STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: Observing that the conduct of elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly is the prerogative of the Election Commission, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday said the situation for the democratic exercise is conducive and the final call to hold the polls in 2022 or 2023 will be taken by the Commission.
“Whoever wants to work for the people here will be the Chief Minister”, Sinha said while replying to questions about the BJP wanting to have a Hindu CM during premier show ‘Press Conference’ by ABP national television channel held in Srinagar, adding that the decision lies with the people but the Chief Minister will be from Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the Delimitation Commission has completed its report and the Election Commission is expeditiously carrying out various processes. The electoral rolls, updated till 2015, are undergoing revision, he added.
Replying to a question about Jammu division getting enhanced seats in the Legislative Assembly, he said the process has been carried out by the Commission after holding interactions with the people. He elaborated on the political process and said that 30, 000 chosen representatives in the Panchayat Raj Institutions are fulfilling the aspirations of the people while Jammu and Kashmir has five MPs in the Lok Sabha. This too is a political process, he said.
On being asked if the frontier states should be governed by the Central government or have elections, he stated that the beauty of democracy is the centre and state governments working together.
To a question about restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said the Home Minister is on record having stated in Parliament that the decision will be taken at appropriate time after having delimitation of constituencies and then elections. He said that the Government of India is capable of the same and it will be done at appropriate time.
On completion of three years of the abrogation of Article 370, the Lieutenant Governor said that three major achievement have been registered, which include the marginalized people getting their rights, new era of peace dawning and all round development taking place, New J&K treading on the path of progress and transparency remaining hallmark of the governance.
He spoke on a volley of subjects, ranging from development to investments. He said that huge investments are being made in Jammu and Kashmir. There are proposals of Rs 56,000 crore investments and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had kick started the schemes in a Jammu village on April 24 this year. Dubai companies are investing. Rapid development work is going on and the projects involving around Rs 38,000 crore investments are currently underway. On other fronts, he said the number of flights from Srinagar Airport has increased from 33-32 daily to 110 and 6 from Jammu Airport to 44. He said the road network has got a special impetus. Good roads are being laid. The Jammu-Srinagar journey being undertaken in 11 hours earlier is now possible in five and half hours. He said the day is not far when the distance will be covered in four and half hours.
We are trying to increase tourism; the Lieutenant Governor said adding that the government is endeavouring to bring some tourist destinations, hitherto unexplored, on the tourism map of Jammu and Kashmir. “Some places are known to the country and the world. Although some places are not known to the people of the country and the world, we are working for this”, he said.
Sinha countered the question about the role of the bureaucracy, asserting that it (the bureaucracy) is not a hindrance in the holistic development work.
When asked about some opposition leaders having been put under house arrest, Sinha quipped, “Not a single political worker is under house arrest”.
Regarding terrorism in the Valley, the Lieutenant Governor said there has been a decline in terrorist incidents. The security forces have edge over terrorists. Terror is being effectively tackled. He said that in the past three years, not a single innocent person has been killed by the Army, Police or the Security Forces’ bullets. He said that narco terrorism is emerging as a big challenge and the neighbouring country is pushing youth to wall. He said several initiatives are being taken to keep the youth away from terror and drug addiction. In this context, he referred to the rehabilitation programmes being undertaken by the Social Welfare Department.
“We have clearly said that do not touch the innocent and do not spare the guilty-Be-Gunah Ko Chero Mat Aur Gunahgar Ko Chorro Mat”. He said that Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing an era of peace and prosperity. Today the government is establishing peace, earlier the peace used to be bought, he said, adding that his administration has been very successful in winning the trust of the people.
The Lieutenant Governor said the government is on the way to fulfill the policy of settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir in terms of housing and employment for them. As part of rehabilitation, 6000 posts and 6000 flats have to be put in place. While 3000 posts had been filled up, the process for filling up the remaining vacancies is gaining momentum. He said 1200 flats will be ready by October this year and within a year and half the target of accommodation is likely to be completed fully. He also referred to the launch of a portal for registering complaints by the Kashmiri Migrants-Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs-and said that 6,000 of the 8,000 complaints have been disposed of while 2,400 kanals of land has been retrieved.
Sinha said the people of Kashmir strongly believe that Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits. He said Sufism is the ethos of the land of Rishis and saints and hoped that this great tradition will restore the pristine glory of the Valley. He also referred to the spiritual ethos of Lala Ded.
When asked about the response to the Ghar Ghar Tiranga Campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said that the people are enthused. He made an appeal to the people to make the campaign a success.
In a round of rapid-fire questions, Manoj Sinha said that he puts all of his capabilities and mind for the people here and that likes his gubernatorial assignment in Jammu and Kashmir.