Azad justifies creation of 4 new districts in Valley
26 August 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Stoutly defending decision of his Government to create four new districts in Kashmir valley, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today asserted that he didn't succumb to any pressure from any quarter while implementing Wazir commission recommendations. He disclosed that different political groups of Kashmir were demanding only two districts but the Government gave them four. 'I didn't want to give any impression that the first Chief Minister from Jammu region has discriminated with the Kashmir valley while taking this historical decision', he said, adding, 'this was for the first time in 58 years that a person from Jammu has become Chief Minister of the State and, therefore, it was wrong to give more share to this region as compared to the Valley'. 'For us Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are one political identity so our policies and programmes are guided by the aspirations and wishes of the people of these three regions', Mr Azad said while addressing Jashan-e-Jammu function organised by the Panthers Party to celebrate creation of four new districts in Jammu region. Without naming any political party, he said that during the last 58 years a 'politically motivated' myth was created that the Chief Minister of the State must be from a particular region. 'For their petty political interests, some groups had created this misconception to exploit sentiments of the people', Mr Azad said but added that general masses were least concerned about region of the Chief Minister. 'Only concern of the common people is good governance and development', he observed and appreciated Kashmiri intelligentsia as well masses for not raking up this issue during last eight months. 'Since November 2005 neither intelligentsia nor common people of the Valley have raised any issue about regional background of the Chief Minister', he said adding that misconception on the Chief Minister of Jammu was created by some political groups, who used this myth as a tool to accomplish their nefarious designs. Without naming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr Azad said that instead of expressing anguish over creating equal number of districts in Jammu and Kashmir provinces, these groups should feel proud that first Chief Minister from Jammu region has done justice with all parts of the State. In an obvious reference towards previous State Governments for meting out step motherly treatment to some areas of Jammu region, Mr Azad said, it was very unfortunate that even after 58 years of Independence no step was taken to provide road connectivity in some hilly areas of Doda and Udhampur districts. 'Backwardness in some parts of Doda and Udhampur reflects discriminatory policies propagated by the previous regimes', he said and pointed towards backwardness in Ramban, Banihal, Gool, Arnas, Dacchan, Marwah, Wadwan and some other areas. The Chief Minister appreciated 58 years long struggle of the people of Jammu region for equal development. 'As far as delivering justice is concerned, people of Jammu never discriminated with each other on the basis of religion', he asserted. Exhorting the people to frustrate designs of the forces who want to create division among masses, he said that fundamentalism and communalism were the biggest challenges before the State. 'For political gains, some groups have been exploiting religious sentiments and raking up regional issues', he rued but cautioned the people against these forces. Pointing towards implementation of Wazir Commission report, Mr Azad said that it was result of 25 years long struggle of the people of Jammu irrespective of their political affiliations. 'Long struggle of people yielded result and justice was ultimately given to some far-flung areas of this region', he said. The Chief Minister assured the gathering that ruling coalition was committed to implement all issues incorporated in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). He announced that new districts, sub-divisions and tehsils will start functioning from first day of the next financial year and their Deputy Commissioners and other staff will be posted before ending March. He further announced that the Finance Commission will be set up within 10 days while as Delimitation Committee for demarcating boundaries of new districts has already started functioning. Reiterating his Government's commitment to eradicate corruption, Mr Azad said Jammu and Kashmir has the proud distinction of being the only State in the country where law has been enacted to confiscate ill-gotten property of the proven corrupt Government servants. 'Five such cases have already been taken up while as 50 more cases are under scanning', he added. The Chief Minister also thanked Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in particular for their whole hearted support in fast socio-economic development of the people of the State. Mr Azad complimented Rishi Kumar Koushal for launching struggle for creation of Reasi district. Speaking on the occasion, Panthers Party supremo, Prof Bhim Singh termed Mr Azad as pride of the nation. He said that Mr Azad is a visionary leader who has commitment and courage and doing what others could not do. He announced that if Mr Azad would not have taken over as Chief Minister of the State, creation of new districts would have never materialised. Transport Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma while addressing the function said that creating of new districts was result of the struggle of the people. Harshdev Singh, former Education Minister, said that Mr Azad has taken a bold, historic and visionary decision and it will help in ensuring faster development and prosperity of the State. Lok Sabha member, Madan Lal Sharma, R&B Minister, Gulchain Singh Charak, former MLA and Praja Parishad leader, Rishi Kumar Koushal, legislators, corporators and senior citizens attended the function. Eminent writer and director, Balwant Thakur enthralled the audience by famous Dogri play 'Baba Jitto'.