Kargil, Aug 19: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today hoped the remarks made by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi about Kashmir during his Independence Day speech would bring about a welcome change in the State as it did during the previous tenure of former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Addressing a public meeting at Hussaini Park here, the Chief Minister recalled the turnaround Jammu and Kashmir witnessed after 2002 and how many people friendly steps were taken which improved the situation in the State and between the two neighbouring countries.
She hoped the acrimony between Indian and Pakistan would give way to peace and friendship in the near future.
Mehbooba Mufti said her party has been advocating dialogue, reconciliations and peaceful means of conflict resolution ever since its inception and during its earlier regime in 2002 her Party got it executed on the ground to a large extent.
Pitching strongly for opening more historic routes across LoC in the State, Mehbooba Mufti said she has taken up opening of Kargil-Skardu road with the Centre and exuded confidence that with its opening Jammu and Kashmir would become hub of economic activities as it would act as gateway to Central Asia.
The Chief Minister said her Party had promised construction of a tunnel on Zojila pass and soon work would start on it which on completion would mitigate all connectivity problems of the region. She said the road network in the town would be further improved for which she announced the release of R 15 crore.
She said her Government has already doubled the honorarium for teachers working in the region.
On the demands put forth, the Chief Minister directed the R&B Department to conduct survey of Panikhar-Kishtwar road which would further improve the inter regional connectivity in the State.
She also announced to look into exploring the possibility of air service and take up the issue of railway line to Kargil with the Railway Minister. She said connecting regions in the State is a part of her Government’s developmental agenda.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister kickstarted a water supply scheme for the town to be built at a cost of s 12 crore and which would benefit a population of around 50 thousand in the town. She also laid foundation of a distribution network costing s 19.20 crore which would be completed by the end of next financial year.
Mehbooba Mufti also laid the foundation of Rs. 6.93 crore Das Drethang road which would improve the intra district connectivity in Kargil.
Enroute for two kilometres children welcomed Mehbooba Mufti with playcards and welcome slogans.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh in his address said present Government has targeted Kargil for massive development. He said with the efforts of the Chief Minister and considerate view of the central Government, Kargil and Leh towns have been included under the AMRUT scheme for improving civic facilities.
Minister for R&B, Naeem Akhtar in his speech said the Government has carved out a separate Highways division at Kargil to expedite construction on and maintenance of road networks in the area. He said work on Zijila tunnel would not be started from one point but at five times concurrently.
Minister for Education, Syed Altaf Bukhari in his address said the educational infrastructure in the district is being prioritised by the Government, given its far flungness and connectivity problems. He said the promotion and placement issues of the teaching staff of the district would be resolved soon.
Chairman, Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali thanked the Chief Minister for taking keen interest in the developmental needs of the district. He particularly thanked her for getting Zojila tunnel sanctioned, getting Kargil included under AMRUT scheme and other steps. He hoped under the present dispensation Kargil would get justice for much of the developmental negligence done in the past.
CEC, LAHDC, Kargil, Kachoo Ahmad Ali also addressed the public meeting.
The Chief Minister also announced the release of Rs 10 crore in favour of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil for meeting out many of its liabilities by prioritising the respective sectors. She also announced release of Rs. One Crore for improving Muharram arrangements in the district.
Addressing the members of Hill Council here this evening during her tour of the district, the Chief Minister said her Government is conscious of the specific developmental needs of Ladakh region in view of its limited connectivity.
She said the construction of Zojila tunnel on Srinagar-Kargil road is a gift to the people of the region adding that it has been decided that work on the tunnel would start simultaneously at five places to expedite the work and complete it early.
Mehbooba Mufti said the under construction District hospital complex and LAHDC secretariat building would be given a further push to get them completed early.
Also she said the Kargil Degree College would be augmented in terms of courses, facilities and infrastructure.
The Chief Minister said transfer back of Kharbathang Plateau from Army has been taken up with Ministry of Defence and if need be she would speak to the Prime Minister in this regard. She said the poor connectivity issues would be taken up with Telecom Ministry for early redressal.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh in his address said the civic needs of the town would be duly taken care of by his Department. He said he would be directing setting up of solid waste management facility in the town soon.
He said the J&K Housing Board would be setting up its office in the town to respond to the growing housing needs. He said around 18 villages in Ladakh region are targeted to be electrified this year by the Government.
Chairman, Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali; Minister for R&B, Naeem Akhtar; Minister for Education, Syed Altaf Bukhari; CEC, LAHDC, Kargil, Kachoo Ahmad Ali also addressed the meeting.
Legislators, Asgar Karbalai and Agha Syed Baqir Rizvi; Executive Councillors of Hill Council; Deputy Commissioner; Superintendent of Police; Councillors; officers of district administration were present in the meeting.
Chief Minister also condemned the killing of Ishaq Parray of Dialgam, Anantnag today by unidentified gunmen.
In a statement, the Chief Minister described the killing as dastardly and inhuman.
She said she has always maintained that violence is not the way to further a political cause but certainly violence has torn apart the social fabric of the State over the past 30 years.
Mehbooba Mufti has expressed her condolences with the bereaved family.