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CM says no to AFSPA revocation at present
KT NEWS SERVICE
SRINAGAR, Aug 15 : Doing a U-turn chief minister Omar Abdullah today ruled out withdrawal of AFSPA at present. He also stated that the gradual withdrawal of the law will start during his tenure.

Omar was addressing a gathering at Bakhshi Stadium after unfurling the tri-colour. "We wanted to reach a position where we could revoke the AFSPA from some areas of the state but, unfortunately, we have not reached that point yet and I will not like to go into details," he said.

Chief minister stated that the issue regarding revocation of AFSPA is very much alive. While talks are on with various stake holders on its revocation, the point of reaching an amicable solution was yet to be arrived at, he added

"Recently, Defence Minister (A K Antony) and top brass of the Army were in the state. Discussions on the issue continued. I can say with confidence that AFSPA gradual withdrawal will take place during the tenure of this government and that day is also not very far," he said.

He stated that he was confident that the assurance made on the floor of the state assembly that the process of revocation of AFSPA will begin during his tenure will be a reality.

Chief minister said during his last three-and-half years, the state has seen "some good days and some bad days".

"However, due to the total cooperation of the people we are now witnessing one of the most peaceful times that the state has witnessed during the 22 years," he said.

It may be recalled here that chief minister had launched a campaign for gradual withdrawal of AFSPA saying the situation is ripe for such a move. Following opposition from army he had to take the U-turn. Earlier he used to state the AFSPA would be withdrawn during his tenure and now he says the gradual withdrawal will start during his tenure.

Omar appealed the separatist leaders to utilize the prevailing favourable atmosphere and discuss their viewpoint across the table.

“Kashmir issue has political genesis and it requires political methodology for effective addressing through a sustained dialogue process. Let you come forward and talk for achieving a breakthrough on table which gun could not deliver in 20 years,” chief minister said and asking for the positive contribution by separatists in seeking peace and prosperity for the State and its people.

“Gun or money can never solve this issue.Dialogue process is only way forward to address it effectively and meaningfully. I have been advocating this necessity throughout. On this rostrum I once again underline the need of political addressing of this issue”, he said making earnest appeal to the leaders with different viewpoint (separatists) to get engaged in the dialogue process for the larger interest of the people and the State.

Chief minister claimed that the graph of violence in the state has shown considerable downward dip during past some years. “ As against 370 violence incidents in 2010, the militancy related incidents in 2011 were 190 and in 2012 these were only 90. Civilian killings in militancy related incidents in 2010 were 50, these stood at 31 in 2011 and 8 in 2012. 70 security personnel were killed in 2010 while the number of killed personnel was 33 in 2011 and 7 in 2012,”he added.

“I am committed to take peace dividends to every household and presented the resume of benefits of peace his government has converted into visible achievements. He said the footprints of security forces on roads have been visibly decreased. We have vacated all school buildings from the occupation of security forces. All hospitals but three have been freed from forces occupation. 33 hotels, 256 government buildings and 25 industrial estates have also been cleared from the possession of security forces during the last over three years of his government. 40 bunkers from Srinagar have been removed and 10 CRPF companies and two BSF companyies relived from security duty transferring it to Jammu and Kashmir Police,” Omar said.

He criticised leaders of (PDP) regarding criticism about the performance of his government. Chief Minister said those who have covered their eyes with dark glasses do not see the brightness of facts. “They also do not want to see the reality on ground as they get frustrated to see it. They know the numerous people-friendly measures and far-reaching historic initiatives taken by the present government has created lasting impact in the minds of common people who have now understood the difference between mere sloganeering and actual action on ground”, he said and narrated some major achievements of his government registered during last three and the half years.

Chief minister said over 9500 kilometers of roads have been black topped and macadamized in the State during last three years besides completing 230 bridges. He said under PMGSY about 2000 kilometers of new roads have been constructed as compared to 750 kilometers during 2001 to 2009.

Omar said that 2500 new primary schools have been opened, 1600 primary schools upgraded to middle and 530 middle schools to high schools. He said that over 34000 teachers have been engaged during the last three years to provide teaching staff to educational institutions. He said that 23 degree colleges, various off-site campuses of universities including those of Leh and Kargil have been opened. He said that Kupwara Campus of Kashmir University will be launched soon. He said the enrolment of students has also increased from 91000 to 1.19 lakh during the last over three years. He said that his government has also taken measures to strengthen the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri and Islamic University of Science and Technology at Awantipora. “Both these universities were announced by the then government without arranging necessary funds for these”, he said adding that a viable financial management and flow of funds has now been put in place by his government for these universities roping in UGC Grants.

Referring to some shortcomings in G. B. Pant Hospital and GMC Jammu, the Chief Minister said that the situation reported in papers about the two hospitals was gloomy and grief giving. However, he said that required action was taken to set these hospitals right and help fast improvement in the functioning in these health institutions. “It is heartening that the improvement in G. B. Pant Hospital Srinagar is visible and the child care has been upgraded”, he said.

Chief Minister said that by the implementation of J&K Water Resources Act, the State has obtained Rs. 550 crore from various power companies functioning in the State for utilization of water. “This shows that our government takes action and implement these without making noise like others who raise slogans but take no action”, he said without naming PDP for making assertions with regard to utilization of water resources of the State.

Chief Minister said that after a long period of 30 years Panchayat Raj system has been introduced in the State adding that powers from 14 departments have been transferred to panchayats. “It is now the duty of panchayat members to utilize these powers to the best interest of people”, he said adding that government is organized 840 training camps for panches and sarpanches to train them about the utilization of powers transferred to them. He said 250 such training camps have already been organized.

Earlier, the Chief Minister hoisted the National Flag and took salute at the march past in which various contingents of students, J&K Police, CRPF, BSF, Forest Protection Force, etc participated.


News Updated at : Thursday, August 16, 2012
 
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