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Governor seeks liberal assistance for development

J&K Governor, Satya Pal Malik today sought personal intervention of the Prime Minister, NarendraModi, for accelerating the development in Jammu and Kashmir, which he said is imperative for putting the state on the path of peace, progress and prosperity.

Addressing the 5th meeting of the Governing Council of NITI
Aayog, Malik highlighted the key initiatives undertaken by his administration
during the last one year in the state.

He said there was a need for giving further impetus to the
development process in the state for which he urged the government of India to
provide liberal financial support, an official handout said.

Highlighting some of the key initiatives undertaken, since
the state was brought under Governor’s rule on 20 June 2018, followed by
President’s rule on 20 December 2018, the Governor said among the major
achievements has been the empowerment of people through peaceful Panchayat and
ULB elections held in November- December after a gap of over 7 years. “Despite
boycott calls and threats, people came out in large numbers to vote and overall
turnover was 74% without any loss of life,” he said.

The Governor said the state government has introduced
necessary amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to strengthen
the institution of Panchayats and given them more powers. In order to further
this effort, he said, the state government is organising a weeklong “Back to
the Village” programme from 20 to 27 June 2019.

“All gazetted officers will stay in a Panchayat for two days
and will connect with Panchayat representatives, see how government services
are being delivered and understand local needs. This is a first in J&K, we
are new to this,” he said and added that the enthusiasm all around “gives us
hope that the future is bright for grassroots democracy in the state.”

The Governor said that equitable development of all regions
is a priority for the Government. “While Elevated High Speed Rail Corridors and
two satellite townships will be developed in Jammu and Srinagar, the
aspirations of Ladakh have been fulfilled through creation of a separate
division, a University and empowerment of the Hill Councils. Kargil will soon
have a full fledged commercial airport like Leh,” he said.

The Governor said the state too has been taking its own
initiatives. “The number of colleges in the state has been increased from 98 to
200, while the number of MBBS seats has been doubled in one year from 500 to
over 1000, probably a first for any state. Many new facilities are coming up
and the state is expected to be a hub for medical tourism in future.”

On infrastructure, the Governor said that J&K has had
over Rs 6000 crore of languishing projects, some pending for over 20 years.
“The state government has set up a Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure
Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC) and raised Rs 8000 crore of loans to
fund these languishing projects in 18 months. The initiative has been noted as
a best practice by the NITI Aayog,” he said.

The Governor said that J&K has risen remarkably in the
Aspirational district rankings. “A year ago, Kupwara was at the bottom. This
has been done mainly by gearing up the administrative system to deliver
results. The worst performing state in Swachh Bharat in February 2018 , J&K
was declared ODF state in September 2018 along with others. The J&K won a
national award of Rs 100 crore for implementing Saubhagya scheme ahead of
time.”

The Governor said, “In Ayushman Bharat, J&K has the
largest percentage of Gold Cards issued. J&K has among the best healthcare
systems in the country. NITI Aayog has ranked J&K as the second best state
in the overall improvement among aspirational districts over the last year and
Baramulla is ranked as the second best district overall. All this is being done
in the most difficult circumstances.”

ON FLOOD SITUATION

The Governor said that the State Government is taking all
necessary steps to ensure that September-2014 like flood situation is not
repeated in the State.

He said a project has been initiated for dredging of the
Wular Lake and the Jhelum for which he requested the Central Government to fund
its share for the Wular, the Dal and the Jhelum Phase 2 projects which will
save Srinagar and other parts of the Valley from future floods.

The Governor said that State has also undertaken a programme
for 100% piped drinking water supply to the entire state by 2021 for which he
requested liberal financial support from Government of India. “This will make
J&K the first State in the country to have 100% piped water supply,” he
said.

Governor said that state has witnessed good snowfall this
year followed by frequent rains. He said that flexibility in SDRF norms is
needed to permit more than 10% of funds to be used for equipment as J&K
requires more number of snow clearance and flood relief equipment. “There is a
huge backlog of MGNREGA receipts from GoI which is causing stress in the
system. Further, J&K had a special dispensation by which Land Acquisition
cost was included in PMGSY projects. J&K would like that continue,” he
according to an official statement, said.

ON AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE SECTORS

On agriculture and horticulture sectors, the Governor said
that doubling the farmers’ income in the State can be achieved through focus on
horticulture and animal husbandry.

He said J&K is a top producer of quality apple, saffron
and walnuts and many other fruits. “However, J&K is badly placed in the
supply chain with extremely limited cold storages, logistics facilities,
grading and packing plants, export infrastructure and even good mandis,” he
said, while seeking greater central assistance in supporting horticulture,
logistics, and other areas.

NATIONAL HIGHWAY/CONNECTIVITY

The Governor said that the National Highway from Jammu to
Srinagar has been a source of great inconvenience. “Positioning of officers
from NHAI on the site fulltime is essential to avoid disruptions and ensure all
time connectivity to valley and Ladakh.”

He said further the international airport at Srinagar should
be brought on the international route map.

INVESTMENT SUMMIT

Governor said that J&K is organising first ever
investment summit later this year and preparations are in full swing for this
including setting up of two world class IT Parks.

The Governor said that J&K depends a lot on the Centre
for its development needs. “The massive Rs 80,000 crore PMDP for J&K has
been a boon for the state. In the last one year, the implementation of PMDP
projects has speeded up phenomenally. Roads, bridges, flyovers, hospitals,
educational institutions, and skill and livelihood programmes are moving ahead
rapidly. There is an air of expectation among the people” he added.

FIGHT AGAINST MILITANCY

The Governor said that J&K is a front line state in the
fight against militancy and sought all support in this regard.

He said that a scheme such as Special Central Assistance
(SCA) given to Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts will be of great help to
J&K in its fight against militancy and to fill critical gaps.

Governor said that last year there was incident free Shri
AmarnathjiYatra. With the help of Central Government, we are hopeful to have a
peaceful Yatra this year as well.

GOOD GOVERNANCE

In his concluding remarks, the Governor observed that last
one year has demonstrated that good governance and development are possible and
can go hand in hand in J&K.

The rule of law has been established. Guilty and
the corrupt are being held accountable and brought to book. The time has now
come to reach out to “our youth with the active support of the government of
India. The state government will work with the central government to ensure
that people of J&K reap the benefits of great economic future, which the
country is poised for in the next 5 years.”

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