SRINAGAR: Reiterating her resolve to realize the vision of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Friday said she counts on the peoples support to make peace a reality in Jammu and Kashmir.
Give me some time and support and I assure you that I will give you a peaceful, prosperous and promising Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister said while addressing an impressive gathering after inaugurating the grand Convention Centre in Jammu, the first of its kind in the region.
Ms Mehbooba said under the current circumstances when the State is facing multifarious challenges; it is only with the support of the people that the Government can make headway in consolidating the peace and rejuvenate the developmental activities.
We are committed to freeing the government from the menace of corruption, nepotism and inefficiency and making the institutions subservient to the peoples aspirations, she asserted.
We are working steadfastly to realize the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir and the days and months to come, I promise you a new and prosperous future for the State where economic development and empowerment of youth, women and work force will be the priority, she said and added that instead of thinking on regional and partisan lines, people in all the regions of J&K should think about the larger good of the whole state.
Ms Mehbooba said various forces within and outside the State are out to subvert the Governments peace and reconciliation efforts and todays tragic incident at Bijbehara, where three security forces personnel lost their lives in a militant attack, is a grim reminder of the reprehensible designs of such elements. Hundreds of civilians, security forces personnel, policemen and militants have been killed during the past more than two decades of turmoil in the State. Have we achieved anything out of this senseless bloodshed except leaving behind a trail of tragedies, she asked.
This vicious cycle of death and destruction has to end, and sooner the better, the Chief Minister said and added it is not, however, possible without the support of the people of the State as they are the worst sufferers of this heart-rending bloodletting.
Making it clear that only sustained peace in J&K can allow her government to resuscitate the financial health and economy of the state which has been caught in a cobweb of violence, Ms Mehbooba said the violence has not only adversely affected our economy but has also prevented the state from realising its full potential in key sectors like tourism.
The Chief Minister said while the Government has already made its position clear on the issue of Sainik Colony and settlement of Kashmiri Pandits, still these issues are being raised in a distorted manner to create trouble in the Valley with the sole purpose of disrupting the tourist season and the economic activity. The people should be cautious of the designs of such elements who want to keep the pot boiling for their own vested interests, she said.
Ms Mehbooba said she chose to follow in the footsteps of her father by aligning with BJP to respect the mandate of the people in Jammu region. I chose to follow the footsteps of my father, who had chosen the toughest option of aligning with BJP, which alone guarantees a representative government that respects the wishes and aspirations of people in all the three regions of the state and could revive the peace and reconciliation process within the State and the region, she said.
The Chief Minister said her Government is committed to peoples welfare, especially the weaker sections including women and several path-breaking welfare initiatives have been taken by the Government for the masses.
We have already taken some measures for empowerment of women including setting of women specific entrepreneurship centres, establishment of women police stations, women special buses, reservation of 10% land for women entrepreneurs in industrial estates, 50% subsidy for girl students for purchase of scooters and marriage assistance scheme etc, she said and added that these may look small initiatives but as a lady herself she knows the essence of these measures well.
Allaying fears about Jammu losing focus due to direct train services to the holy town of Katra, Chief Minister promised to take effective steps in positioning the winter capital as an independent tourist destination.
She said there is no dearth of tourist destinations in Jammu and with its treasure trove of heritage sites the city will attract a huge footfall of tourists. The government will strategize and diversify activities for development of Jammu as an independent tourist destination for which a comprehensive plan has been drawn up, she said.
Enumerating the measures to be taken up for development of tourist spots in the winter capital, Ms Mehbooba said the work on restoration of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex would be expedited and the Government has already got in touch with various organisation including German Embassy in India to chalk out a strategy for early restoration of this historic site.
Unfortunately, a meagre Rs 8 crore has been spent on the restoration of Mubarak Mandi during the past six years out of the Rs 60 crore which were earmarked for the project, she said and added that there will be tangible progress on this prestigious project now and the results will be there for the people to see.
On my first visit to Mubarak Mandi in April this year, I was simply riveted by the grandeur and majestic beauty of this Heritage Complex. We cannot allow it to be used as a parking place. I have ordered for immediate landscaping and beautification of the complex, she said.
Similarly, we have almost removed all the bottlenecks in the Bagh-e-Bahu and Patnitop Ropeway Projects and these would be completed within next two years, she asserted.
She said Tourism and Culture Departments together will identify other potential sites for tourism promotion in Jammu region. On infrastructure upgrade, the chief minister mentioned Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basohli, Akhnoor Fort, Mughal Sarais in Rajouri, Patnitop, Surinsar, Mansar, Jai in Bhaderwah, Warwan in Kishtwar and Mantalai in Udhampur as places where all ongoing projects will be fast-tracked. She said this will position Jammu as an emerging destination for inbound as well as foreign visitors.
Referring to her recent visit to border areas of Suchetgarh and Baba Chamliyal, Ms Mehbooba said Jammu can emulate Wagahs success in border tourism. She said she will take up with the Centre the issue of starting a march-past on this side which can become a major attraction for tourists. We have already earmarked Rs 5 crore for promotion of border tourism at Suchetgarh, she said.
On developing Tawi front as a tourism site, Ms Mehbooba suggested landscaping of the scattered patches around the river riverfront by planting flowers. She also said that heritage value of Jia Potha and Ambaran in Akhnoor will be highlighted so that art and culture aficionados make a beeline for the place.
In his address, the Deputy Chief Minister credited the vision of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in promoting Jammu as a major tourism destination. He also felicitated the people of Jammu for getting a state of the art Convention Centre.
Meanwhile, the official spokesperson said that state of the art Convention Centre inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu today is the first of its kind facility in the region.
The palatial Convention Centre, constructed by Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation, is having a built up area of 50000 square feet with a basement of 8000 sft. It has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 450 persons which is fitted with latest lighting and audio visual equipment. It has a conference hall with seating capacity of 85 persons and two seminar rooms with seating capacity of 40 persons each.
The Convention Centre has an Exhibition area of 2800 sft, dining hall with capacity of 120 persons and VIP lounge with capacity of 50 persons.
The Chief Minister also gave away mementos to the officers and non-officials who have been instrumental in the construction of the Convention Centre. They include Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development, B B Vyas, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister (Administrative Secretary Hospitality & Protocol), Naveen Kumar Choudhary, Former Director Hospitality & Protocol and presently Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister, Hashmat Ali Khan, Director Hospitality & Protocol, Tariq Hussain Ganaie, MD JKPCC, Dileep Thussu, MD SICOP, R N Tickoo, Jt Director H&P, Waseem Ahmad, Jt Director H&P, Naseem Javaid Choudhary, Dy Director H&P, Mr Sandeep Singh, AEE H&P, Nasir Amin, AE H&P, Sunil Panditta, Vishwa Bandhu, AE H&P, Qaiser Malik, Assistant Director H&P and others.
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