May 2016 News

Sainik Colony: PDP Turns Tables, Says Omar Abdullah Govt Gave Land

10 May 2016
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: Turning the tables on former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who has persistently slammed the Mehbooba Mufti government for apparently paving the way for setting up of sainik colonies in Jammu & Kashmir, the PDP Tuesday blamed Omar's NC-Congress government for initiating the process to establish these colonies in the Valley. 'We are not establishing any sainik colony here,' state Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said. 'We have told them (the Rajya Sainik Board, or RSB) that we don't have any land available in Srinagar.' Read | Sainik colony: Omar Abdullah dares Mehbooba Mufti to file a case against him While giving details of all meetings since 2011, Akhtar said the process to establish sainik colonies in Kashmir was started when Omar was the CM. 'Some people have given it (establishment of sainik colony) a new dimension, saying that the PDP-BJP government has a hidden agenda,' he said. 'The whole business started in the 73rd meeting of the Rajya Sainik Board in 2011.' That meeting, he stressed, was the 'point of initiation'. Giving details of subsequent RSB meetings, Akhtar said then CM Omar Abdullah had himself participated in these meetings, barring the 76th RSB in 2014. 'The secretary (RSB) briefed that the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir had agreed for allotment in the old airfield area, and accordingly the required documents were under preparation for acquisition of said land for establishment of sainik colony at Srinagar,' Akhtar said, quoting the 76th meeting of RSB held during Omar's tenure. 'He (Omar) was not part of it (himself) but his chief secretary and principal secretary were part of this meeting, ' he added. Although Mehbooba Mufti had on Saturday said that she does not know about any sainik colony proposal, Akhtar acknowledged that there was a communication between RSB and the government, which read that the government has agreed to allot 173 kanals of land for establishment of sainik colony in Srinagar. But the RSB, he said, has demanded more land. The Indian Express had reported on Friday about the official communication between RSB and J & K's Home department. But, Akhtar said, 'Neither the (then) chief minister (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) nor his principal secretary was present in the meeting.'