Development, not empty slogans, is my agenda: Kashmir CM

Press Release, NAK

Samba : Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that any attempt to mislead the people by false slogans needed to be frustrated and his party would resist those who try to divert people’s attention from development to hollow promises.

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“We have concentrated on development instead of feeding people on false slogans and misleading statements”, the Chief Minister said and maintained that the atmosphere of progress would not be allowed to be impacted by empty sloganeering. He said the politics of selling unrealizable dreams to people had left them far behind in progress and now was the time that development of the State was made the foremost agenda by all political parties.

Azad was addressing a large public meeting here today where he distributed ownership rights among farmers on government land under the revolutionary Roshni Act enacted by his government last year.

The Chief Minister alluded to the massive development initiatives taken by his government to strengthen facilities at all levels. He said roads, hospitals and schools were in a shambles and people were facing problems on account of lack or deficiency of drinking water, electricity and irrigation facilities. He said his government chalked out a strategy with the support of the central government and drew a blueprint for addressing the situation. He said development projects were taken up in large numbers and the process of progress was taken to the village level. He said a network of roads, schools and health institutions was laid across the State to facilitate people. He said opening and up-gradation of schools and healthcare institutions was taken up on a massive scale. In the coming 4 to 5 years, he said, every village would have road connectivity, drinking water and electricity.

Talking about infrastructure development, the Chief Minister said that it remained a priority area for his government. He said construction projects that normally took decades were now completed in a year or two. He said the construction of 33 district and sub-district hospitals started last year would be completed by April. Similarly, he said, the buildings for the newly created degree colleges would be ready by that time.

He said the construction of buildings for the just announced 18 new colleges would begin from next month. He said the work on office complexes for 4 new districts had commenced in Jammu division while for the remaining 4 in Kashmir division it would start in February, given the weather conditions there. He said within one year all these office complexes would be ready and functional. He said all district offices would be housed in these complexes.

The Chief Minister said that he did not believe in laying foundation stones of projects where no ground work had been done or funds allocated. He said he ensured that the work on a project had actually come up to the ground level before he laid its foundation. He declined to lay the foundation stone of the District Office Complex here today other than at the actual site in view of inaccessibility due to a kuchha road and asked the concerned officials to lay a permanent approach road within a week following which he would lay the foundation of the Rs. 31.88 crore complex.

Azad referred to some of the path-breaking decisions taken by his government during the past two years and in particular mentioned the Roshni Act under which ownership rights of about 21 lakh kanals of government land were being transferred to farmers free of cost, making them land holders overnight.

He said the Damocles’ sword of dispossession was always hanging on these farmers as they did not own the land and whenever the government would require it for public purpose no compensation was paid to them as the land belonged to the State. He said that since they were now owners of this land they would toil more to get better produce and if the land was required by the government for development project full compensation would be given to the farmers. The ownership right would also qualify them for Permanent Resident Certificate, government job and bank loan, he added.

Azad said Cabinet Sub-Committees had been set up to recommend measures for addressing unemployment problem and looking into the problems of ex-servicemen in the State. The Sub-Committee on unemployment had several meetings and deliberated upon employment avenues for the youth in and outside government sector. He said the government was seriously engaged in addressing this problem.

The Chief Minister said that the Cabinet Sub-Committee on ex-servicemen had submitted its report and the government would take a decision soon. He said the ex-servicemen were the pride of the country and the State who gave their blood for the nation and it was our duty to reciprocate in terms of whatever little help we could provide. He said the government doubled the reservation quota in promotion for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees and raised manifold the honorarium of Nambardars and Chowkidars last year.