‘Development visible on ground in Pulwama’

Once known as one of the powder keg district's of Kashmir, Pulwama has emerged as a top-tier district in the list of best performing districts in Jammu and Kashmir. In an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir correspondent Gulzar Bhat, Deputy Commissioner Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary (IAS) talked about a host of developmental projects and issues in the district.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama,  Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary Special arrangement

GK: Congratulations for securing the top slot in District Good Governance index ( DGGI) J & K.

DC: Thanks. We have met more or less all the parameters to top the list of best performing districts in J&K, UT.

GK: What was the immediate challenge when you assumed the charge of District Magistrate Pulwama ?

DC: I assumed charge in March 2021. It was a time when the entire Jammu and Kashmir was caught in throes of COVID-19 and the number of positive cases were ballooning significantly. Our immediate challenge was to stave off the transmission of the virus and to provide the health care facilities to the residents. We enhanced the oxygen capacity from 1000 LPM to 4000 LPM. We also built a 200 bedded COVID care hospital that was recently inaugurated by Honourable Lieutenant Governor.

GK: What are the other milestones the district achieved in health care sector ?

DC: We have done well in the crucial health sector. We received a gold medal by the Ministry of Family and Health Welfare for the elimination of Tuberculosis under National TB elimination programme. We have provided Ayushman Bharat Golden cards to 100 percent households in the districts. We are working hard to provide the best health care facilities to the people.

GK: What changes do you see in the governance under the LG administration?

DC: There is maximum governance and minimum government. The roles are clearly defined and people have no confusion in where to go for the redressal of their grievances. They are not given the runaround. Now they are being heard of. It is not only peoples’ development, it is people led development. A three-tier Panchayti system is in place.

GK: But there are some Panchyat members who claim much bureaucratic meddling in the functioning of Panchayats ?

DC: See there is much transparency now. Over 70 percent of developmental plans are made by the representatives of people at different panchayat levels. There is no official change in these plans or works identified at the gross roots level. An official could only prioritise these works. Now everything goes through proper tendering process. In our district, of around 1300 such works, we have completed over 950.

GK: Is there any youth involvement in the development process?

DC: The government has issued youth cards in every Panchayat segment and works up to three lakh were limited to these card holders. Our district has witnessed a significant youth involvement. We have formed around 259 youth clubs under Mission Youth across the district with huge membership. The youth through these clubs are bound to contribute to the socio-economic development of the society. Over 3 lakh youth participated in various sports under the Khelo India.

GK Under the Prime Minister's employment package, many Kashmiri Pandit employees returned to the district or there are some families who stayed put in the district during the mass exodus of the community during troubled nineties what arrangements the district administration has made for them given the recent targeted killings ?

DC: We have moved them to the secured accommodations. More than 95 percent of their grievances have been addressed. The administration is always ready to help them and offer them safe accommodations.

GK: What are the other developmental works the district witnessed recently ?

DC: Development is visible on the ground. We built mini secretariat in Awantipora, constructed roads, renovated paths across the district. We erected clock towers in Pulwama and Pampore towns and dedicated them to martyrs. We also embarked on beautification drive in all the five municipal councils of the district and embellished the bare walls with paintings, murals and graffiti. We constructed a synthetic hockey turf that was accorded category 2 field certification to a synthetic by FIH, Federation Internationale de Hockey.

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