'Will Give What Has Been Denied To People of Kashmir For Last 70 Years’

Srinagar: The people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied development for over 70 years, but after the abrogation of Article 370, the government aims to reach out to every citizen of the union territory and give them their due, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday.

The minister inaugurated 'The Chinars', Aayakar Bhawan-cum-residential complex, the first permanent establishment of the department of income tax in the UT, at the Rajbagh area here in the presence of J-K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

Sitharaman said around 40,000 people were killed due to “terrorism” over the years in Jammu and Kashmir, and a land which is otherwise very peaceful and beautiful has spent so many years in a very "heart-crushing and tragic phase".

"Now, post the abrogation of (Article) 370, the delimitation commission has also been constituted. DDC polls have shown that people are looking forward to aspirational meeting of their dreams.

"Therefore, I would want to tell you in the context of dedicating this building that it is only a guise that I am doing this, but the larger issue is reaching out to every person in J-K, giving them their due which has been denied to them for the last 70 years," the minister said.

Sitharaman said development for Jammu and Kashmir is something that has been in the wings for a long time but "which has never happened".

"You see some development here and there, but the consistent pace at which the infrastructure was required, basic materials important for living and also for building the economy such as electricity (were not happening)," she said.

The finance minister said Jammu and Kashmir has a potential capacity of about 20,000 MW electricity generation, and if it realises its full potential, it can do wonders for its economy and development.
The capacity has never been fully exploited, she added.

"Without basic supplies of electricity, for a beautiful state like this, for a potential-ridden state like this, development has always been at its bare minimum," the minister said.

Referring to the revocation of the erstwhile state's special status, she said it is important now for Jammu and Kashmir to get that which has been denied to it in terms of facilities and development.

"There is no point if it is kept like a small oligarchy of people holding every resource and denying ordinary citizens," Sitharaman said.

Common people have aspirations, and every citizen should be given space and that is what is being given post the abrogation of (Article) 370, she said.

The minister said with the inauguration of the office, there are now 251 principal commissioners of income tax all over the country and 21 in the north-west region.

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