|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, Jan 26: The 71st Republic Day was celebrated in Kashmir on Sunday amidst tight security with the main function in the Valley being held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, where Lieutenant Governor's advisor Farooq Khan presided over the function, but most mainstream politicians stayed away.
Advisor Khan took the salute at the march past after unfurling the national flag.
This was the first Republic Day after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was withdrawn on August 5 last year and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories.
Most of the mainstream politicians stayed away from the function as top leaders of regional parties like the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are under detention since August 5.
Braving chilly weather conditions, continents of police and other security forces took part in the parade after Khan was given the guard of honour.
Addressing the gathering, Khan paid rich tributes to Dr B R Ambedkar who gave the Constitution which guarantees rights to every citizen without discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, region or religion.
He also paid tributes to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to preserve the country's sovereignty.
He said introduction of Back to Village program, a unique initiative to register and address public grievances at people's doorstep, witnessed huge participation and the officers of the civil administration reached out to every corner of the UT.
Under the programme, he said, a number of developmental projects have been taken up, some have been completed while others are nearing completion.
To strengthen the democracy at the grassroots level and to involve people in decision-making process for development, he said Panchayat election were conducted across Jammu and Kashmir, but the highlight of 2019 was holding of the first ever Block level Development Committee Elections.
Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for exhibiting keenness in the development and progress of Jammu and Kashmir, the advisor said the Central government has taken a slew of measures in this regard.
Khan said that government is keen to develop sports infrastructure to provide platform to the youths so that they can showcase their talent at national and international level.
For this purpose, stadia and playgrounds are being developed across Jammu and Kashmir at Panchayat and district level, he said.
MA Stadium, Jammu, has been developed to meet international level and Bakshi stadium, Srinagar, is also being developed as a world class football stadium.
He said Agriculture and Horticulture sectors, being the backbone of the economy, are being developed by way of introducing various schemes including High Density Plantation and Market Intervention Scheme and the divisional administration is making every effort to address the grievances of the growers and farmers.
The advisor hailed the police department for maintaining peace in Jammu and Kashmir and lauded the efforts of the people who are working for peace and prosperity of the UT.
Later, Advisor Khan awarded Basketball player, Ishrat Akhter who represented the country in Thailand recently.