Terms Nehru’s Move Of Raising Kashmir Issue In Multilateral Forum A “Monumental Blunder”
Srinagar- The Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs & Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that after abrogating special status of Jammu and Kashmir, people are investing in the economic development of the Union Territory because of the Central government’s farsighted decision to remove that whinstone around the state’s neck.
“Earlier [before abrogation of Article 370 & 35(A)], Srinagar’s tourist footfall was 32,000-40,000 in a day. But, in May, we witnessed an upsurge in tourists’ inflow taking the footfall to 120000. This shows what the major demand is now,” Puri said while addressing a news conference here on Monday.
The Union Minister said that special features of Article 370 were meant to help the state but instead, it became a whinstone around it. “Nobody could make an investment here. But, see the difference today,” he added.
Acknowledging the central government’s initiatives to improve J&K, the Minister said that after abrogation of Art-370, 25 new National Highway projects worth 11,721 crores were sanctioned for J&K.
“1168 MoUs have been signed amounting to 13,600 crores in two years after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A). 7 new medical colleges have been sanctioned and medical seats have been increased from 500 to 955. World’s highest railway bridge over Chenab river was completed in April 2021. Vande Bharat Express from Jammu to Delhi is operational,” he added.
Expressing satisfaction over the security situation, the Union Minister said that there has been a 60 percent decline in militancy related activities in J&K.
“Terror from outside and situation & stability inside have an umbilical relationship. State suffers because of people who try to destabilize it,” Puri said, adding that BJP is a professional democracy pursuing clinically through development.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana–Urban (PMAY-U), 49,086 houses have been sanctioned for construction in which credit linked subsidy schemes are 3377, 1008 are under affordable housing and partnership and 44,701 beneficiary-led construction, he added further.
“Under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, 12 lakh LPG connections have been provided under the PM Ujjwala scheme,” Puri said, adding that there are many schemes and projects under Housing and Urban Affairs that people need to take advantage of.
He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment towards development of J&K is turning into a reality and work regarding the same is in full swing.
“PM’s development initiatives in J&K have created an emotional bond between the people and the country. Central schemes directly benefit the people and I am glad that work is going on at the ground level,” the minister said.
While targeting Jawaharlal Nehru over Kashmir, the Union Minister said that the decision of the country’s first prime minister to take the issue to a multilateral forum was a “monumental blunder”.
“My information has been that Maharaja Hari Singh was happy to sign the instrument of accession. But, the political leadership in Delhi was saying that they wanted it (accession) to be more broad based and therefore they wanted a plebiscite. So they wanted to take it to a multilateral forum. You cannot have a higher degree of folly than that. I am using word folly very mildly,” Puri said.
He was responding to a question about the views expressed by his cabinet colleague Kiren Rijiju in an article about on Nehru’s handling of Kashmir issue.
“Was it an error of judgment? You can say the man made a mistake but you cannot justify it. The historical facts are staring you in the face that making the reference (to multinational fora) and calling for a plebiscite is not a folly, I think it is a monumental blunder. So I agree with my dear friend and colleague Kiren Rijiju entirely,” Puri said.
The minister said it was because of the mistake made by Nehru that Pakistan was able to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Because you made that mistake, other people took advantage of it. One country has been using terror as an instrument of state policy. I have said it 20 years ago. On BBC Hard Talk’, I said this is a problem created from across the border but they could create this problem because someone on our side allowed them to do it,” he said
The minister said he was pleased that today when he is in Kashmir, “we are talking about development. Some years ago, what we were dealing with was an entire cadre of professional stone pelters”.
The Union Minister is on a two-day visit to J&K to review the working of various development projects with district officials.
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