Govt committed to build strong JK: Lt Governor

Jammu: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has extended his heartiest greetings and best wishes to all on the auspicious occasion of 73rd Republic Day.

In his address, the Lt Governor said that the Republic Day is the day of introspection, an occasion when every citizen has to remind himself of his duty to protect and further nourish the ideals and achievements of the nation.

The Lt Governor paid homage and respect to the great men and freedom fighters of India, who sacrificed their lives for the country.

“I pay tribute to the Jawans and officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army and other Central Security Forces, who continue to make supreme sacrifice for unity and integrity of the motherland. While saluting their valor and sacrifices, we should also take a pledge to eradicate terrorism and terror ecosystem perpetuated by the neighboring country, said the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor observed that the “central government under the strong and able leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the bold and decisive step of breaking the shackles erected in the path of development of Jammu and Kashmir. After the historic transformative changes in August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir is poised to become the latest success story among Indian states and a model of Socio-Economic development for the country. The government is committed to build a strong Jammu and Kashmir and we will continue to march ahead with Mantra of 4 P’s — Peace, Progress, Prosperity and People first. We are determined to ensure every single citizen of UT enjoys prosperous and peaceful life.

The Lt Governor highlighted the co-existence of various religions enriching and diversifying Jammu and Kashmir’s cultural heritage and making the Union Territory an example of immortal organic composite Indian culture.

Giving details of the reforms made in the last thirty months, the Lt Governor said that government is developing Jammu and Kashmir as the piece of Indian culture and ethos that has the capability to provide opportunity to industries to compete, connect and collaborate with its readily available abundant resources. “ Despite challenges, efforts are underway for turning Jammu and Kashmir into a preferred destination for industrial investment and opportunities”, he added.

“J&K is fast moving towards becoming a powerful and self-reliant Union Territory by improving the standard of living of farmers, youth, women, laborers and every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. The industrial revolution started just a year ago has achieved much more than what the Union Territory had clocked in the last 72 years. After the implementation of new industrial scheme under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Hon’ble Home Minister Amit Shah, investment proposals worth Rs 48,000 crores have been received, observed the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor said that the land use change policy which was a major impediment for the industrial development of the region has been simplified which is likely to attract more investment. However, the people are being misled on this issue too.

The Lt Governor assured the “land owners and farmers that all these changes have been effected with the sole aim of empowering them. There is a section in the society which has always been misleading the people about imaginary issues like demographic change, and on this pretext the most hardworking and needy class of people had been deprived of alienated their own land, or even using it as per their wishes or requirements, he added.

The Lt Governor reiterated Administration’s commitment to promoting local businesses in real estate sector. Jammu and Kashmir recently hosted the first-ever historic Real Estate summit in December 2021, in which investment proposals worth Rs 18,300 crores were finalized.

The Lt Governor highlighted the investments attracted by J&K in the recently concluded Dubai Expo. The Global investors exhibited keen interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir, and investment proposals worth Rs. 3000 crore were finalized in a short span of two days only.

In total, a target of investment proposal worth Rs 70,000 crores has been achieved within a year, the Lt Governor added.

Jammu and Kashmir Private Industrial Estate Development Policy has been introduced, which incorporates mechanisms for Public-Private Partnership in the Industrial Sector.

The Lt Governor spoke about the massive public outreach program conducted across Jammu and Kashmir with as many as 73 Union Ministers and various Parliamentary Committees visiting all the districts for public interactions and gathering grass-root level feedback on government policies.

Giving details of the Government’s efforts in employment generation in the last one and a half year, the Lt Governor said that about11,000 appointments have been made in various government departments in a fair and transparent manner, which was unprecedented in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. For the first time, children from the disadvantaged and poor sections have secured jobs on the basis of merit, turning their dreams into reality.

“Further, 20,323 additional posts at various levels have been identified and referred to the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board for recruitment. Besides, 1850 appointments have been made in J&K Bank at various levels in a fair and transparent manner. As many as 1,37,870 youths have been provided assistance in their entrepreneurial ventures under various self-employment generation schemes and programmes, he added.

The Lt Governor underscored the initiatives taken for channelizing the enormous potential of our youth and ensuring their participation in the process of governance. 4,500 youth clubs have been set up covering all Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies in the UT through which 63,000 youths have been connected. Playfields have been set up in 4000 Panchayats. More than one and a half dozen job-oriented programs have been started through the dedicated initiative of Mission Youth along-with Skill Development Programmes aimed at their future and sustainable livelihood, he added.

The Lt Governor also highlighted several important reforms undertaken to ensure transparency, accountability in the administration establishing fear-free, corruption-free system of governance besides introducing principles of financial prudence which have revolutionized the project implementation and enhanced financial inclusion and social equity. Every single penny of the government exchequer is now spent on welfare of the people, he added.

“No work is being allotted without following tendering process; no bill is passed without geotagging and physical verification. Project delay which was earlier considered a norm is now a thing of the past. Against 9229 projects completed in 2018 at a cost of Rs. 67,000 crores, around 21,943 projects have been completed at a cost of Rs. 63,000 crore only in the current year. This year, we are hopeful that three-times more projects will be completed, said the Lt Governor.

BEAMS Empowerment Portal has enabled the access of the common citizen of J&K to monitor any project and expenditure being incurred in their respective area. Information of all 35,000 projects currently implemented is available on this portal, the Lt Governor added.

J&K has become the first Union Territory/State in the country to have District Good Governance Index for assessing the efficiency of public delivery system at district level and fostering transparency and accountability in the basic unit of governance and fulfilling the aspirations of citizens. Best practices are being identified in each district for replication in others, the Lt Governor said.

The Lt Governor threw light on the efforts made by the government towards building a strong, prosperous and self-reliant society and meeting the needs of the common citizens through people-centric policies.

Participative policy-making in government is being ensured through special initiatives like Awam Ki Awaaz and LG’s Mulaqaat, which also have inbuilt on-spot grievance redressal mechanism. 150 services have been added to the feedback system for enhancing administrative efficiency. The linking of 150 services with online public Feedback, besides linking EMPOWERMENT with similar system and DGGI (District Good Governance Index) reflects our resolve for Citizen Centric Governance and People First Policy. We hope to provide Governance that is able to fulfill the expectations of its people, said the Lt Governor.

While highlighting the milestones achieved in power generation, distribution and transmission sector to improve the power sector, the Lt Governor said that “this year we are going to add capacity of 3,015 MVA to our Power Transmission System as against the capacity addition of only 670 MVA last year. Likewise, in Power Distribution Sector, a capacity of 1286 MVA is being added this year as against the capacity addition of 690 MVA last year. In comparison to last year, the Kashmir Valley is getting 22 percent more electricity supply owing to improved infrastructure. We have tried to provide adequate electricity to the entire Union Territory during the recent winters and are also hopeful to provide more electricity to Jammu Division during the forthcoming summer season, he added.

Under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister, an amount of rupees one lakh crore is being spent on road and tunnel infrastructure. Jammu and Kashmir, which once stood at 10th, 11th position in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), has secured the third rank in the country. Till the year 2018, on an average, 1500 to 1600 kms of road length used to be constructed each year; the same has now more than doubled to 3200 kilometers. Similarly, around 2200 to 2300 kilometers of road length used to be macadamized each year which also has more than doubled to 5137 kilometers. We will achieve the target of record 8000 km of road macadamization by the end of this financial year, the Lt Governor said.

The travel time between Srinagar and Jammu has been reduced from 10 hours to 5 hours. International flights have started between Srinagar and Sharjah. Two new airport terminals are coming up at Jammu and Srinagar. Cargo facility has been provided at Jammu and Srinagar airports for the convenience of the farmers and businessmen. Kashmir will be connected to Kanyakumari through rail network by next year. Work on Light Metro Rail in Jammu and Srinagar city at an estimated cost of Rs 10,599 crore shall start this year. Last year, the Qazigund-Banihal tunnel was made operational for traffic. The work on Z-Morh Tunnel on Srinagar-Sonmarg Road is going on at a brisk pace, which has provided an opportunity to tourists to visit the beautiful place in winters as well. Work on Zojila Tunnel on Srinagar-Leh road has commenced at a cost of Rs 4509 crore, which will be completed by September 2026. With the construction of six-lane Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, the travel time from Delhi to Vaishno Devi will be reduced to six hours only, the Lt Governor further added.

All schools, Anganwadi centers and hospitals have been connected with piped water connections. Apart from this, piped water is also being supplied to 1612 Gram Panchayat buildings. The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream of “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” (providing tap water to every household) will be fulfilled soon, the Lt Governor informed.

While speaking about the three-tier Panchayati Raj system which has been put in place to ensure people’s participation in socio-economic and developmental efforts, the Lt Governor said that the “new leadership at District, Block and Panchayat level is ensuring formulation and implementation of policies, keeping in mind the priorities of common people. Special attention is being paid to make grass-root democratic institutions self-reliant, competent and autonomous and for synergizing their developmental efforts. All 78 Urban Local Bodies in the Union Territory have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). Door-to-door garbage collection has been started. Integrated Solid Waste Management Project was started in all urban local bodies at a cost of Rs. 1400 crore. Under Pradhan Mantri Shahari Awas Yojana, 12,200 houses have been constructed and handed over to the beneficiaries, whereas construction work of another 32,501 houses is in progress, he added.

Sincere efforts have been made to improve the standard of living in rural areas by constructing 67,567 houses. Keeping in mind the clean and better transport system, serious efforts are being made to run 200 electric buses in Jammu and Srinagar cities. The proposal for an inter-modal station at Katra has been approved with a helipad, rail and bus station, autorickshaw and taxi stand, and private vehicles for pilgrims/passengers will be provided at this single hub. The work on the beautification of Tawi River Front on the lines of Sabarmati River Front will start from the first week of February for which tendering process has been completed and the work is slated to be completed in two phases in one and a half year, the Lt Governor said.

The Lt Governor expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are engaged in selfless service to humanity.

Today Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a model for the entire country in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. With 100% vaccination of the eligible population, we have crossed the 20 million vaccine dose mark. In the 15-17 age group,   the Union Territory has achieved remarkable 63% target of the vaccination and four districts of Anantnag, Ganderbal, Shopian and Poonch have achieved 100% target in this age group, he added.

The Lt Governor said that the health care infrastructure has undergone revolutionary changes since 2014. With the establishment of 2 AIIMS, 2  Cancer Institutes, 7 new Medical Colleges, 10 New Nursing Colleges and 150 District and Sub-district Hospitals and thousands of Health and Wellness Centers, Jammu and Kashmir now is placed amongst the leaders in the availability of health care infrastructure. In this financial year alone, Rs.401 crores have been spent on other health schemes and projects. The number of MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up to 1100 from 500, taking us way ahead of the national average of 8.23 MBBS seats available per lakh population, added the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor also paid his sincere tribute to the people who untimely lost their lives to the pandemic despite the availability of all possible health care facilities and reiterated his commitment to support the dependents of such families. To take care of their families, the government has started Saksham Yojana, through which special monthly pension is being provided to their next of kins. In addition to this, special educational scholarships are being extended to the children orphaned due to pandemic, he said.

The Lt Governor said that providing quality education to children is the top priority of the government. Modern labs are being set up in schools as per the recommendation of the New Education Policy. Further, work on as many as 20 projects of higher learning has also commenced. 687 Atal Tinkering Labs are being set up in Higher Secondary Schools. 5 lakh scholarships are being provided to enhance basic education facilities for the poor. Skill Centers have been established in 92 Degree Colleges of the Union Territory. An innovative initiative, LG Scholarship has been started, under which talented youth are being provided with an opportunity to become part of developmental policy-making.

While underscoring the reforms introduced by the government for empowering the farmers and strengthening agriculture, horticulture and allied activities, the Lt Governor said that the planned reforms have enabled J&K to be ranked among the top five States/UT of the country in terms of farm income. While two lakh metric tonnes of storage capacity was developed in the last one decade, we have added additional capacity of one lakh metric tonnes in just 18 months. In the last two years, 7 lakh people have been provided employment opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors. Under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Rs 1706 crore have been directly transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir. Financial assistance is being provided to about 12 lakh farmers through Kisan Credit Cards. Last year, 2140 dairy units were established and we are fast moving towards becoming a milk surplus Union Territory by addressing the milk deficit in just one year, the Lt Governor added.

A historic initiative “Aapki Zameen, Aapki Nigrani” has been launched in which the scanned data of Jamabandi, Girdawari, Mutation and Musavi of all 20 districts of the UT have been made available to the common citizens. Taking another step towards empowerment of land owners, land passbooks have been issued in three languages, the Lt Governor said.

The Lt Governor observed that Peace in Jammu and Kashmir is a prerequisite for a vibrant tourism sector, which of late has set new employment and revenue generation records. Between August and November 2021, about 52 lakh tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir. Keeping in view the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations of 75 years of independence, 75 off-beat tourist destinations are being developed in the Union Territory. Culture is a way of life and it is reflected in the elevated intellectual and spiritual experiences of the land. In order to celebrate rich cultural heritage of the Union Territory, a week-long iconic festival was held in October last year. Well-known personalities from music and literature participated in the event hosted under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, he added.

Retreating J&K Government’s commitment towards the welfare of the people of the tribal community who were neglected by the previous governments, the Lt Governor said while present dispensation trying to give physical shape to their hopes and aspirations, a tiny section is trying hard to provoke and mislead them.

For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, Tribal community has been vested with forest rights in accordance with the principles of social justice and harmony. An integrated plan has been formulated for the future generation of this deprived community by ensuring their rights on forest products. 100 smart schools are being built for the tribal children. Transit accommodation for tribal families on eight migratory routes and tribal community centers are being set up at eight important places. The construction work of 29 Cluster Model Villages has also commenced. 17 milk villages are also being developed for the economic prosperity of the tribals. In order to enhance health care facilities for the community, 10 mobile health care units have been established. The government is spending Rs 7 crore for their transportation during migration. For sustainable livelihood of the tribal community, 750 mini sheep farms have been set up in one year and we have fixed a target of setting up another 750 sheep farms this year. The remuneration of teaching staff of Migratory Schools has been enhanced from Rs.4,000 to Rs. 10,000. Today, the tribal youth are being provided financial assistance for independent ventures along with skill training. In the last 6 months, 5200 youths of tribal community have been assisted and at present 500 others are being trained in various disciplines. I am apprised of some unpleasant incidents reported against members of the tribal community in respect of which appropriate action shall be taken by the administration, and it will also be ensured that such incidents do not reoccur in future. However, some people are trying to draw political mileage out of these unfortunate incidents too. I also assure my Pahari brothers and sisters that I shall undertake honest steps for the preservation of their culture and holistic development, the Lt Governor said.

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