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New era of normalcy, development has dawned in Jammu and Kashmir: LG Manoj Sinha in Independence Day message

Sinha said in order to ensure that the journey allows people to reach their destination quickly, the government has earmarked five targets to be achieved. (File image: ANI)

A new era of normalcy and development has dawned in the Union Territory due to changes effected in the last year and the goal is to make progress, peace and social harmony an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir’s narrative, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Friday. In his Independence Day message, the lieutenant governor said that equality and justice are being gradually restored in Jammu and Kashmir.

“After the constitutional change enacted in 2019, the Centre took not one or two, but 50 historic decisions to transform the face of the region. A new era of normalcy and development has dawned due to the changes effected; a new journey has been undertaken,” the LG said here.  He was referring to the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in August last year.

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Sinha said in order to ensure that the journey allows people to reach their destination quickly, the government has earmarked five targets to be achieved. “Firstly, we wish to put in place a just and transparent system of governance which will be dedicated to empowering the marginalized and weaker sections of society.  “Secondly, we want to establish a thriving grassroots level democracy. Thirdly, we wish to ensure maximum welfare by ensuring that every person benefits from government schemes,” he said.

Sinha said fourthly, they are committed to accelerate the development of Jammu and Kashmir. “Lastly, economic development, creation of employment opportunities and livelihood will be our primary priority,” he said.
“These are our five guiding principles,” the LG added.

Referring to former prime minister A B Vajpayee’s doctrine of ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’, Sinha lamented that humanity conceded defeat to terrorism for decades in Kashmir, democracy suffered at the hands of vested interests and Kashmiriyat was massacred to appease the hatred that ensued.

“It is a matter of great sorrow that the legacy of cultural syncretism has been eclipsed by the vicious story of sectarianism. But, we want to transform the narrative once again. We want to make development, peace, progress and social harmony the most integral part of the narrative of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The LG said unfortunately some wrong decisions were taken after Independence which inevitably led to resentment in the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and distanced them from the rest.  “This distancing led to the widening of fissures and cracks. Generation after generation was sacrificed at the altar of hatred. Instead of countless doors that should have opened for the people in independent India, numerous doors closed, and distances increased,” he said.

He, however, said equality and justice are being gradually restored in Jammu and Kashmir.  “No system of governance can be truly just, if even one person is deprived of equal social, political and economic rights. The rights of women who marry outside Jammu and Kashmir are now protected.

“Refugees from West Pakistan, displaced migrants, pahadi speaking people, Other Backward Classes and safai karmis have finally found long delayed justice. They now possess democratic, employment and property rights,” he said.

Sinha said an unbiased reservation policy is being put in place now in education and employment sectors. The LG said the full application of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has laid the ground for a strong grassroots democracy in the UT.  “Panchayats and municipalities lay the base for thriving, significant and accountable grassroots democracy. To ensure development, unprecedented energy is being channelized at the ground level through 960 councillors, as well as more than 27,000 sarpanchs and panchs,” he said.

The LG said the government is cooperating fully with the people in this quest for development through decentralization in allotment of funds, works and employees. “After the constitutional change, elections for Block Development Council were conducted for the first time in J-K (in October last year). They have been accorded a status as public representatives and now possess the means to fulfill expectations of people,” he said.

Referring to the killings of a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch from Anantnag, Ajay Pandita, and BJP’s former district president of Bandipora, Waseem Bari, by militants, the LG said they laid down their lives to defend the idea of India.
He also expressed gratitude to Jammu and Kashmir Police, central paramilitary forces and jawans of the military for sacrificing their lives to ensure the integrity and freedom of the nation.

He said his government and administration stands by all those who are committed to and strive towards strengthening democracy in Jammu and Kashmir. “Elected representatives of local self-governments who face threat are being provided with a Rs 25 lakh life insurance cover. To make policing more effective, the necessary reforms are being undertaken,” he said.

Sinha said the government aims to create ultra-modern and world-class infrastructure in the UT.  “We have to transform Jammu and Kashmir into a world class tourism destination. We have to create a peaceful environment here. I expect the full cooperation and support of people here that we may create a new Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Sinha said it was the dream of Sardar Patel that whole India should not just exist as a political map, but also move forward together at the same time and conquer new milestones of development and progress.

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