Union Home Minister Amit Shah is visiting Jammu and Kashmir at a crucial time. It’s his maiden visit to the Union Territory after the abrogation of Article 370 two years ago.
After August 5, 2019—when the Centre announced its decision to scrap J&K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories—the erstwhile princely state has witnessed massive transformation and development but the recent killings of eleven civilians, including five non-locals, have to some extent eclipsed the good work that has been done on the ground level.
Militants going on a killing spree hasn’t deterred the J&K Government from carrying forward its agenda of peace, prosperity and development. It seems determined to pull the Himalayan region out from the quagmire of uncertainty and turmoil.
Since 2019, J&K has witnessed many firsts. The recent announcement of direct flight from Srinagar to Sharjah, the initiative will bring the Middle East closer to Kashmir. More than one lakh Kashmiris are working in Sharjah. The direct flight to Srinagar will bring them home within a few hours as customs, immigration and all other facilities will be available at the Srinagar Airport. It’s a welcome step and a major relief to travellers intending to fly to the Emirates.
The pace of connectivity projects, including four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and trains reaching the Valley, has increased manifold. Union Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, who visited J&K last month announced that the train would reach Kashmir by 2024. The Minister also assured that the Jammu-Poonch railway link would be completed after addressing viability issues of the area.
The grievance redress system in J&K has been revolutionised. There was a time, when people used to stand in long queues outside the Civil Secretariats in Srinagar and Jammu cities to reach the helmsmen. However, after August 5, 2019 the government has revamped the system.
The help lines and online grievance redressal portals have been set for a common man to drop his complaint and check the status about the action taken either online or over the phone. The officials are just a phone call away. The system which used to remain inaccessible has become accessible.
The Centre has taken many steps that a common Kashmiri couldn’t have even imagined. The tourism sector in Kashmir has witnessed a boom. The outbreak of COVID-19 did slow down the process to some extent despite that things have moved at a fast pace.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been successful in rewriting J&K’s history. The government has set new benchmarks for the governance and no one is being allowed to take his job casually.
The Union Home Minister has been personally monitoring the developments in Jammu and Kashmir and has shown keen interest in ensuring that the erstwhile princely state witnesses a massive development. He has gone on record to say that former political regimes couldn’t do much for the people.
During the past two years many new projects have been announced and the ones that were awaiting completion for the past many decades have been thrown open for the public. People of J&K are reaping the benefits and are witnessing development that they couldn’t become a part of for the past seventy years.
People of Kashmir to a great extent have understood that development needs a peaceful environment and nothing can move if the situation remains disturbed. Maximum populace of J&K has boarded the wagon of peace, prosperity and development but still there are some elements who want Kashmir to burn so that their shops don’t get closed.
A common man in Kashmir is no more interested in slogans and rhetoric as he has observed that there is a difference between lip service and proper delivery system.
J&K’s development has been the Centre’s priority. Many far-flung areas that had no road connectivity have been connected with the highways and main roads. The power scenario has improved. Healthcare facilities have got a major boost. The work culture in the government offices has seen a rapid transformation.
In a nutshell Jammu and Kashmir has taken many steps towards a new era. The breaking out of a new dawn has brought J&K closer to the country and people of Kashmir too have realized that the world has opened for them and sky is the limit.
The writer is core member of BJP , former VC JKPCC.