Speedy development work underway in J&K: MoS Home Affairs

Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy Monday said speedy developmental work had been underway in Jammu and Kashmir in the last two years, but the set target could not be achieved due to COVID19 pandemic.

Asserting that “revolutionary and historical decisions” had been taken for the development of J&K, the minister said in Rajya Sabha that Kashmir would be connected by train by December 2022 and an elevated light rail system was also being planned in the region.

He said 100 percent piped water connection to 80.16 lakh rural households would be provided by September 2022 in the region.

“Since the last two years, speedy development is happening in Jammu and Kashmir, when compared to the last 70 years. Both the Centre and the J&K government are trying to develop the region and will do more. Due to coronavirus, we could not reach the set target,” Reddy said in reply to a debate on J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill in RajyaSabha.

After his reply, the Upper House passed the bill which seeks to replace an ordinance issued in January with an aim to merge the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of IAS, IPS and IFS with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory cadre, also known as AGMUT cadre.

The MoS asserted that all major projects were on track in Jammu and Kashmir, and bottlenecks had been removed.

Highlighting the major steps taken in the region, Reddy said the foremost was the municipal polls in rural and urban bodies.

“The District Development Council polls were completed successfully. There was 74 percent voters’ participation in rural bodies elections, while 98 percent in block development council polls that were held post independence for the first time,” he said.

Not only elections were held, local bodies were strengthened giving them the responsibility of midday meal scheme, Anganwadiprogramme and MGNREGA, he said, adding that grievances boxes were also installed in panchayats.

The minister said gazetted officers had been asked to visit villages for two days as part of ‘Back to Villages’ programme to review development activities and address grievances of the villages. He said, similarly in urban areas, ‘My town and My pride’ programme is being implemented.

Stating that about 54 percent of work had been completed under the PM’s development package for J&K, he said about 20 projects, including central and UT projects, had been executed. Eight more projects are likely to be completed by the end of the financial year, he said.

Among other steps taken, Reddy said the 359-metre-high Chenab bridge work was underway and would be completed by next year.

In the power sector too, he said the government had started many works and an action plan had been made for creating additional capacity of nearly 3498 MW by 2025.

In the last two years alone, projects above 300 MW were revived and put on track. About 330 MW new projects will be kick started and MoU was signed by NHPC in January this year. Four projects worth Rs 34,882 crore will also be launched, he said. That apart, J&K has achieved 100 percent electrification, including in border villages. About 3.57 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme, the minister said.