Don't pitch Jammu against Kashmir: Omar23 March 2010
The Daily Excelsior
SRINAGAR: Asserting that there was no divide over the rehabilitation policy for militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who want to return home, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said unnecessary efforts should not be made to pitch Jammu region against the Valley on issues which were common to the entire State. 'Why are you keen to trigger Jammu versus Kashmir,' the Chief Minister said in response to a question on the sidelines of a function here. A reporter had asked Omar on the Government decision not to issue any new liquor licenses and its effects on business in Jammu. 'Why are you trying to project that Jammu is a great imbiber of alcohol and Kashmir is not. I have not doubt that any attempts to stamp out social evils in any part of the State will be recognized, be it in Jammu, Kashmir or any other part of the State,' he added. Answering a barrage of questions, Omar said there was no divide on the State's upcoming policy of rehabilitation for the youth who had gone to PoK for arms training but now want to return home and lead a peaceful life. 'There is absolutely no divide on rehabilitation policy,' he added. Asked about the National Conference strategy about the upcoming local bodies' elections in the State, the Chief Minister said only the party president Dr Farooq Abdullah and general secretary Sheikh Nazir Ahmad were authorized to speak on the issue. 'The role of the Government is limited to making arrangements for the local bodies' elections, to prepare the electoral rolls and ensure that the conditions are conducive for the polls and people come out to vote,' he said. Omar said the local body elections should not be seen like Parliament elections as the grass root level polls were primarily concerning the development. 'A proposal is to not have the elections along the party lines so that these polls are not politicized,' he added. On the removal of his hoardings installed by Department of Information and Public Relations at many places in the State, the Chief Minister said 'I am not a great fan of self publicity. When I have something to say, I will come out (with it) in a public meeting … I do not want to burden the State.' On the recent meeting of moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq with an official Chinese delegation in Geneva, Omar said the issue did not fall under the purview of the State Government. 'It is the Centre which has to look into it.' About the upcoming tourist season in the Valley, the Chief Minister said 'tourism is an economic activity for us and we would like people from all over the world to come here and feel the beauty of the place.' He said tourism was the backbone of the State's economy as a large section of people earn a livelihood from it. He said he would not like to make any comments about the situation as some vested interests try to disturb the peace in reaction to such statements. Earlier, addressing a gathering at Yor-khushipora in Devsar constituency of South Kashmir, Omar said that the year 2010 has been denoted as the year of transfer of power to grass roots. He said Panchayats and Local Bodies elections are scheduled during the current year. He asked the people to elect their representatives and be active partners in policy planning and implementation of works. Mr. Abdullah said that Panchayats and Local Bodies have important role to play in the reconstruction of new Jammu and Kashmir. 'Government is keen to transfer power to these democratically elected bodies so that area specific needs of the people are taken care of and development carried on as per requirements of the people', he said maintaining that these institutions will also help to ensure judicious spending of funds and creating dependable and useful public service infrastructure. Reiterating his Government’s commitment for upholding human rights at all costs, the Chief Minister citing the example of Nishat boy said that for the first time forces handed over the accused officer and personnel to Jammu and Kashmir Police for investigation against the charges of killing an innocent. 'This vindicates the State’s firm commitment for HR and zero tolerance against violation of human rights under any circumstances'. The Chief Minister said that Government is committed to the promises made to the people during electioneering and measures have already been taken to catapult the State’s economy and open avenues for faster development and progress in all the three regions of the State. Without naming PDP, he said like others we are not raising hollow slogans and deceiving people by promising two employments to every household. 'We had promised a holistic employment policy and SKEWPY is before you', he said adding that the promise for stipend to the economically weaker youth has also been taken care of under this policy. Omar said that creation of job opportunities both in the Government and private sectors as also the enhancement of employability has been flagged as the top most concern of the Government. 'My Government provided over 21000 jobs to the educated youth in Government services, in just one year as against less then 6500 by the PDP Government in their three years of governance', he said adding that new avenues are also being opened for the boys and girls to get jobs in private sector and also venture in economic activities by themselves. The Chief Minister referring to the representation of South Kashmir in the Government, in Legislature and in the Parliament said that equal care has been made in this direction. 'Your area is amply represented in all the important forums', he said asking the people to strengthen their rank and file. Omar also warned the people of vested interests and urged them not to be led astray by the false propaganda and deceitful politics. 'Be united to make National Conference once again your strongest fortress as it symbolizes your aspirations and stands for equitable development of all the regions and unity, amity, secular traditions of the State. 'This party has successfully passed the tests of the time upholding the cause of people of Jammu and Kashmir'. Mr. Abdullah said that under the Budget 2010-11 special attentions has been paid to improve the conditions of farming community and help boost the agriculture production in the State. 'The agricultural inputs have been relieved of the burden of taxes to help farmers utilize improved seed varieties, fertilizers and take to mechanized farming. We are also making agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and allied sectors more lucrative and viable means for youth to venture in for economic activities', he said. Omar said that Government is mulling a proposal to introduce mobile veterinary centre in the State to ensure 100 percent health coverage of live-stock and give fillip to this economically important sector which provides vast field for youth to earn independent livelihood and revolutionize the animal and poultry rearing activities. The Chief Minister responding to the local demand for sports field said that his Government is paying attention to the development of sports all across the State and over Rs 25 crore have been earmarked for this purpose in the first phase. He asked the district administration to identify the place for sports field in Devsar area. The public meeting was also addressed by Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo, Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani, Member Parliament, Dr Mehboob Beig, provincial president NC, Ali Mohammad Dar, Former Minister, Ghulam Ahmed Shah and the local leader Mohammad Rafiq Khan.