JAMMU: On the eve of 75th Independence Day, the Lt Governeor, manoj Sinha wished the people of Jammu and Kashmir a very Happy Independence Day.
He said that our great freedom fighters fiercely fought against all odds to ensure that our present generation can live in an independent and democratic nation. Today, we also salute those great souls of Jammu and Kashmir, whose sacrifices have protected and nurtured Jammu and Kashmir. On 12th March, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav said, “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” means the elixir of new ideas. The celebration of Independence Day 2021, is special for Jammu and Kashmir and the entire country, because today’s celebration, resolve, energy and enthusiasm of today’s new generation will shape the formidable base for the centenary celebration of Independence in 2047. In our ancient tradition, the 75th year is considered to be the time of trendsetter. It is the day of new determination. We must ponder what we have achieved in the past and what zenith we have to take Jammu and Kashmir to in the coming 25 years. 75 years ago our great freedom fighters had set some ideals, some goals for the people. Last year, on this pious occasion, I had shared with you the ideals of revered Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji – Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat. By following the path shown by him, we are trying to implement comprehensive and constructive programmes for social equality in Jammu and Kashmir.
The grass-root democracy has been strengthened, fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the common citizens. With the spirit of Kashmiriyat i.e. taking along all religions and creeds on development odyssey, we are achieving new milestones.
Since the flowers of progress bloom only in the land of love, our priority is to maintain peace and brotherhood in Jammu and Kashmir. This soil of Pirwar has always taught ‘Wahdat al-Wujud’, the unity of existence. From Shankaracharya temple to Hazrat Bal, the sound of oneness can be heard today. And Lal Ded’s words describe it beautifully-
Divvata Dehwar Vata,
Peth bon chuy eco vath.
Whether it is worship of Saguna, or devotion to Nirguna, God is one, and is present in every particle.
Raghunandan Sharma has written in his Sanskrit poetry collection ‘Prakrit Kashmiram’ – “Virmati na tathapi prapya vachayam vivaksha”.
Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with nature’s valuable gifts. But it is not just geographical beauty. It also has the energy of meditation of Sufi saints, sages, rishis and munis, who have awakened the humanity. The words of Nund Rishi descend from majestic Chinars and Deodars, while the voices of Habba Khatoon and Lalleshwari are heard from the high snow-capped peaks, he said.
The soul of the country is deeply connected with Jammu and Kashmir. From Vitasta to Ganga, from Lal Kila to Lal Chowk, let’s all walk together like co-travellers. This is the true message of 75th Independence Day Celebration.
Khud ko manvane ka,
Mujh ko bhi hunar aata hai,
Main wo Katra hoon,
Samundar mere ghar aata hai.
“Today, I pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Army, Para Military Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police, who have kept the unity, integrity of India intact with their amazing valor, courage and sacrifice. I am proud that Jammu and Kashmir Police has received 257 gallantry awards including Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra on the eve of Independence Day. I salute all the gallant heroes of Jammu & Kashmir Police. I also salute the family members of the Braveheart’s who sacrificed their lives while defending the sovereignty and integrity of the country,” he asserted.
We have decided that various places and institutions will be christened in the memory of freedom fighters, brave soldiers and personalities from different fields who have made invaluable contribution in the progress of Jammu and Kashmir. This will inspire the coming generations to become their worthy successors. I am sure that the stories of those who have made sacrifices for this elixir of freedom will awaken a new and re-energized Jammu and Kashmir. The memories of Maqbool Sherwani, Brigadier Rajendra Singh, Deputy SP Ayub Pandit, Mali Begum, Inspector Arshad Khan, Sub Inspector Altaf Ahmed, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, Lasa Kaul, Kanta Wazir and that of Sarvanand Kaul Premi, Dinanath Adim, Constable Yasin Tali, Lt. Umar Fayaz, Mohammad Deen Jagir, Mr. Punjab Singh, Mrs. Padma Sachdev, Mahmuda Shah, Deputy SP Aman Thakur, Deputy SP Manjit Singh and all such people will be revived in the coming days.
Dear brothers and sisters, while laying the foundation for a bright future, this is also the time to heal the old wounds. The administration has decided to constitute a mechanism to provide justice to those families, whose properties have been illegally bought under pressure or encroached upon by certain elements. I request all citizens to support the administration in this effort and set a new example of brotherhood for this universe.
We want to assure all citizens that whoever is trying to mislead the young people through proxy war, shall be given a befitting reply.
The neighboring country, which does not care for its own people, has been making a malicious attempt to instigate some of our youth. I call upon such misguided youngsters, that terrorism is a curse for peace and development. By misguiding you from the path of peace and progress, inimical forces are denying you the life of peace and dignity on this pious soil. In 2019, the Prime Minister had marked the beginning of a new era for Jammu and Kashmir. With your ability, energy and unparalleled patience, Jammu and Kashmir shall have a prosperous future. Carrying forward the four resolutions of the 75th year of independence viz; the power of public participation, the resolve of establishing a new Jammu and Kashmir, providing equal opportunities to all and technological development – we along-with youth of the Union territory can transform the entire Jammu and Kashmir into Shalamar garden once again.
Addressing a confident Jammu and Kashmir today, I would like to say that in-spite of two COVID-19 waves; we have completed 13,357 projects under various schemes last year. Several steps for public welfare are being taken. Our efforts are guided by the ideals of public participation, accountability, transparency, equitable and inclusive governance.
The highest priority has been given to social equity. The areas which were kept backward since independence are being transformed. The policies that have been implemented on the ground after 2019 have helped the Balmiki Samaj, Adivasis, Gurkha Samaj, daughters of Jammu and Kashmir, West Pakistani Refugees and Backward Classes to finally receive social justice for the first time in the history. In order to restore ancient glory and rights of the women of Jammu and Kashmir, countless schemes in the economic, social and educational fields have been launched. Everyone is being provided opportunities to lead a better life irrespective of religion, caste and class. Infinite doors for socio economic progress of youth have been opened. The achievements of the last one year in the fields of business, education, industry, science, agriculture and natural resources are proving to be a source of inspiration for the whole country.
It is the responsibility of the present to rectify the mistakes of the past. Therefore, the rule of social justice and equity has been established by eliminating rampant discrimination. I, myself saw the heartbreaking video of Radhika Gill, an educated daughter of the Balmiki community, in November 2018 where talent was strangulated by sanctions. Similarly, certain anti-national and anti-development elements are trying to incite the sentiments of the people regarding the new land laws. Changes have been made in the regressive land laws for the welfare of farmer because they needed permission even to plant and cut an apple orchard on their own land. A farmer with less than 4 Kanals of cultivable land was denied the high density plantation. By removing all these discrepancies, a progressive and development-oriented system has been implemented. We are determined to improve the standard of living of 70% people dependent on agriculture.
Dear brothers and sisters, “Yeh Jabr bhi dekhna hai, Tareekh ki nazrun ne, lamhoon ne khata ki thi, Sadiyun ne sazaa paayi”
The historical agony cannot be erased, but our efforts can definitely soothe the agitating nerves. Despite having the capacity to generate 20,000 MW hydropower only 3500 MW of electricity was harnessed after Independence. Under the directions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hydro projects worth 3400 MW have been approved in just two years. We will generate the same amount of electricity in the next four to five years that was generated in the last seven decades.
The dilapidated electricity infrastructure is being improved with the help of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Developmental Package. If the people in Kashmir Valley were able to witness snowfall and electricity together, the credit goes to the collective efforts made in the last one year. There are other glaring examples of delays. The Sawalakot Power Project was to be commissioned in 1984, but it was delayed and we are completing it now. Similarly, we are completing the Uri-II and Dulhasti-II power projects which were supposed to start way back in 1985 and 1989 respectively. Many transmission projects like Hiranagar-Manwal, Delina which should have been completed a decade back have been completed now. We are buying electricity worth more than Rs 6,200 crore every year, but able to earn only Rs 2,600 crore as revenue. Therefore, I would also request all the citizens that along with the rights, we have to be mindful of our duties for strengthening the governance.
Dear brothers and sisters, in 2020, while ushering in major changes in the health care facilities in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hon’ble Prime Minister earmarked Rs. 1268 crore for health sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which was Rs 500 crore more than the previous year. This year, the allocation has been enhanced to Rs 1456 crore. The speed and scale at which we have worked in this sector is now visible in terms of achievements. According to the National Family Health Survey, the Neonatal Mortality Rate in 2015-16 was 23.1, in 2019-20, it came down to single digit, 9.8. Infant Mortality Rate was 32.4 in 2015-16 survey, today it has come down to half i.e. 16.3. The under-5 mortality rate was 37.6 in 2015-16, which has come down by half to 18.5 today.
Even after 67 years of Independence, there were only three medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir. The Hon’ble Prime Minister approved Medical Colleges for Anantnag, Baramulla and Rajouri in March 2016, Kathua and Doda in June 2017, Udhampur in October 2019 and Handwara in November 2019. Overall, the Hon’ble Prime Minister sanctioned 7 new Medical Colleges for Jammu and Kashmir between 2016 and 2019, out of which 5 have become functional. We are in the process of establishing Udhampur and Handwara Medical Colleges. For the first time in 2016-17, Jammu and Kashmir, got two new AIIMS. The first batch of AIIMS Jammu has already started, and the construction of AIIMS Srinagar shall commence soon. Between 2015 and 2019, two State Cancer Institute’s were sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir. Before 2019, there were only 129 health and wellness centers. In the last two years, 1275 new health and wellness centers have been established.
Before 2019, there was no health insurance scheme in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hon’ble Prime Minister launched a scheme, namely Ayushman Bharat Sehat for the Union territory in December 2020, in which health insurance of 5 lakh per family is being provided to all citizens without any discrimination. 49 lakh beneficiaries have been registered and 45.48 lakh golden cards have been issued under the said scheme. Five New Nursing Colleges have been sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2016-17 along-with Rs 881 crore for completing 140 new and old health infrastructure projects. Dialysis centres have been made functional in all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier there were only 9 such centres.
With the hard work and self-less determination of our doctors, health workers and other services, we have ensured that no one in Jammu and Kashmir faces the problem of oxygen beds. In August last year, the oxygen generation capacity in all our hospitals was only 15,000 LPM, which has been increased to 66,000 LPM within 6 months and shall be enhanced to 90,000 LPM in the coming days. We have provided certain incentives to the Corona Warriors. But, I strongly believe, money is not the true value of their selfless service and sacrifice. On this festive occasion, I would like to salute Covid warriors and convey gratitude on behalf of the entire Jammu and Kashmir. We are honoring 50 COVID warriors with appreciation certificates today. The Government announcement is meant to appreciate each and every COVID warrior of the Union territory.
Like COVID-19 Management, Jammu and Kashmir is leading the country in terms of vaccinating its citizens. The Union territory has accomplished 100% vaccination for the age group of 45 years, 37% for the age group of 18 to 44 years which is much higher than the national average. The way our women health care workers have vaccinated people in difficult and snow bound areas by walking 18-20 kms, has set a new benchmark for the entire country. A total of 83 decisions have been taken to deal with the challenges arising out of the pandemic, such as subsidy to various classes of businessmen, financial assistance to daily wage earners and waiver of arrears, which has benefited 40 lakh people. Parents who have unfortunately and untimely lost their only earning member(s) to the COVID-19 are being provided lifelong pension under the Saksham scheme. Special scholarships are being given to such children whose parents were snatched away by the Pandemic. Besides, a special cell of the Social Welfare Department shall ensure that the benefit of all public welfare schemes reaches these families throughout their life.
Since 1947 till now people did not have access to clean drinking water in the Union Territory. In 2019, the Prime Minister launched the Jal Jeevan Mission. On this pious day, all Schools & Anganwadi centers of Jammu and Kashmir have been connected with piped water. The important Shahpur Kandi Dam project, pending since 1979, got back on track in September 2018 due to the intervention of the Prime Minister and on 6 December 2018, it was declared a National Project. The Ujh multipurpose project pending since 2001 was launched in January 2019. Work on Zojila Tunnel started in August 2020 and the work on the Srinagar-Leh Corridor or Z-More Tunnel also started in 2020, thanks to the Prime Minister’s Development Package. Till 2014, there were only 7 National Highways in Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh. It has increased to 11 highways in 2021. In 2015, the Prime Minister sanctioned road projects worth Rs 40,900 crore to Jammu and Kashmir. Till 2014, the length of the National Highways in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was 1695 kms only. During 2014 to 2021, 969 kms of new National Highways have been announced only for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. With the start of train facility by December 2022, Kashmir will be directly connected to Kanyakumari. Six-lane (6-lane) expressway from New Delhi to Amritsar via Katra is under construction. Transportation brings transformation. Even after independence, there were 974 village roads which could not be completed and we are completing them now. Currently, macadamized roads are being built at much rapid pace. In 2019, 2290 kms of road length was macadamized, while the figure doubled last year to 5136 kms. This year, we have set a target of 8000 kms of macadamization. As on date, Jammu and Kashmir ranks third in the country in terms of road construction. However, many are having difficulty in deciphering this new definition of development and I think they must introspect about their past deeds.
100% saturation of all central schemes of Social Welfare has been achieved and their benefits are reaching to the last person standing in the queue. For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, a provision has been made for reservation in jobs for the differently-abled. In the last one year, 8 lakh 88 thousand people have been provided various pensions and more than 8 lakh students have received scholarships.
Vajpayee ji’s principle of Jamhooriyat was not allowed to flourish on the ground for decades. There was a famous collectorate tradition of democracy. And, the nominations of MLAs of four or five regions were held at his house. So, on one hand, there were elected representatives of the people and on the other, the representatives of Collector Sahib. But, the eve of 2020 ended this ‘Jungle Raj’ and the entire Jammu and Kashmir participated in the fair, transparent and violence-free elections of DDC. The people who have been elected are the actual representatives of people and not of Collector Sahib. This year Rs. 1271 crore have been sanctioned to DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats for public oriented works in their respective areas. By earmarking a district Capex budget of Rs. 12,600 crore through the spirit of Jan-Bhageedari, the three-tier Panchayati Raj system, has presented a new example of grass root democracy, strength and self-reliance to the whole world. By devolving funds, functions and functionaries to the Panchayati Raj Institutions, the administration has enriched and strengthened the most important element of democracy. Since this is a new system, it will definitely take some time to stabilize.
The common man’s bank was out of the reach of common man. We have opened it to the young boys and girls of the villages. Today, J&K Bank is reaching out to the women working with the Self Help Groups. 1850 recruitments in J&K bank have been made in a fair and transparent manner. The campaign for Financial Prudence, Transparency and Zero Tolerance for Corruption is bearing fruit and despite two COVID-19 waves, J&K Bank, which was always in loss, has earned a profit of Rs. 434 crore.
“It is our resolve to transform Jammu and Kashmir. Our young boys and girls shall be the makers of this new Jammu and Kashmir. At least 10 lakh job opportunities shall be made available to them in this decade. Administration has removed all restrictions (Lakshman Rehka) for self-employment start-ups. In the last one year 20 thousand youth were made entrepreneurs from all 4290 Panchayats. This year, the target has been fixed at 50 thousand. But, I sincerely wish that this figure must reach 2 Lakh young entrepreneurs. The administration will make sure our youth are provided this opportunity at their doorsteps,” LG Sinha said.
Efforts are being made to connect a large number of youth with employment schemes like Hausla, Himayat, Mumkin, Parwaz, Umeed, Tejaswini and Sankalp. Under the Mumkin program of Mission Youth, mini-commercial vehicles are being provided to 2021 youth for sustainable employment at zero margin money. Bombay Stock Exchange shall train 5000 youth in 360 degree financial services. Tejaswini program will provide training and financial assistance to the women aiming to become entrepreneurs. Under the Parwaz program, coaching shall be arranged by well-known institutes of the country for Civil Services and other competitive examinations for young boys and girls. Hausla program shall train women entrepreneurs and help them in getting access to global market. Youth clubs have been established in every panchayat, which will guide the future of young generation besides providing infrastructure for sports, art and culture. 40 lakh women of UT are taking steps towards becoming self-reliant by joining the Umeed program, and so far they have been provided financial assistance of Rs. 910 crore.
Dear brothers and sisters, JKBEAMS and GFR have been fully implemented in government works to ensure transparency and accountability. No work in Union territory is allotted without tendering. Earlier during the Darbar Move, 200 trucks loaded with official files used to shuttle from Jammu to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Jammu and in the process some important files would also be lost. Now with the introduction of e-office in both the Secretariat(s), red tape has been curbed and there has been a fundamental improvement in efficiency and governance. Digitization of 44 villages has been done.
It is written in the Bhagavad Gita, “Yato Dharmah Tato Jayah”, that is, where there is dharma, there is good governance, there is order and victory. With this spirit, we have shifted from the policy of announcements to the policy of implementation on the ground. Before 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was deprived of the benefits of industrial revolution. But now we are determined to ensure Ease of Doing Business with Ease of Living. The recently announced New Industrial Scheme of Rs 28,400 crores by the government is already attracting huge investments. So far, proposals worth Rs 23,500 crores have been received. Investment proposals of Rs 35,000 crore by December 2021 and Rs 50,000 crore by March 2022 are expected to follow, which shall provide employment opportunities to at least 10 lakh young boys and girls. With the provision of Single Window Clearance, for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, industries shall be established at the block level, transforming the backward areas. The administration has prepared a policy framework for private industrial estate development, which will lead to rapid industrialization in the private sector. Night flight operations have started from Jammu and Srinagar airports. With the start of Silk Factory Rajbagh & Bemina Woolen Mill, the process has been initiated to provide a global market to the handicraft and cottage industry. Our new initiatives are aimed at transforming this traditional sector in order to benefit the artisans and the farmers.
Jammu and Srinagar cities are being transformed into smart cities. Work has already started on beautification of Jhelum and Tawi river front. Integrated action plan for cleaning of Dal, Jhelum and Wular is being finalized. The much awaited Light Rail Metro work will commence this year in both Jammu and Srinagar at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.
Agriculture, Horticulture, Dairy and allied sectors in J&K are witnessing much-needed change since the last two years. The income of Saffron farmers in Jammu and Kashmir has doubled even before the deadline of 2022. NAFED will now sell Saffron all over the country at its outlets, which will directly benefit our farmers. Many schemes have started in the agriculture and allied sectors, which will directly benefit the farmers.
To empower the tribal community, The Forest Rights Act is being implemented for the first time in Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Rs. 30 crores’s scholarships for the children belonging to the tribal community, 1521 Seasonal Schools for migratory children along-with two residential Schools on the migratory routes and 8000 tablets for children of class 7th and 8th have been provided. The salary of teachers of the seasonal schools has been increased from Rs.4,000 to Rs.10,000. It is a matter of pride that Jammu and Kashmir has secured first position in the teachers training program, NISHTHA, of the Central Government.
An agreement has been reached between the Higher Education Department and Tata Technology for setting up 14 Centers for Invention, Innovation, Incubation and Training. Two CIIITs have started functioning at Jammu and Baramulla. Rs 200 crores will be spent on skill development in colleges this year. Inclusion of subjects like Artificial Intelligence, 3D Machines, Data Analysis, Biotechnology etc. will create skilled professionals in Jammu and Kashmir. To promote research in higher education, 19 Research Centers and 13 Innovation Centers have been set up in 13 colleges.
Dear brothers and sisters, the pandemic had struck tourism industry severely. We have executed resilience-based policies for the tourism sector. I am proud to say that sustained government intervention has helped in resetting this sector, which is showing the sign of growth. Ten lakh fifty thousand tourists while following strict COVID protocol visited Jammu and Kashmir in the month of July. Efforts are being made on the ground to preserve and promote all the unexplored locations of the UT and its cultural heritage.
The Film Policy of Jammu and Kashmir has been launched on 5th of this month. The past identity and glory of Jammu and Kashmir in the cinema will be restored. One Nation, One Ration Card scheme was launched in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2020. During the second wave of COVID, about 2 lakh metric tonnes of food grains were distributed to poor families in May and June.
The two major stadiums of Srinagar and Jammu will be able to host international matches this year. Indoor sports complexes are being set up for the development of all sports under PMDP and other schemes. Arrangement of playfield is being ensured in all panchayats. A target has been set to organize 17 national level competitions this year with the resolve of a game every day and sports for all. This year more than 17 lakh young boys and girls will be provided opportunities to showcase their talents in different streams of sports.
Government is committed to ensure dignified return of Kashmiri Pandit brothers. We have made considerable progress in fulfilling the promise of providing 6000 transit accommodation and providing 6000 jobs to the Kashmiri migrant community under the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Development Package. The construction of 849 transit accommodation has been completed and the work on 1376 is under way. Transfer of 278 kanals of land has been approved for 2744 additional flats last month only. Out of the second installment of 3000 posts, 841 posts have already been filled. On the eve of Independence Day, we have declared the result of 997 posts. “I congratulate all the successful candidates. The result for additional 1000 posts will be notified within a month following the verification process.”
As a major administrative reform, the government has resolved the seniority dispute of JKAS officers pending for a decade. For decades JKAS and JKPS cadre officers were waiting for induction into IAS and IPS, that wait is over now. For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, recruitments in government jobs are being made in a transparent and fair manner. Exams were conducted to fill 12,000 vacant posts of Panchayat Account Assistants and Class 4th within just 6 months, which is a record in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
The inherent competence of the administration is the foundation of good governance. We have ensured the rules of accountability and transparency. We have established officers connect with the public through ‘Block Diwas’.
It is our goal to make Jammu and Kashmir synonymous with success. The next 25 years of Jammu and Kashmir awaiting us with a new ray of hope and a fresh resolution for a new future.
Let us move forward to this bright future of Jammu and Kashmir with the lines of revered Atal Bihari Vajpayee-
Aao phir se diya jalayen
Bhari dhupehri me andhiyara
Suraj parchhayi se haara
Antartam ka neh nichode
Bhujhi hui baati sulgayen
Aao phir se diya jalayen.
Hum padav ko samjhe manzil
Laksha hua aankhun se ojhal
Vartmaan ke mohjaal me
Aane waala kal na bhulayen
Aao phir se diya jalayen
Aahuti baaki Yagya adhura
Apnun ke vighnun ne ghera
Antim jay ka vajra banane
Nav Dadhichi haddiyan galayen
Aao phir se diya jalayen.
Let’s light again, the lamp together.
Let’s light the lamp again.
This darkness at the peak of the afternoon
The sun defeated by shadows
Let us squeeze out the darkness within ourselves
And re-ignite the extinguished flame .
Let’s light the lamp again.
We confused the milestone for the destination
Our aim having lost from sight
In the materialistic trappings of the present
Let’s not forget the coming tomorrow.
Let’s light the lamp again.
The final sacrifice pending, the yajna incomplete
Surrounded by the obstacles created by our own
To remodel the vajra of the final victory
The Dadhichi’s of today must melt their bones again.
Let’s light the lamp again.