Eager To Put Governance Back On Track: Omar

30 December 2008
The Hindu

New Delhi: Chief Minister-designate of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Tuesday emphasised that the new government was eager to adopt a two-pronged approach of putting governance back on rails and heal the wounds following the Amarnath shrine board turbulence that hit the State this summer. “I will immediately work to put the government back on track after turmoil the State suffered during the summer and heal the wounds that arose on account of it,” Mr. Abdullah told journalists at his residence. Aware that the large turnout in the election meant that the people had spoken for development and a government that seeks to address basic issues like water, power and roads, Mr. Abdullah said he did realise that the youth in Jammu and Kashmir would like to have the same facilities and opportunities as people in other parts of the country. Stating that he did not believe in political vindictiveness, the NC president said he would prefer to work with the same set of bureaucrats starting from the top. “I do not have a problem so long as they owe allegiance to the people of the State not my party. I do not have a list of 300 officers whom I want to transfer,” he said. Mr. Abdullah also promised to check corruption. With the support of the strong leadership of the Congress and the NC, he felt that it would be easier to crack the whip. As part of it, he plans to usher in greater transparency in administration, introduce e-governance, strengthen Right to Information on the lines of one at the Centre and also suggest to the coalition to set up a judicial committee to go into the issue of what development took place in the State and see how best to redress grievances of regional imbalance. He also promised to address the issue of Kashmiri youth jailed in the State and elsewhere. The Chief Minister-designate said while the separatists were down, it would be wrong to assume they were out. At the same time, he said, the separatist leaders should introspect. He said the Centre should try to hold talks with them but in the same breath said for that to happen the separatist leaders should respond. Taking a dig at the People’s Democratic Party, he said, it seemed that the party leadership was desperate to keep the NC from coming to power. Mr. Abdullah said he was also eager to see how the PDP and the BJP would work together in the Opposition. However, he said, it does not matter for the National Conference if PDP continued to be in the United Progressive Alliance. Mr. Abdullah said the new government would carry forward the development works initiated by the previous regime. “I am eager to hit the road and kick-start development.”