‘Governance Deficit’: NC Presents Memo to Guv

JAMMU – Expressing concern over the alarming trend of intolerance, National Conference on Monday urged Governor Mr N N Vohra for playing his crucial role and using his moral authority to impress upon the divisive politicians to shun the politics of hate and work towards building a harmonious society based on love, compassion and brotherhood.

“We deplore the attempts being made to divide the three distinct regions of the state on the basis of religion”, a 16-member delegation of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Jammu Province led by Provincial President Mr Devender Rana said in a memorandum, presented to Governor Mr N N Vohra at Raj Bhavan this morning.

The other members of the delegation included former ministers Mr Surjeet Singh Slathia, Mr Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Mr Mushtaq Ahmed Bukhari, Mr Ram Pal, MLA Mr Kamal Arora, former legislators Mr Kashmira Singh and Sheikh Bashir Ahmed besides Mr Jugal Mahajan, Ch Haroon, Mr Gurdeep Singh Sasan, Mr Anil Dhar,  Mr Vijay Lochan, Mr Abdul Gani Teli, Mr Israr Khan and Mr Dharamveer Singh Jamwal

The delegation told the Governor that divisive elements were out with their sinister design to fragment the society into bits and pieces for furthering the political agenda of a particular political thought. “More worrisome fact is that divisiveness is being promoted covertly by those under the oath of defending the unity of the state. Wedge between people on religious basis is fraught with the danger of dividing the state, which has been agenda of those enjoying center-stage in the political horizon currently”, they added.

The delegation also assailed the brazen attempts of the ruling BJP in propagating Union Territory status for Leh, which they described an anti thesis to the glorious ethos of Jammu and Kashmir, and said that in the recently concluded elections, the BJP exploited the UT status to hilt with some leaders holding constitutional positions whipping up passions over it.

The memorandum elaborately dwelt upon the performance deficit of the PDP-BJP Government especially on developmental front, stating that the process set in motion by the Government led by Mr Omar Abdullah has got retarded due to lack of direction, comprehension and vision of the present dispensation. The administrative apparatus is in a state of inertia that has impacted the governance at ground-zero adversely, it added.

“We are dismayed over the financial package announced by the Honourable Prime Minister during his visits to the State. The package is just a jugglery of figures with nothing concrete percolating down to the targeted segments of the society. The package has also neglected the growing unemployment, the pitiable position of flood sufferers and those whose properties were damaged due to rains, border migrants and even displaced people from various areas”, the delegation said.

The delegation referred to the much hyped central package, unfolded by the Prime Minister in Srinagar and described it as just an eyewash and   jugglery of words. “We fail to understand how the number of houses damaged during September 2014 floods has been slashed down from 2.61 lakh to 67,611. Similarly, the number of affected families has also been downsized. Therefore,   if the benefit of compensation reaches only to the revised number of beneficiaries, the rest of the sufferers will feel deprived and denied. We strongly plead for reaching out to the entire flood and rain hit victims.  The Government of India never discussed the State Government’s proposal, which focused on covering sufferers and not to compensate the government, with anybody from the State but the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister and the actual stakeholders were never taken into confidence and that is the reason why the package has been loaded with already ongoing schemes in road, tourism and other sectors to make it look bulky”, they added.

On rehabilitation of PoK refugees in the Prime Minister’s package, the memorandum says that they have got just a meagre sum of Rs 2000 crore, which is far lesser than what the National Conference had been pleading for. During its dispensation under Mr Omar Abdullah, National Conference had proposed one time settlement by providing Rs 25 lakh compensation to each refugee family. This needs to be examined and provided by the Centre. 

“Similarly, the chronic problems of the border dwellers, who remain target of incessant shelling from across the border, need to be addressed on immediate basis. Release of compensation to those who have suffered losses, construction of safety bunkers/shelters and allotment of five-marla plots to vulnerable segments, as promised from time to time, is needed to be pursued with the Centre”, the memorandum says, adding,  “Rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants has got a raw deal in the PM package. Except for creation of 3,000 jobs, there is nothing substantial with regard to their rehabilitation”.                                      

The  National Conference delegation viewed with concern the delay in three important policies related to employment, industrial promotion and educational outreach across the state and stressed the need for expediting it after consensus.

“We are perturbed over shelving of the popular schemes like SKWEPY across the state. There is crucial need for devising a mechanism to tackle the vexed unemployment problem by filling up the available vacancies on fast-track basis through designated recruitment agencies and exploring the possibilities of generating avenues for youth in the corporate sector. The governments, both at the Centre and in the State, need to carry out recruitment drives in police and central para military forces in the border areas. The border youth should also be given relaxation in age and other eligibility criterion”, the memorandum added.

The National Conference delegation also viewed with concern clubbing of schools by the coalition government, describing it as fundamentally against the spirit of taking education at the doorsteps of children particularly in remote, far-flung and disadvantageous areas. “The move has potential of dropping the literacy rate substantially. There is, in fact, urgent need of opening more primary schools so as to reach out hitherto uncovered areas in remote areas. Also, recruitment of teachers, masters and lecturers should be undertaken on fast track basis so that vacancies in the educational institutions, especially in remote and far flung areas, are filled up on immediate basis”, they said in the memorandum.

“Health for all should be our top priority. While National Conference pleads for upgrading the infrastructural and diagnostic facilities in all the health institutions, the problem of staff deficiency needs to be urgently addressed”, memorandum stated

On reservations, National Conference strongly pitched for pursuing the case with regard to reservation in promotions of the reserved categories in the backdrop of recent decision by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe in continuity of the reservation policy for larger role of weaker sections of the society in decision making.

They also expressed concern over disengagement of National Youth Corp Volunteers and delays in releasing salaries to daily wagers, anganwari workers and others.

The National Conference protested over rising inflation, saying this has resulted in soaring prices of essentials. The housewives and poor segments of society taste the pinch of price rise severely.

“We want streamlining the mechanism of public distribution system by ensuring adequate rations at sale outlets. The commitment and announcement of the coalition government to provide 35 kilogram of rations as per 2011 Census has turned out to be hoax. This is just propaganda as the position at ground level has not changed at all. We also want timely supply of rations to Bakerwals (Nomads)”, the memorandum added.

National Conference sought streamlining of financial assistance to elderly, physically challenged, widows and destitute  so that the benefit of the scheme reaches targeted segments of society timely and effectively.

The party also demanded the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar besides the pilgrim centre of Katra to be brought under the ambit of Smart Cities. “We also want Master Plans for Jammu to be formulated, put into public domain, discussed, adopted and implemented effectively”, they said.

“We want completion of the Artificial Tawi Lake Project in a time bound manner. The work on it has immensely suffered due to disagreement between the coalition partners over its continuation”, the National Conference delegation said while seeking carving out tunnels at Sudh Mahadev, Marmat and Singhpura-Wailu Tunnels for better communication network in the Jammu Province.                    

The delegation stressed the need for focused development of remote and far flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Governor gave a patient hearing to the delegation, which listed the issues confronted to the people of the state in detail, it said.

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