Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday stated that a new era of development began in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
“Its journey in the last two to three years is a testimony to the fact that J&K, forgetting its history, is on its way forward to be part of the national mainstream and aspires to script a new revolutionary growth story. The youth of J&K are looking up to start-ups and not AK-47s. J&K is emerging as a performer in various sectors, including the start-ups,” he said.
Sinha stated this in an interview with a private news channel News 18 India, while responding to a pointed query as to how far he could deliver to J&K and meet expectations of bringing a revolutionary turnaround there following the developments of August 5, 2019, using his acumen and experience as a sagacious and mature politician.
“After a new system (of governance) was put into place in J&K by the Indian Parliament on August 5, 2019, the consequential benefits of this move did reach its (J&K’s) common citizens. I can say with conviction that in the last three years, much water has flown down the Jhelum. Dalits, Scheduled Tribes, women, West Pak refugees, refugees from Poonch (PoK refugees), who were not in the scheme of things of the administration here in J&K so far, have been brought to the mainstream by the present administration and have been provided with their due. A new era of development has begun in J&K since then,” he said referring to the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K state into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.
To substantiate his point, he quoted a slew of statistics.
“Single-digit neonatal mortality rate of 9.8 in J&K against the national average of 24.9 as per National Family Health Survey indicates the change here (in J&K) in the past three years. Similarly, the infant mortality rate in J&K is 16.3 against the national average of 35.2. In J&K, the under-five mortality rate is 18.5 against the national average of 41.9; the sex ratio at birth is 976 against the national average of 929; the institutional birth rate is 93 against 88.6 national average; the rate of fully immunised children is 96.5 against 83.8 national average; life expectancy rate is 74 against the national average of 69.4; teacher-student ratio is 1:14 against the national ratio of 1:32 and forest/tree cover is over 54 percent against 24.6 percent at the national level. Per capita energy consumption in J&K 1384 units is against the national average of 1202 units. These 1384 units comprised an increase of 200 units in the last two years. These statistics reflect the changes, J&K has undergone in the last two years or more appropriately since the abrogation of Article 370,” Sinha said.
He said that in 2018-19, Rs 66,000 Cr under UT capex were spent to complete 9929 projects while the next year saw the completion of over 23,000 projects by expending Rs 62,000 Cr.
“This is heartening to state that over 50,700 projects have already been completed this year. Earlier 6 km of the road would be constructed in a day in J&K. Now this figure has risen to 20 km a day. Earlier in the PMGSY graph, J&K would figure in third place from the bottom. But now it is among the best performers in the country occupying the third or fourth slot from the top. In e-governance, J&K is at the top slot among the Union Territories. I still remember the day when two years ago after I came here, on October 28, thousands of files were transported from Srinagar to Jammu in 212 trucks. So I started my journey in J&K from there. Now we have 290 services, we have made online and we’ve received a thumbs-up from 75 percent of people on this account as in our feedback from 6 lakh people, they described the services as satisfactory. So this has been a big change,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
At this point, he extended his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is because of him that Jammu has become the first city in the country that has AIIMS, IIM, IIT and Central University as well. A small UT, with a population of 1.30 Cr, has two AIIMS, and seven new medical colleges have been sanctioned. The credit for this goes to PM Modi-led central government,” he said.
LG Sinha averred that in the changed J&K, district capex was being made by the elected representatives. “District capex has seen a huge jump to Rs 22,000 Cr from Rs 316 Cr in the past. We have implemented 20,000 projects approved by them (elected representatives),” he said.
ON SRINAGAR JAMMU NATIONAL HIGHWAY
When asked whether the development story skipped attention to the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway which would remain blocked most of the time and particularly in inclement weather conditions, water logging issue in Srinagar, where the Smart City Project was being implemented, Sinha said that when he took up the reins, it would take eleven hours to reach Srinagar from Jammu.
“But now the people reach here in Srinagar in five or five and a half hours. The problem spot is a particular stretch of 11 km due to a specific reason. The construction of a tunnel is in progress there. An elevated road is being constructed and it will be completed by next year, thus reducing the distance from Jammu to Srinagar to 4 to 4.30 hours,” he assured.