November 2016 News

Mehbooba Calls For CBMs, Hails Demonetization As Historic

28 November 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today reviewed security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in her separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi and stressed for initiating certain Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to apply balm on wounds of the people, hit by about five month long unrest, apart from reviewing with them the security situation in the State including the borders. Mehbooba reiterated her support to the Prime Minister's decision of demonetization describing it (the decision) as historical saying it would go long way in curbing the menace of fake currency and black money. In her separate meetings with the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Defence Minister and brief inter-action with media, Mehbooba said the Centre should reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and initiate CBMs to apply balm on wounds of the people. The Prime Minister was supportive of the move, an official handout issued by the State Government after Modi-Mehbooba meeting, said. The Chief Minister's call for reaching out to the people and initiating CBMs was reference to unrest in the Kashmir valley, which is set to complete five months now during which every section of society has been hit hard. She had yesterday demanded credit re-structuring for Jammu and Kashmir in her meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in view of the unrest. Inviting Prime Minister to visit Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba said some major projects in the State were nearing completion and she invited Modi for their inauguration. She didn't spell out the CBMs she wanted the Central Government to take but a number of them have already been mentioned in PDP-BJP Government's 'Agenda of Alliance' (AoA), to which both parties stand committed since formation of the Government. Sources said the Prime Minister could visit Jammu and Kashmir in the month of January if Chenani-Nashri tunnel was ready for inauguration while Home Minister Rajnath Singh was likely to visit the State in December. Mehbooba strongly came out in favour of Government's decision on demonetization describing the decision as historic. 'Yeh Mamooli Faisla Nahin Hai. Kuch Din Dikkat Hogi Logon Ko, Lekin Yeh Mulk Kay Liye Historical Saabit Hoga (This is not an ordinary decision. The people would face problems for some days but it would turn out to be a historical decision for the country),' she said. Contending that demonetization move will lead to improvement in development for the country, she said: 'there was no development for the last 70 years. No proper infrastructure, hospital, roads, water etc. In the coming days the improvement of the country will be speedy because of the Prime Minister's decision.' Speaking to reporters, the Chief Minister said the situation in Kashmir is improving. 'I discussed (with PM) how we can apply balm to the wounds of the people of Kashmir and talked about keeping a peaceful environment in the Valley,' she said. 'The situation (in Kashmir) is improving gradually. I am happy that the students sat for the exams despite all this hardship. I congratulate the parents for this,' she added. She said people of the country should visit Kashmir and allow the people to Kashmir to welcome them and provide them their services. Mehbooba later had half an hour long meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during which they discussed security situation in Jammu and Kashmir including about five months long unrest in the Kashmir valley, which had started on July 8 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. 'All aspects of security situation were reviewed in the meeting,' sources said. Mehbooba is reported to have briefed the Home Minister that situation is gradually limping back to normalcy in the Valley after about five month long unrest. An official handout issued by the State Government said Mehbooba pointed out to the Prime Minister that every segment of the society has suffered immensely in the State during past few months due to the turmoil. She mentioned urgency of taking Jammu and Kashmir specific Confidence Building Measures to address the concerns of the people of the State. 'The Prime Minister was supportive of the ideas of the Chief Minister and assured her all support from the Central Government,' the handout said. The Chief Minister also brought into the notice of the Prime Minister the demand for additional funding for Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES) in view of huge number of beneficiaries living in far flung and border areas, who have not yet been able to take benefit of the scheme properly. Mehbooba requested for a Central package of incentives for industries in Jammu and Kashmir given the fact that business activity in the State remained extremely low during this summer. She sought 50 per cent quota in All India Services for the officers of Jammu and Kashmir cadre. Mehbooba sought opening of more cross-LoC trade and travel points and regularization of Nepal route for youths who had crossed over to PoK but now want to return to the state to start their life afresh. During her meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Mehbooba sought opening of more trade and travel routes across Line of Control (LoC0 to facilitate more people to people contacts. The Chief Minister also sought regularization of Nepal route for youths, who had gone to Pakistan occupied Kashmir years ago but now want to return and start their life afresh, an official statement said. Mehbooba sought fast tracking of Prime Minister's Development projects, revision of ex-gratia scheme and increase in the honorarium of the SPOs. In her meeting with the Defence Minister, Mehbooba sought revision of rent on the land under use of the Army, revision of compensation to population affected by firing ranges besides more recruitment of youths from the state in the Territorial Army. Both the Union Ministers assured the Chief Minister that the issues raised by her would be fast tracked for settlement, the statement said. The Chief Minister also took up with the Home Minister and the Defence Minister the situation prevailing along Line of Control and International Border, which was, however, peaceful for the past few days now. She stressed for construction of individual bunkers for the population living within firing and shelling range of Pakistan to protect them during the shelling. Mehbooba Mufti also raised the issue of revision of ex gratia scheme in the State. She sought revision of existing rates of compensation and ex-gratia and also including some new components like loss of livestock in the scheme. In her meeting with the Defence Minister, Mehbooba Mufti sought handing over of the land at Tattoo Ground, Srinagar to the State Government so that the same could be used for promotion of tourism activities and creation of long space for the city, in view of the centrality of the location. She also demanded revision of rent on the land under use of the Army in the State. The Chief Minister asked for enhancement of rates of compensation to population affected by firing ranges in various parts of the State as the livelihood of many in the villages depends on the income from such pieces of land. She also requested for extension of the facility for airlifting of civilians by Air Force (including casualties like accidental cases, blast cases and suffering from terminal ailments) from the far flung areas which get cut off from mainland during winters due to snowfall and other natural vagaries. She also sought recruitment of more youth from the State in the Territorial Army. The Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister of a speedy response on the demands raised by her.