

The domicile law was implemented to protect people's interest and certificates were issued for eligible people so that the doors to employment in government jobs would be opened to them. In the welfare sector, the administration gave utmost priority to social security, reported the New Indian Express.

To ease the lives of people residing in Srinagar, the government has completed various infrastructure projects from 2013 to 2019, including a two-tube flyover from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh in the city, according to ANI.

It reported that work on the Rs300 crore flyover, which has eased traffic woes of the people started in 2013. The project to construct a length of 2.40 km in four-lane with an aggregate length of four km including accesses benefits the population of Srinagar, apart from the floating population from other districts. The project opened to the public in August 2019.

Similarly, the revetment along Jhelum riverfront, which was started in 2015, with a total cost of Rs358 crores, has been instrumental in mitigating the flood situation of Srinagar city, which usually has witnessed floods because of overflowing of embankments

Addressing the urban population, the government completed a project for Rs75.64 crores to solve the major issue of waterlogging in various areas of Srinagar. The project has been instrumental to provide relief to at least 21,000 households including commercial areas of Lal Chowk and Indra Nagar.

Focusing on education, the administration added 50 new degree colleges, the largest number in 70 years, besides setting up of seven medical colleges. In order to augment the higher education infrastructure, the government began 19 projects, with a cost of Rs66.52 crores, in various degree colleges of Srinagar. Most of the projects have been completed. The aim of this project was to enhance the intake capacity of these colleges with special reference to professional courses.

The construction for several new facilities at the Government Degree College in Ganderbal began recently. "To boost the education sector in the Ganderbal district, construction has begun in full swing with the support and help of funds issued by the central government,” officials said.

Momin Meraj, an ex-student of the college said that the new infrastructure would be very beneficial for the coming batches. "I came to the college campus to collect my passing certificate and was excited to see the changes. New buildings are being built everywhere and everything looks brand new. It used to be very difficult earlier and I'm glad that the new batch won't have to face the problems we faced," Meraj told ANI

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Iqbal stated that the people are happy to have been able to start the "Back to Village" program last year. In the program, they analyze the reports from the visiting officers and identify the most important projects that would benefit the whole community, he said.

"The center gave our district an additional five crore rupees for these public-oriented work. We have been further told that if we need more funds for these projects they will be allocated to us in the future. We are very glad to have so many ongoing centrally-sponsored schemes," Iqbal told ANI.

The growing synergy between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the administration is providing a new drive towards growth. In addition, a fall in stone-pelting incidents and continued crackdown on separatists are key factors of a decreasing trend of violence

There has been barely any “bandh” (stoppage) call during the last one year by separatist groups, which have virtually become non-functional after the government arrested their main leaders, reported Economic Times.

Giving the statistics of the declining trend of violence, the officials said there were 532 incidents of stone-pelting in 2018, 389 in 2019, and 102 in 2020. The incidents of stone-pelting were down by 27 percent in 2019 in comparison to 2018 and 73 percent in 2020.

The government also improved the connectivity network of Srinagar by completing the long-pending five bridges within the city. To strengthen the power infrastructure in Srinagar city, projects namely Gas Turbine at Tengpora, Harwan, Khanyar, 132 KV transmission line, augmentation of 100 MVA Grid Station at Khanmoh and Cheshmashahi and augmentation/providing of sub-station at a cost of Rs 178.19 crores.

The projects mentioned above have been taken in hand with the concept to address the power deficit in winters and also in summers. The projects will cover not only to Srinagar city but will also provide power supply to the adjoining districts. Projects amounting to Rs 148.37 crores have been completed to increase drinking water availability and strengthen the water distribution system in Srinagar.

During this year, the Indian government also introduced a unique market intervention scheme under which remunerative prices were paid through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) portal, and transportation was by the central procuring agency to help and stabilize the apple market. This move helps people counter the terrorists’ threat to apple growers against plucking the fruit from orchid, the officials said.

The Kashmiri youth have also availed of the Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) scheme to create new opportunities while also contributing to efforts to curb the spread of COVID. Zahoor Ahmad feels 'fulfilled.' As the COVID-19 crisis gripped the Kashmir Valley, his garment-manufacturing unit, nestled in Pulwama, manufactured thousands of facemasks for the people of the region, reported ANI.

"When this virus came, we made about 80,000 face masks after the district administration placed an order with us," said Ahmad. Ahmad's spirit of 'help your neighbor' is inspiring. The Khadi Village Industries Board (KVIB) helped him establish the factory, where other youth also work.

After the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, several governmental schemes have reached Kashmir and benefitted many like Ahmad, who borrowed a loan under PMEGP. One of the flagship schemes of the government, PMEGP is a credit-linked subsidy program aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through the establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth.

In another significant contribution in the fight against COVID-19, youth trained under Pradhan Mantri Kushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) are preparing masks and PPEs at a local institute in Jammu and Kashmir's Ganderbal district. The institute that is an undertaking of 'She Hope Society for Women Entrepreneurs', train youth in tailoring so that they can earn their living without being dependent.

The administration believes that without focusing on the people or their participation any grandeur plans for development would be stillborn. That’s why, there has been an emphasis on a plethora of projects that are people-oriented and, which, as a spinoff has been benefiting the people. The year has seen new projects with a new level of people’s participation and this is sure to generate greater employment opportunities for skilled as well as unskilled workers besides creating a sense of partnership among the communities participating in the projects. — Agencies

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