Jammu: Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar Tuesday stated that J&K progressed immensely in the last four years ushering a new era of peace and progress and graduated from ‘performers’ to ‘fore-runners’ category in Sustainable Development Goals Index of India.
He was addressing the gathering after hoisting the tricolour at Maulana Azad (MA) Stadium here as a part of 77th Independence Day celebrations.
While enlisting J&K’s progress vis-à-vis development indices Bhatnagar said that over 90 percent of work of Srinagar Jammu was completed; AIIMS Jammu would be completed by 2023 end and AIIMS Kashmir by 2025, with an estimated cost of around Rs 4,000 Cr each.
He said that there had been a growth of more than 350 percent in the number of foreign tourists in the Union Territory. The Advisor, on the occasion also introduced the dakshkisan.jk.gov.in portal, a platform which aimed to empower farmers by providing them with crucial resources and support in the next five years.
Earlier the Advisor inspected the parade and took salute of the marching contingents of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indian Reserve Police (IRP), Jammu district police, Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police (JKAP), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Fire and Emergency Services, Forest Protection Force and Police and BSF Brass Bands which marched past the chief guest. School students from various schools also marched past and presented patriotic and cultural performances.
In his Independence Day speech, Advisor Bhatnagar highlighted that the government of Jammu and Kashmir unveiled an array of developmental initiatives aimed at bolstering the region’s growth, prosperity and overall quality of life. He underscored the pivotal role of tourism and heritage preservation in the region and said that the holding of G20 Tourism Working Group meet in the UT signified a renewed focus on promoting the rich cultural tapestry and tourism potential of the region.
He highlighted that 350 health projects worth around Rs 7,000 Cr were currently under construction and added that special emphasis was being placed on mother and child health, with apparent phenomenal results in reducing Infant Mortality Rate.
The Advisor underlined that seven new medical colleges were established at a cost of Rs 1,595 Cr while 8 Nursing colleges were already operational and 2 (in Rajouri and Pulwama) were set to commence soon besides two cancer institutes were being made operational with an expenditure of Rs 212 Cr.
Bhatnagar further said that in the field of Medical Education, in the past few years, the number of seats for various courses like DNB, MBBS, BDS, Nursing, and Paramedics had been increased to more than 2100 seats besides 600 MBBS seats had also been increased.
The Advisor remarked that in significant strides towards infrastructural development, the Public Works Department completed around 7,826 projects under various schemes including PMGSY, NABARD, and CIRF from April 2020 to March 2023. He added that a staggering 17,247 kilometers of roads had been upgraded and blacktopped in the same period.
Bhatnagar said that 15 PMDP road projects were underway at a cost of Rs 29,369.76 Cr, many of which were expected to be completed by the end of this year. “Srinagar Jammu National Highway is progressing well, with over 90 percent of the work completed. PMGSY has connected 2,097 of 2,141 villages in the past few years and the remaining 44 will be connected by March 2024,” he said.
Advisor Bhatnagar remarked that at the grassroot level, efforts were made to strengthen democracy through the empowerment of DDCs and BDCs. In Jammu and Kashmir, alongside free, impartial, and transparent elections, the fund, function, and functionaries were fortified, he said.
“Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), over 3.39 lakh cases have been sanctioned, out of which approximately 1.36 lakh houses have been completed,” the Advisor said.
He underscored that through the Jammu and Kashmir Youth Mission, schemes like Mumkin, Tejaswini, Rise Together, and Parvaz were providing opportunities for young boys and girls to become entrepreneurs.
“Tourism is one of the key sectors in our Union Territory, and in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir. In the year 2022, a record 1.88 crore tourists arrived and in the first six months of this year alone, around 1.10 crore tourists have already visited J&K. There has been a growth of more than 350 percent in the number of foreign tourists besides special emphasis is being placed on Border Tourism in the Union Territory,” he said.
Advisor Bhatnagar in his address also spoke in length about the good governance initiatives like introduction of Jammu Kashmir Single Window Portal (JKSWP), digitisation of Jammu Kashmir Public Service Guarantee, National E-Governance Delivery Assessment Report (NESDA), E-Office implementation as well as the Rapid Assessment System (RAS).
He highlighted that through digital means, with an impassioned commitment, corruption would be eradicated.
During the celebration, the audience was captivated by a series of mesmerizing cultural performances. The event featured artists from the J&K Cultural Academy, students, and participants from Jal Jeevan Mission and Rural Development Department, all of whom presented stunning patriotic-themed items.
On the occasion, Advisor Bhatnagar also distributed prizes among the winners of various online contests conducted by the Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR).
Judges of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court; Mayor, Jammu Municipal Corporation; DDC chairman Jammu; Member of Parliament Lok Sabha; Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha; State Election Commissioner; Deputy Mayor, JMC; Administrative Secretaries of various departments; ADGP Jammu; Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Deputy Commissioner Jammu; HoDs; PRI members, eminent citizens, locals and large number of students were also present on the occasion.