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It was my conscious decision to form Govt with BJP: Mufti
Lauds Modi's statesmanship, terms his China visit as step in right direction
5/16/2015 12:35:40 AM
Assures transformation of Jammu region
Bharat Bhushan
Early Times Report
Jammu, May 15: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who, as J&K Chief Minister, is best-placed in reducing the differences between the two regions - Kashmir and Jammu - and bringing them closer, today said that it was his conscious decision to join hands with BJP for the government formation.
In an informal chat with journalists at his official residence here, he also lauded prime minister Narender Modi for his statesmanship and termed his China visit as a step in the right direction while assuring to transform Jammu region into a major tourist destination.
"Even as BJP-PDP regime would complete three months on June 1 next, we have strictly focussed on good governance, transparency in system and providing a corruption-free government to the people. These are the priority areas of our government from the very beginning," he asserted.
The issues relating to good governance, peace process and the agenda of alliance were also the priority of his government, he said.
Asked if Modi's visit to China would lead to improvement of Sino-Indian relations in the wake of border disputes with the neighbouring country, the chief minister said it was a step in the right direction to create a conducive atmosphere for investment in the region. He also lauded the prime minister for his statesmanship.
"He has got the massive mandate and a majority of his own to rule this country. He has joined hands with us and must be watching the situation here from a different angle. When you have a vision, the objective is bigger," he asserted.
"From the very beginning, Modi's focus has been on bringing India closer to its neighbours. When, during his swearing-in ceremony, he invited the heads of SAARC countries, it was never a convention but a step towards it. He is focussing on developing good relations with China. He has also visited Japan, Nepal, Canada and Sri Lanka and there is definitely an atmosphere of change," the Mufti said.
He said the trade ties between India and China were sure to surpass the trade ties India had with the US. "There is compatibility between the two. China has a policy, we have a policy and Pakistan too has a policy," he said.
When his attention was drawn towards the controversy over the setting up of AIIMS in Srinagar, the chief minister opted to say that "he sees the state as one unit and not through the narrow prism of regional politics".
Intervening, the deputy chief minister remarked that the needs of tertiary medicare in Jammu would be taken care of and the matter "stands already taken up with the central government. "It remains to be seen what name would be given to it," he said.
The Mufti said efforts would also be made to further upgrade the super speciality hospital in Jammu.
He said the Jammu region would be transformed into an attractive tourist destination. "To transform the region, special attention will also be given to improve the condition of roads leading to vital areas and the places which have tourism potential," he asserted.
He said the Bikram Chowk-Presentation Convent School Flyover in Jammu and one in Srinagar were being constructed by ERA but regretted that the pace of work on them was slow. Instructions would be given to expedite the work, he added.
He thanked Centre for releasing Rs 158 cr for Keerian-Gandial pre-stressed double-lane bridge in Kathua district. "PWD has been asked to complete the project in three years so that people are provided connectivity in remote areas," he said.
He said he had allocated Rs 50 cr for macadamization of roads in Jammu. "In addition, eight CRF projects worth Rs 190 cr are being taken up shortly in Jammu division which include Samba-Mansar, Jathana Bridge at Kathua and Hatli roads," he added.
The chief minister informed that Mantalai was being developed as International Yoga Centre under the Centre's Swadesh Darshan scheme.
Patnitop, Sanasar and Baglihar in Jammu would receive focussed attention of the government. "We want to make a golf course at Sanasar with a water sports facility," he said.
The Sidhra Golf Course in Jammu would be completed by the end of June this year. With the addition of 9 more holes, it would become a fully-functional 18-hole golf course, he informed.
The technology used in Gulmarg Gandola Project would be used in the Jammu Ropeway Project. "The process for land acquisition will be expedited so that the work on the project gets started at the earliest," he said.
He also informed that he had taken up the issue of expansion of Jammu Airport with the union defence ministry. At present, its runway was short, he said.
The chief minister also emphasised the need for improving road connectivity to Basohli for promotion of Ranjit Sagar Dam and to develop it as an independent tourist destination. "It is unfortunate that we have so far not been able to tap the huge tourism potential of Ranjit Sagar Dam. It is ideally located with Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh on one side and the great expanse of the lake on the other," he said.
He reiterated his government's commitment to strengthen State Vigilance Commission, Accountability Commission, municipalities and panchayats and said he would ensure the delegation of powers to them to make their officers accountable and responsive to the people's needs. "We are fortunate to have nurtured great institutions. Their benefits should percolate down to the people," he added.
He said the condition of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was also not good. "Even a small rain leads to its closure," he added.
"I have spoken to union transport minister Nitin Gadkari to carry out repairs on it. The tourist season has already set in and Amarnath Yatra is also going to start after some time. My main focus will be to make NH 1-A traffic worthy so that people do not face any problems," he said.
Director General of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would also be visiting the state soon to expedite the ongoing works on the National Highway 1-A and other roads which were under his organisation.
Referring to the poor condition of Batote-Doda road link, which is sinking at several places, he said he had released Rs 12 cr for its immediate repairs. However, the government was working on another all-weather link with tunnels from Chenani-Sudh Mahadev-Khelani to connect the Chenab region, he informed.
"My government is committed to strengthen the core infrastructure like roads so that people feel a semblance of change emerging on ground," he said.
On the issue of forging better ties between India and Pakistan, the Mufti said that if India "wants to become one of the great countries of the world, it will have to have good relations with all its neighbours.
While replying to a question about cross-LoC trade and people-to-people contact, he described J&K as a showcase window for people residing on either side of the border.
He said the new recruitment policy would be operationalised shortly to fill vacancies in the government sector on priority. He also said that the district health services would be upgraded to reduce referrals to tertiary health-care institutions.
Apart from the deputy chief minister, public works minister Syed Altaf Bukhari, minister of state for information, education and culture, Priya Sethi and chief minister's principal secretary B B Vyas were also present on the occasion.

Multi-storey car parking to come up at Panjtirthi
Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today announced that a multi-storey car parking would be constructed at Panjtirthi.
Referring to the steps being taken by the government to decongest the capital city, he said a new multi-storey car parking would be made at Panjtirthi for 400 vehicles. The six-tier parking, scheduled to be constructed at Rs. 39.50 cr, would come up with food courts and departmental stores, he informed.
The Mufti said he had passed instructions for taking up the issue of rehabilitation of minibus operators, who were presently using the site as a minibus stand.

Chenab region to have specialised technical institute
Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said that keeping in view the huge potential of Chenab region in hydel power generation, the government is considering a proposal for setting up a technical institute in the area. It would provide specialised training to local youth in basic skills so that they were employed in these power projects.
In the absence of such an institute, the local youth were forced to work as labours in them, he added.

Press Colony in Jammu; rationalisation of advt policy
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today assured the media persons that a Press Colony would soon come up in Jammu. The assurance in this regard also came from Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.
The Mufti told journalists that appropriate action would be taken in this regard. He said he would strengthen the Information Department by encouraging the posting of professionals with journalism background.
He assured to rationalise the advertisement policy for fair distribution of government advertisement to newspapers. "I will get the issue examined," he assured.
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