J&K Ministers stayed away from snowed-in Kashmir on Thursday as State officials presided over Jan-26 functions across the region. While Divisional Commissioner Baseer Khan presided over the main function at Bakshi Stadium, the Deputy Commissioners of respective districts took salute at the march-past at the functions at district headquarters.
In his speech, Khan referred to the five-month long uprising in 2016 during which 96 civilians were killed and over 15000 people injured in forces' action in Kashmir.
"Unfortunately due to untoward situation in 2016 the developmental process suffered a huge setback," Khan said after unfurling tri-color and taking salute at the march-past at Bakshi Stadium which was the main venue for the function. "But our forces including police, army and other forces worked hard to bring the situation back on track and the developmental process has picked up once again."
Authorities had put in strict security arrangements in and around the stadium, the venue of the parade, to avoid any untoward incident. However, breaking off the practice, mobile phone and internet services weren't snapped this time as part of the security drill – only second time in past more than a decade.
Amid chilly conditions, officials from the State administration, JK Police and other forces attended the function at the stadium which remained under the cover of snow. However there was no participation of people.
Usually, a senior minister presides over the function at the stadium while other ministers would preside over the functions at district headquarters. Kashmir witnessed heavy snowfall for the past three days disrupting land and air traffic and preventing the arrival of ministers from Jammu for attending functions in Kashmir.
The Divisional Commissioner highlighted various developmental works undertaken in Kashmir and said the administration was making all efforts to provide better civic facilities to people besides ensuring efficient public delivery system.
He said various initiatives have been taken to make administration accountable and transparent so that people do not face any difficulty.
Khan said various developmental schemes have been started for past two years for the uplift of poor and giving a boost to infrastructure in Kashmir.
"The work on the flood restoration program has witnessed pace recently and steps have being taken for beautification of the Srinagar city. The smart city project for Srinagar, which is in final stage of approval, would help in economic uplift and help present the city as an attractive tourist destination," said Khan.
The Divisional Commissioner also highlighted various welfare schemes launched by the government including Laadli Beti, Hunar, CM's Scooty Scheme and appealed people to take maximum benefit from such schemes.
Different cultural programs jointly organized by Departments of Information, Education, Youth Services and Sports and Academy of Cultural, Art and Languages were presented on the occasion as the Divisional Commissioner announced Rs 10,000 award to each of the participating schools.