Azad expects major relief for J&K people at next roundtable
9 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Jammu: In sharp contrast to his power partner PDP's hype on the road to Muzaffarabad and Islamabad, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today announced that each and every village in Jammu & Kashmir would be linked to the metalled road network in the next four years. He asserted that all the positive indicators of development-from Centre- State relation to flow of funds from the Union capital-were today unprecedented in the case of Jammu & Kashmir in the last 60 years. Addressing a mammoth public meeting, attended by more than 10,000 people at Raithan in Budgam district, Chief Minister Azad complained that politics of false emotions had turned out to be the worst impediment in the way of Jammu and Kashmir's growth and development in the last over five decades. He said that one of the economically depressed states in India, J&K was today in need of development- roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, power projects, hospitals and water plants. He said that Khushaal Kashmir was his dream, being realised with substantial monetary support from New Delhi. Chief Minister claimed that the indicators of development, available today, had never been this much bright in J&K in the last 60 years. 'From Centre-State relations to flow of funds, J&K is today enjoying the best support from New Delhi. He said that a whopping sum of Rs 2,400 crore was being spent on widening, upgrading and black-topping of roads in Budgam district in the next two years. Addressing highly receptive and jubilant audiences, Azad made a public commitment that three major arteries-Srinagar-Budgam-Raithan- Arizal, Srinagar-Chrar-e-Sharief and Nowgam-Newa road would be commissioned with the expenditure of Rs 800 crores in the next 1-2 years. He said that widening into two-lane road and upgradation of the entire length of 30-Km-long Humhama-Arizal road, for which he laid the foundation stone earlier today, would be completed in the next 18 to 24 months. Facing utter neglect of administration, Budgam has been craving for a stable road connectivity. While Humhama- Budgam and Bemina-Budgam patches have been dilapidated and dotted with depressions, Government has failed to complete a concrete bridge on Flood Spill Channel at Bemina in the last eight years. Besides, the all important 12- Km-long Srinagar-Bemina-Budgam road has been in worst possible condition for over decade now. Obviously and understandably, Azad's announcement of three roads and laying the foundation stone of Humhama-Raithan-Arizal road delighted his audiences at Raithan. He said that in addition to Rs 65 cr on the three main arteries, Government, through ERA, was spending a sum of Rs 35 cr on the construction of 18 bridges in Budgam district. Referring to 17 months of his tenure as Chief Minister, Azad said that execution of works worth Rs 24,000 under Prime Minister's J&K package was progressing well. He said that 16,000 girls had been engaged in 8,000 Anganwari centres even as 13,000 more were being engaged for 6,500 new centres this year. While 17,000 unemployed youth were being recruited into Government service through SSRB and PSC, about 15,000 youth were being appointed in 15 new battalions of J&K Police for which funds were being sought from the Centre. Besides, Rs 100 cr had been earmarked for self-employment schemes this year. Azad said that the damage caused by 'terrorism' in the last 17 years was being repaired with a massive developmental initiative with the help of Centre in Jammu & Kashmir. He said that remarkable improvement in the situation had been witnessed in the trouble-torn State after the ceasefire took effect three years back. He described thousands of orphans and women, turned widows by the gun culture, deserved to get a major relief which was well expected from the Prime Minister in his third roundtable conference of all political parties on Kashmir, likely to happen in the next two months. He said that the political parties had been engaged by the Prime Minister to find a resolution to the Kashmir crisis. According to him, progress achieved in the first two conferences would be unfolded and discussed at the third meeting in the next few weeks. Like in Wakora Ganderbal the other day, Azad stood clear of the hot but oblique anti-PDP rhetoric ['I don't speak lies and I don't drink wine'; 'Politicians here do entertain militants by night and shed crocodile tears for the hapless people by the day'] he had earlier spewed at public rallies at Langet and Kulgam. He, however, continued to refer to only 17 months of the coalition Government and, for the first time, asked his audiences to strengthen the 'Congress-PDF-CPM' axis. Minister of Transport and MLA of Khansahib, Hakeem Mohammad Yasin, who was Azad's host for today's public rally, also addressed the gathering alongwith CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami and JKPCC head Peerzada Sayed. Yasin, who is now reportedly planning to field his brother in Khansahib and contest from Budgam proper, had mobilised over 10,000 of his supporters for today's impressive show for the Chief Minister.