Omar Goes Into Election Mode, Promises 80,000 Jobs

‘Govt to make budgetary provision for stipend, insurance of panchs, sarpanchs’

SRINAGAR: With completion of four years in power, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday went into election mode after he announced “fast track recruitment of 80,000 educated youth in government service through service selection agencies within next some months”. 

 "We have already set in motion a mechanism to fill up vacancies in government departments as fast as possible", Omar said while addressing a big rally of panchs and sarpanchs at TRC Grounds here. He claimed that employment generation in government and private sectors has been the top most priority of his government.

Omar took oath as the youngest-ever chief minister of Kashmir on January 05 of year 2009. Although promising to heal the wounds of a state hit by two decades of violence, his period saw two consecutive years of unrest with over 110 youth falling to the bullets of security forces in 2010.

With New Delhi behind him, Omar Abdullah came out of the crisis and became the first chief minister of the state in the past decade to hold the office for more than three years.

For the peaceful years of 2011 and 2012, panchayat elections were held after a gap of 30 years.

Kashmir will be going to elections by the end of year 2014.

Omar told panchs and sarpanchs that the state government would make provision for honorarium and insurance cover to them in the next year’s budget irrespective of any financial assistance from the central government.

"We have taken up the issue with Union government as it would involve 100 crore rupees annually", he added. The Chief Minister said he was personally reviewing the progress on empowerment of panchs and sarpanchs in the state and that he has called a meeting of officials in the regard on the 14th of January in Srinagar.

While highlighting his government’s achievements Omar lashing out at the opposition parties "Report card of our government is before the people of the state and they will judge us by our performance. We are not among those who sign their own Annual Performance Reports (APRs). We will ask the people to go through our performance and give their verdict in 2014 elections", the Chief Minister said.

On people’s grievances regarding curtailments in power supply, the CM said that the Peoples' Democratic Party did nothing during their tenure to launch even a single power project in the state. "Instead they scuttled the 1200 MW Sawalkote Power Project signed by Farooq Abdullah government. Why are they now making noise over the issue and expecting increase in power when they did nothing during their own tenure", he asked.

On recent incidents of crimes against women, the Chief Minister said the state government was already reviewing the laws of Ranbir Penal Code to ensure stricter punishment to culprits of sexual violence against women. He said the state’s law department was already on job of reviewing the laws protecting women. However, while speaking with media persons on the sidelines of the function, the Chief Minister said laws alone cannot change the scenario of crime against women and the society as a whole needs to put efforts for preventing such unfortunate incidents as Delhi Gang rape, Shopian rape incident and recent acid attack on a city teacher.

Regarding providing security to panchayat members in the state, Omar Abdullah said the state government has put efforts for ensuring safety of the members. “There have been handful of unfortunate incidents of killings of panchs and sarpanchs, however police investigations have shown that the killings were a result of personal rivalry”, he said adding the killings have not been carried out by active militants and some surrendered or ex-millitants were involved in such killings.

On the issue of corruption, the Chief Minister said his government had taken lot of measures for curbing the menace. “However, the corruption in the state is not in shape of big scandals but is on a much smaller scale. We have enacted laws like PSGA to curb corruption in the state and people should make use of such legal provisions to discourage and fight against corruption”, he added.

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