Clash on Srinagar: Baig, Sagar trade charges18 March 2011
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: The National Conference and PDP MLAs today had heated exchanges in the Legislative Assembly after PDP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig voiced concern over lack of development of Srinagar triggering a strong protest from Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, who said several development works in the summer capital were stopped by the previous PDP Government. Participating in debate on the grants of Housing and Urban Development Departments, Mr Baig quoted an all India survey on Indian cities saying Srinagar has slipped to 420th place in a total of 424 cities of the country in the matter of facilities. 'Still we call Kashmir as Switzerland and Srinagar Venice of India', he said. He added that the survey showed that only four cities were behind Srinagar in the facilities across the country. Asserting that he was not blaming Housing and Urban Development Minister Tara Chand for the people as he had taken charge of the Department only two years back, Mr Baig said the previous PDP Government got Dal and Nigeen lakes nominated as world heritage bodies under which the United Nations provide relief for the people ousted for its preservation. He also called for development of Jammu water bodies. The PDP leader called for framing a Housing Policy with a vision. Mr Baig's comments on lack of development of Srinagar irked Mr Sagar, who represents Khanyar Assembly segment in Srinagar district. Intervening in the debate, he said the PDP Government during its tenure had stopped several important development works in Srinagar especially in the constituencies of NC MLAs including his own segment of Khanyar. 'When we were in Opposition during the PDP Government, I had several times protested and created uproar in the Assembly. Srinagar district was given lowest ever allocation of Rs 45 crore. I had said that a grave injustice is being done with Srinagar', the Minister said. Mr Sagar charged the PDP with sending a wrong message about recruitment of 200 youth of Khanyar in Police Department saying everybody knows that the town was rocked by violence and the recruitment was necessary to curb the unrest among youth. He said only those youth, who were fit were recruited, and denounced the PDP for making an issue out of nothing. Mr Baig said it was for the Housing and Urban Development Minister to reply to his points and not for Mr Sagar. PDP MLAs-Abdul Rehman Veeri and Abdul Gaffar Sofi were on their feet charging the NC Government with doing nothing for development of Srinagar. 'The people of Srinagar are witness as to which party has done development works for them. Your Government only did discrimination with Srinagar and its people', Mr Sagar lamented. Naming a number of roads, whose works were stopped during the PDP regime, the Minister regretted that Mr Baig was today voicing concern over development of Srinagar for which he did nothing when he was in power. The remarks of Mr Sagar were strongly resented by the PDP MLAs-Mr Veeri, Mr Sofi and Rafi Ahmed Mir saying the PDP Government had done a lot for development of Srinagar. 'Your concern for Srinagar should be practical', Mr Sagar said. Mr Baig remarked that he didn't want a quarrel with Mr Sagar and would reply to the charges when he speaks on the grants of the Chief Minister's Departments in the Assembly, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. 'I will tell you what we did for Srinagar', he said. It may be mentioned here that all eight MLAs of Srinagar district belonged to the National Conference in the present regime.