January 2018 News

Kashmir Was A Cosmopolitan State Before 1947: Naeem

22 January 2018
Rising Kashmir
Sameer Showkin Lone

Jammu: Senior PDP leader and Works Minister Naeem Akhtar Monday said Kashmir was a 'cosmopolitan state' before 1947, but history changed after Aazadi. 'Unfortunately the history changed after independence and a big wall came into existence. All the roads that connected us with rest of the world got closed,' Akhtar said in his speech in Legislative Assembly over grants on his department. He went on saying that Kashmir is the only place in the world where people even today have to switch on the radio to know if the highway is open. 'We have to switch on the radio and listen if the national highway is through (open). Whether the traffic is from Jammu or Srinagar or vice versa,'Akhtar said. Akhtar said he met union minister for Roads Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and narrated him the whole story and got sanctioned some key projects that would widen the interstate and intrastate connectivity, besides opening of some all weather roads. 'I told Gadkari that we have to rely on radio and know whether the road is open or closed,' he said. Akhtar said he admits that the Ramban-Banihal is still vulnerable. 'More tunnels need to be built to make Srinagar-Jammu Highway an all weather tunnel,' he said, adding, he has taken up the issue with Gadkari and the project has been sanctioned for final processing. Akhtar talked about some key developments works that have been completed under his ministry. He told the house that the new national highway from Srinagar-Qazigund will be through next month. 'It will take us just one hour now, otherwise it used to take four to five hours from Srinagar to Qazigund,' he said. Akhtar said the state government has constraints and not financial crisis. 'The schemes of GoI are like a sea. Only what one needs is ability to do the shikaar (hunt),' he said. 'I have worked with Ali Mohammad Sagar. He has been a learned ex-minister. I have worked with him. I would like to take suggestions from you as well how we can work for the best of the state,' Akhtar said while pointing towards Sagar. He asked Sagar to keep his hand on heart and admit if 'I have done anything'. 'What you are saying me privately...tell it here in the house as well,' Akhtar added. Later, the opposition both Congress and National Conference staged walk out accusing the Works Minister of failing to answer their questions. The grants on R&B were passed in absence of the Opposition.