Govt Advt Rates Hiked By 50%

JAMMU: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that the biggest achievement of her Government has been to ensure transparency in governance.

She said not a single backdoor appointment was made during her tenure despite the fact that thousands of appointments were made by J&K PSC and SSRB.

She said norms were strictly adhered to while making recruitments of constables and SPOs in Police. She suggested single window recruitment for constabulary instead of battalion wise and framing of a comprehensive policy for SPOs and constables.

The Chief Minister assured the House that all the decisions taken by the District Development Boards would be implemented in a committed manner. She said every constituency would be developed irrespective of who represents it.

In this regard, she announced that the limits of Constituency Development Fund would be raised to Rs 3 crore.

The Chief Minister disclosed that the cumbersome process of plan finalization has been done away with and a time frame has been fixed for preparation of DPRs.

She said a Chief Secretary headed committee is monitoring the execution of these projects which is also supplemented by online supervision through e-samiksha.

Describing the execution of Rs 80, 000 Prime Minister’s Development Project as a challenge to the administrative machinery, Mehbooba Mufti hoped the engineers and planners would rise to the occasion to create benchmark of excellence. She said despite turmoil the DPRs for various World Bank funded projects were prepared and got approved.

She said her Government has not believed in and won’t resort to any regional discrimination in development. “In 2015, 1400 to 1500  KMs of road length was macadamized in Kashmir province which had got damaged due to floods of previous year, around 1300 KMs of road length was macadamized in Jammu province during 2016,” she added.

She said that Rs 30 crore each have been released to LAHDC Leh and Kargil to clear the pending liabilities.

Expressing dismay over the death and devastation during the unrest of last year, the Chief Minister said her Government is continuously reviewing the status of PSA detentions in the State. She said during the last few days only 30 such detainees were released by the Government.

“Also two elderly persons from Baramulla, as pointed by certain members, have also been released,” she said.

Mehbooba Mufti said in a very short span her Government has cleared as much as 1150 cases of compensation under SRO-43, some of which were very chronic and around 15 years old. She said she has asked the DGP to install CCTV cameras at all police stations to ensure transparency and deployment of more lady cops to ensure gender parity at police stations.

She flagged the idea of reservation for women in constable recruitment so that enough female constabulary is available at police stations and dealing with crimes against women.  

Mehbooba Mufti announced starting of air service to far flung areas like Dachan, Wadwan, Marwah, Gurez, Karah and like areas for which the passengers would be paying only the 20% of ticket amount and rest 80% would be borne by the Government.

She also announced release of Rs Five crore for developing air strip at Kishtwar.

The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of Tribal affairs Department, said that Rs 100 crore would be spent on tribal welfare in the State. This includes, she said, capacity building among youth of the community besides developing cluster villages with improved facilities, milk villages and setting up of schools, hospitals, connectivity etc. in their areas.

Responding to other demands of legislators, the Chief Minister announced that Travelling Allowance of members of legislature would be raised to Rs 2 lakhs and their sitting fee would also be enhanced to Rs 2000 per sitting. She also announced raising the car and housing loan amounts in respect of legislators in view of the rising prices.

The Chief Minister said Rs 200 crore have been earmarked for the development of sports in the State and also announced that 1500 physical education teachers would be recruited to meet up the challenge of sports training in Jammu & Kashmir.

She also announced the adjustment of Rehbar-e-Janglat in the Forest Department.

The Chief Minister recalled the role of employees during the tough times of summer unrest and complimented their dedication and devotion. She said though the snowfall this winter was of very high volume, roads were cleared quickly and other services were also restored quickly. “Though speed of work slowed down on many projects due to unrest but things are picking up again”, she said.

The Chief Minister said an Aiwan-e-Sahafat would be set up at Srinagar soon for the benefit and encouragement of media fraternity.

She also announced a hike of up to 50 percent in the rates of Government advertisements.

Saying that tourism is not what is to be built but what is to be offered, Mehbooba Mufti said she has directed the Department to involve local people in the development of tourism related projects so that they become part of Government’s efforts to promote the trade on long term basis. She said the Government has floated a concept of border tourism which would be given requisite push.

She said Ranjit Sagar, Mantalai, Sudhmahadev, Jammu and Patnitop cable care projects have been taken up in Jammu province to make it an independent tourist destination.

The Chief Minister said recently she launched an ambitious Rs. 42 crore development project for Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar and many more like Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum tourist circuit are coming up in Kashmir province.

She said recently four new Tourist Development Authorities were constituted by the Government which would bring the respective areas into focus. She laid stress on the development of catchment areas of these projects besides involvement of local youth in tourism promotion.

Terming youth as an asset for a society, the Chief Minister said Himayat and Udaan projects are being re oriented to get more and more youth from the State adjusted in corporate sector of the country.

She said 2.5 lakh youth would be trained under these projects this year and local business community would also be roped in to create jobs for them at home also. She said education and youth activities in the State have become a prominent activity in recent months. 

The cut motions which were moved by the members were withdrawn after the satisfactory reply by the Chief Minister.

Later, the House passed, with voice vote, the grants of the Departments under CM’s charge, for the year 2017-18, amounting to Rs 92059.69 lakh, Rs 631285.14 lakh, Rs 244619.64 lakh, Rs 6732.53 lakh, Rs 83916.24 lakh, Rs 81119.01 lakh and Rs 27766.32 lakh with voice vote.

Editors Guild Welcomes

Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) Monday welcomed the various measures announced by the government for improving the functioning of the media units operating in the state.

In a statement issued here, KEG said that the government’s decision to increase the advertisement tariff by 50 percent “will go a long way in addressing various concerns of the print media Industry”.

The government’s decision is in tune with the Industry requirement as the printing cost had gone up manifold over the past three years. The media units in the state were finding it hard to cope with the increased cost of printing and the ever increasing market demands, the hike will also help the sector grow better, KEG said.

The KEG thanked the Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti for her decision of addressing the rate anomalies across different categories of newspapers.

Pertinently, KEG in a detailed meeting with the state Chief Minister held last month had raised the issues of inflation, cost escalation and the rate anomalies prevalent among the various newspaper categories empanelled for government advertisements.

The Editors body also hailed the government for announcing to set up an Aiwaan-e-Sahafat (Kashmir Press Centre) by the end of March this year.

“The setting up of a Press Centre was a vital demand put forth by KEG and the government’s decision to set up this vital institution will ensure a healthy growth of media in the state,” the statement added.

The KEG also welcomed the government’s announcement of modernizing and reviewing various age old laws governing the media industry. “KEG hopes that the new laws formed will envisage the new and modern media and will truly explain the freedom of the speech enshrined in the constitution”.

The editor’s body also hailed the efforts of the government to bring clarity and transparency in the state’s press accreditation system and make it in tune with the modern and improved system.

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