Consensus eludes AFSPA revocation: Chief Minister
‘Militancy-Related Violence Has Declined Considerably’
Srinagar, Aug 15: Admitting that there was lack of consensus among various stakeholders over the revocation of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday said discussions were still on with the Defence Ministry and Army.
The Chief Minister said that while talks were on with various stake holders on its revocation, the point of reaching an amicable solution was yet to be arrived at.
“I have no hesitation in saying that 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,” Omar said in his Independence Day address at the Bakshi stadium here.
Omar said the AFSPA revocation issue has not been closed as the dialogue on the matter was going on with the Ministry of Defence and the Army.
“Recently, Defence Minister (A K Antony) and top brass of the Army were in the state. Discussions on the issue continued,” he said.
The Chief Minister, however, asserted that the controversial law would be revoked from the state during his tenure. “I am confident that the assurance made on the floor of the state assembly that the process of revocation of AFSPA will begin during my tenure will be a reality,” he said.
The state government had constituted two committees for identifying areas from where the AFSPA could be withdrawn. The Committee comprised state’s Chief Secretary, state police chief and Corps Commanders of Srinagar and Jammu-based Army establishments.
Not many meetings have taken place due to reluctance from the Army to partially withdraw AFSPA.
Referring to his tenure so far, Omar said during the 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.
Omar said that militancy-related violence has been down considerably over the last three years.
“While 370 incidents of militancy related violence took place in 2010, the number came down to 190 last year and is below 90 so far this year.
“The number of civilian deaths in militancy-related incidents has also come down from 50 in 2010 to eight this year while seven security force personnel were killed in such incidents this year against 70 in 2010,” he added.
Omar said the improvement in the security scenario had helped the government in reducing the footprints of the security forces from civilian areas to a large extent.
He said 40 security force bunkers have been removed from various parts of the city. “There were apprehensions of rise in militancy following removal of bunkers but barring isolated incidents, the dividends of peace can now be seen on the roads here”.
Omar said the security forces have vacated most of the infrastructure under their occupation.
“All schools occupied by the security forces have been vacated, all but three hospitals have been vacated. 33 hotels, 250 government buildings and 25 industrial estates have also been vacated,” he said.
“We are slowly implementing the rehabilitation of those who want to return (from Pakistan) without guns and the policy is producing encouraging results. This policy is only for those who return not to join militancy but live peacefully,” he said.
Taking a dig on the opposition regarding 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.”
Chief Minister said while the list of achievements is so exhaustive that it cannot be detailed even in his full day speech. He said that besides focusing on most important five sectors of R&B, PHE, Health, Education and Power, his government has given required attention to Agriculture and allied sectors, Industries and Commerce, Social Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, etc.
The Chief Minister said that 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.
The 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.
Omar 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.
On electricity deficiency, the Chief Minister said that his government has flagged this sector as an important area for holistic development. He said while attention is on enhancing generation through various power projects and add about 3000 MWs in next a few years, his government has also focused on unbundling the transmission and distribution system. He said power leakage is highest concern for the State. He said that meeting electricity losses of over Rs. 2000 crores out of the Rs. 7300 Annual Plan 2012-13 sanctioned by the Union Government, is a huge burden to bear.
Omar unfurled the tricolor and took the salute at the parade in which police contingents, paramilitary forces, fire and emergency services, and school children participated.
Advisors to the Chief Ministers Mubarak Gul and Devender Singh Rana, Minister of State for R&B, Javid Ahmad Dar, Deputy Chairman, Legislative Council, M Y Taing and various legislators were present on the occasion besides Civil, Army and Police officers and general public.
WITH INPUTS FROM PTI/IANS
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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