November 2001 News

Regional autonomy report to be placed in J&K Assembly

5 November 2001
The Times of India

JAMMU: Sparking another debate on the issue of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday said that the regional autonomy report was all set to be placed before the Assembly during its current session.''The Regional Autonomy Bill, which is already in its final stage, will be placed before the state Assembly for a debate and hopefully passed,'' Abdullah told reporters on the first day of opening of government offices here.The Regional Autonomy Bill is envisaged to decentralise the administrative, financial and political powers besides seeking empowerment of people of all the three - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - regions.However, in the regional autonomy report, the state has been bifurcated into eight regions, a move which has come for sharp criticism from various political groups of Jammu and Ladakh.The Chief Minister, after assuming office in 1996, had announced setting up of a committee which would seek ways and means to give more financial and political powers to all the three regions of the state.To a question about greater autonomy to the state, which has been rejected by the Centre, Abdullah said that the process of analysis of the report was on at the Centre and ''we are hopeful for its final settlement.''The state and the Centre had a showdown last year when the Union cabinet ''outrightly'' rejected the Autonomy Resolution Bill passed by the state Assembly.The Chief Minister dismissed the allegations about rigging and said ''every organisation is attacking the National Conference because they want their objectives to be met but even if the entire Opposition, including the state unit of the BJP, unites and fight against our party, we will still win because Allah is with us.''To a specific question about the Opposition by the state BJP unit even though both the parties were part of the NDA at the Centre, Abdullah said they were doing their work and ''I am doing mine which is to uplift the state and improve its economy.''However, the Chief Minister said that there were no ''loopholes'' in the Centre''s present policies for the state and said ''the state government has been able to rebuild maximum infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, that was destroyed by militants in early 1990s.''


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