February 2003 News

Cross-border Infiltration Has To Be Checked: Mufti

27 February 2003
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: The Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, has called for 'constant vigil' on the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir. Inaugurating the day-long civil-military liaison conference here on Thursday, the Chief Minister highlighted the need for steps on the State borders to check infiltration from across the frontier with Pakistan. Jammu Cantonment was the venue for the conference. The conference, which was chaired by Mufti Sayeed, was also attended by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, and high-ranking civil and military officers. Lt. Gen. RK Nanavatty, GOC- in-C, Northern Command, Lt. Gen. NP Aul, Chief of Staff, Northern Command, the General Officer Commanding of the Corps along with other senior officer of the Army attended the Conference. The civil administration was represented at the conference by the Chief Secretary, Dr Sudhir S Bloeria, Principal Secretaries to the Government, the Director-General of Police, Mr AK Suri,and Divisional Commissioners. Besides, senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh Governments also attended the meeting. The aim of the conference, it was officially stated, was to discuss a wide range of issues between the Army and civil administration. The last conference was held in September 1997 and before that in 1992, a handout from the Defence Wing of the Press Information Bureau recalled. According to the handout, some of the agenda points discussed included outstanding land compensation cases, forest clearance, construction and upgradation of roads and subjects related to welfare, recruitment and litigation of serving and retired soldiers. Sub-committees on various issues comprising senior official of both the sides had already been meeting during the last two weeks to resolve outstanding issues. The conference finalised and ratified the decisions of the sub-committees and also found amiable solution to complicated issues, the handout divulged. Lt Gen. RK Nanavatty, stressed on the existing critical times which had brought the Army and civil administration together. He stated that issues pertaining to lands, taxation, roads, welfare would be discussed and resolved during the confefrence. Mufti Sayeed, in his address, highlighted contribution by the Army for overall development of the State and in curbing militancy in J&K to achieve peace and prosperity. The Chief Minister called for a more humane role for the Army,security forces and police to provide the much-needed 'healing touch' for the militancy-ridden people of the State. 'If we try to win the hearts and minds of the people, provide them a responsive administration, address their socio-economic problems and give a healing touch, the situation is bound to have a turn around for good', he emphasized. Appreciating what he termed as 'positive' response of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr LK Advani, to his Government's effort towards restoration of peace in the State, Mufti Sayeed said: 'I am happy that even the Centre has taken bold initiatives to avail the golden opportunity knocking at our doors for return of lasting peace'. The Mufti said that the people of the State were by and large 'positive' in outlook and longing for restoration of peace and solution of their socio-economic problems for which they had courageously voted in the recent Assembly elections. The Mufti, once again, hoped for a 'consensus' at the national level on Kashmir, stating that he was getting 'adequate support' from the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) Government in his effort to win the hearts and minds of the State people. The Chief Minister appreciated the Vajpayee Government's sanctioning of the super-highway project from Srinagar and other projects and expenditure of rail projects. He said that the Government would remove red-tapism in clearing of projects. The Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, in his address to the conference, highlighted the praiseworthy role of the Army. Indeed, he paid glowing tributes to the Army officers and other ranks who had sacrificed their lives while defending the territorial integrity of the country and during the Kargil conflict. Agreeing to the point of view of former army chief that restoration of peace in the state is primarily a political problem, the Chief Minister said that army can extend a helping hand to achieve this objective. He, however, said that a vested interest has developed during militancy and some people got undue benefit out of the situation as there was no rule of law and authority. Stressing the need for regular interaction between civil and military authorities for ensuring greater coordination, he said we have to see that the issues like land compensation, plying of traffic, vacating educational, health and tourist institutions in possession of the army at some places are required to be resolved mutually. Among the important decisions taken at the meeting included payment of rent by the army for the land and property being used by them. It was also decided that the army shall pay for the vehicles used with consent in search and cordon operations. It was decided that the army would vacate buildings of tourism and educational institutions in Baramulla district by August this year while the civil administration would identify alternate land for relocating the units. A dedicated 33 KV transmission line from Wanpoh grid station for Jawahar tunnel would be installed by the power development department. While the estimates for it would be reassessed, the Chief Minister ordered execution of the project immediately by making adequate provision in next year's plan so that the tunnel can remain open for 24 hours. The issue of Badami Bagh cantonment bye-pass was also discussed with a view to avoid inconvenience to the people passing through the high security cantonment. Various suggestions were put forth at the conference including identifying shortest possible alignment to bye-pass Badami Bagh that can be taken up as a road of economic importance. The civil administration impressed for early transfer of land for national highway from Batamaloo to Qamarwari Chowk. Six roads in Ladakh area handed over to Border Roads Organization for upgradation, are under various stages of execution. It was decided that BRO would give priority to stretches where civil population has been affected by poor condition of the road. The Chief Minister also ordered immediate taking over the work of black topping of 800 metre stretch from high altitude warfare school to Gulmarg helipad. On expediting ex-gratia relief to the families of army personnel killed or disabled in militant violence, the GOC-in-C appreciated the prompt release of these payments in the last three months. It was disclosed that Rs. 36.50 lakh were received by the army this month while Rs. 5.99 crore have been released by the home department as ex-gratia recently. On the request of the GOC-in-C, the Chief Minister ordered that besides issuing necessary notification, the highest judicial authority would be requested to issue circulars for according priority to the legal cases of army personnel during their period of leave when they visit their homes so that their cases do not remain unattended or delayed while they are on duty. It was decided to fix a time frame for issuance of post-mortem reports of the deceased army personnel. In normal cases, these would be issued in 48 hours while in cases where chemical analysis of viscera is required, it should be given within three months. However, the Chief Minister asked the DGP to have this time frame reduced. To expedite the cases of land acquisition, settlement of rent etc., the deputy commissioners would hold monthly meetings to cut down red tape while it would be reviewed at quarterly meetings at the secretariat level. Among others, the meeting was attended by Financial Commissioners, Home and Finance, DGP and several principal secretaries and secretaries of the government. From army side, all the three Corps Commanders of 14,15 and 16 Corps, GOCs and sub-area commanders and other senior officers participated.


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