Kashmir: Ready to hold polls in J&K whenever EC decides – LG

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said his administration is ready to hold polls whenever the Election Commission announces the dates.

In an interview with Doordarshan News, Sinha said it is the task of the Election Commission to conduct assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

“They (the Election Commission) had to complete certain tasks like delimitation, revision of voter lists, etc. which has been done. Whenever the Commission decides to hold elections, the administration here is fully prepared for the exercise,” he said, adding the issue is unnecessarily being politicized.

Sinha said those who held Constitutional posts in the past or are now MPs very well know the meaning of assurance given by the Home Minister in Parliament. “Home Minister had stated in the Parliament that first delimitation will be held followed by elections and restoration of Statehood,” he added.

Sinha said Jammu and Kashmir is now peaceful. He said tourists and Shri Amarnath pilgrims are visiting in large numbers and youth are having laptops in their hands instead of stones.

“Sharda Peeth was proud of the country but was lost in the past. Now youth are shunning stones and there is a laptop in their hands. The industry is coming. I think when the country will be celebrating 100 years of independence, Jammu and Kashmir will be no less contributors to the nation’s development as compared to any other State,” he said.

Lieutenant Governor said last year when ‘Tiranga Yatra’ was taken out, 8000 to 10,000 youth marched in Shopian and Pulwama which were earlier known for “other reasons”.

On Kashmiri migrants, Sinha said almost all 6000 vacancies reserved for them have been filled up, while out of 6000 houses, 1800 have been completed, 600 will be constructed shortly and the entire target will be achieved next year.

LG said that he is in constant touch with them (migrants) and every district officer has been posted for liaisoning with them. Their issues of posting in safer areas and promotions have been addressed.

“I assure you that many schemes are in the pipeline for the migrants. Now even local Muslims have openly been saying that Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits,” Sinha said.

Responding to another question, he said pro-terror elements who had entered the administration have been sacked as per the Constitution and declared that the officers who pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the country will continue to be dismissed.

Sinha said the militant ecosystem tried to end Kashmir’s culture by forcing the closure of cinema halls in the eighties. Now, many cinema halls have been opened and more will be opened shortly, he added.

“Cinema has old relations with Kashmir. After approval of the new Film Policy, 400 small and big movies were shot. Last year, 1.88 lakh tourists visited the UT and the numbers could touch 2 crore or even 2.25 crore,” Sinha said.

Describing the G20 Working Group meeting as highly successful, he said the common man was involved in making it a success. “Few people may have developed pain but I can say 99 percent population was happy and now people want G20 to be held in every district and Panchayat,” he said.

LG said 3.20 lakh pilgrims have performed yatra of Shri Amarnath cave shrine during 23 days of pilgrimage which is nearly 83,000 more than previous year.

“I met the pilgrims at base camp and they are very happy. This will boost the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. Foreigners too are coming. There has been a major boost to tourism as well,” he said, adding it’s a tough task to make roads and arrange facilities like power, water, food, health etc at 13,000 feet but Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, administration, Army, JKP, paramilitary forces and other agencies have been working 24×7 for the purpose.

Sinha said strong measures have been taken against narco-terrorism to make Jammu and Kashmir ‘Nasha Mukt’. Arrests, seizures, and punishment in such cases have gone up, he added.

Describing the government’s decision to give land to landless people for the construction of houses under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY) as a major pro-poor decision taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Lieutenant Governor said even Bakerwals have no land and those eligible for houses under PMAY will be given.

He said some people think the construction of assets on government land was their right only. But those days are now gone, now deserving poor are getting land, he added.

Referring to Industrial Policy, Sinha said the Government is expecting Rs 75,000 crore worth of investments. Nearly Rs 25,000 crore in investments is on the ground. Some units have started production while others will start soon, he asserted.

Lieutenant Governor said now 32,000 to 33,000 elected representatives are deciding on the development of Jammu and Kashmir. No bill is passed till it is attached with pictures. People can see all details of development works on their phones and raise questions, he added.

“Centre assesses performance of all States/UTs from time to time and Jammu and Kashmir is ranked among top States/UTs in various parameters. Several services have been made online. Public Services Guarantee Act has been put on auto mode,” Sinha said.__The Kashmir Monitor