Azad for easing travel restrictions across LoC
17 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday that three-pronged strategy put in place to address all issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir has yielded encouraging results. 'Not only dialogue process between India and Pakistan is on fast track but development and restoration of normalcy in the State has also received a considerable fillip', he added He was addressing well attended public meetings at Surankote and Mendhar in Poonch district. Mr. Azad said that in the next roundtable conference at New Delhi on April 24 the State Government would urge for simplifying travel procedure across Line of Control. 'We will be discussing how to make the travel easier and comfortable from both sides of LoC', he announced He said the Government of India has already taken up the matter with Government of Pakistan that people on both sides of LoC should be allowed to visit religious places besides facilitating cultural exchange, exchange of students and media persons as well as trade. In this connection, he said, the roads are being appropriately widened and upgraded. The Chief Minister observed that sudden illness, death or marriage in the divided families also required simplification of procedure for travel across LoC. 'We would also like that Kargil-Askardu, Jhangar-Mirpur Kotli and Suchetgarh-Sialkote roads are opened for travel, tourism and trade', he asserted. Expressing hope that all political parties, ethnic groups, opinion leaders from all three regions would participate in the roundtable conference, he added that during last about 60 years, for the first time a viable platform in the shape of roundtable conference has been provided to address all issues. Improvement in relations between India and Pakistan has restored peace in border areas, resulting in normal agricultural and other activities, he noted Reiterating importance of peace in development process, Mr Azad said that peaceful and conducive atmosphere is a must for speedier and integrated development. Urging people to maintain mutual amity and secular traditions, he said India’s glory and strength lies in its composite culture, secular ethos and democratic values. Mr. Azad laid foundation of building of Government Degree College at Mendhar estimated to cost Rs. 5 crore. The complex would be constructed within a period of 12 to 16 months. He also announced that other subjects including Science stream would also be introduced in the college in next two years with the construction of laboratories and other accommodation. He also announced construction of several link roads in Surankote and Mendhar constituencies to provide connectivity to far-flung areas on the occasion. Member Parliament Madan Lal Sharma, addressing the meetings, enumerated historic decisions taken by Mr. Azad for massive infrastructure development of the State and ensuring all round socio-economic progress of people. Member Parliament Ch. Mohammad Aslam lauded the visionary leadership of Mr. Azad and said that State under his stewardship is witnessing a new era of peace and prosperity.