Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed said on Wednesday as compared to his predecessors, Narendra Modi is the “most focused” Prime Minister on the state so far.
“I am not ungrateful. He is totally focused. He is so focused that he called Chief Secretary of J&K twice to know about the rehabilitation of people due to Krishen Ganga Power Project in Valley,” he added.
On the question of expectations from the Centre, he said, “We have got beyond our expectations from the Centre. From day one, there is full focus of Prime Minister on J&K. I am not ungrateful.”
Replying to another question that no talks are being held between India and Pakistan for past nine months, he said “First of all we have to do our home work very well.”
On a question related to remarks of Farooq Abdullah that PoK is part of Pakistan, he said, “It is an evolutionary process.
“What is the reality? What is the de-facto position, de-juro, there is no need to jump the guns, let us see how the situation evolves. But our efforts will be there.
“We want to make it easy on the trade front,” he said.
“I want to take the confidence building measures between India and Pakistan forward. The telephone connection, the banking facility and increase in people-to-people connect and journey on two sides of LoC,” he added.
“Our government is quite responsive on this front. I feel that there is some reservation from across the border,” he added.
On the issue of radicalisation in Kashmir and whether it is threat to government, he said “I don’t think so. Kashmir has gone through very bad times in past. They have seen what it means by taking to guns. How they have suffered. Even the Imamic Qaba said that it is condemnable (terrorism) whatever be the reasons. They said that this should not happen.”
Asked whether the graph of militancy has increased in J&K, he said, “I hope that history will repeat itself.
“During my past period and since 8-10 years nothing has happen. I must say that reconciliation is the only answer.”
“I read it in the newspaper that two of jawans of Pakistan Army were killed in Karachi. They are also suffering from terrorism. But we should all also correct our internal situation here,” he added.
On the issue of handshake between Modi and Nawaz Sharif, Mufti said that I don’t know what has transpired between them but I felt the meeting between the two very good.”
Mufti said that people should appreciate one thing that “we have strengthen the institutions”.
“We strengthened Public Service Commission and people of known integrity are posted there. We made a Service Selection Board and proper selection of employees is being done. We outsourced police recruitment. There is no involvement of the government.”
“We have a transparent system now. I have been in politics for past 50 years, I am seeing a new chapter of development and today the finest roads are being constructed which I have never seen in the past.
“We spent Rs 32 lakh per km. It is wholesome exercise we have done. Recruitment are taking place without interference of the government,” he added.
“We have done rationalisation in education system. It is saying that well beginning is half done. The government of India have given Rs 2,000 crores package to PoK refugees who were fighting for past several decades for their rehabilitation. There are 40,000 families. Kashmiri and Jammu migrants have also been addressed in this package,” he added.
With regard to UDDAN employment scheme, Mufti said that he will take up the issue with Union Home Ministry to connect it with the grass root unemployed people, he said.
Replying to the question on Local Bodies elections, he said that the previous government held Panchayati elections but did not empower them. They did not conduct civic elections.
“We will hold the elections to panchayats and civic bodies as per schedule,” he said.
On the issue of differences between BJP and PDP, he said that there is a difference of opinion even between two brothers.
“It is our job to resolve them. It is my mission to resolve contradiction. Who am I if I don’t resolve the differences between them. It is my responsibility. My job is to coordinate with my coalition partner and they have to do the same. I am here to address their concerns if they have anything,” Mufti said.
On the question whether there is any possibility of holding an international level match in Srinagar, he said,”I hope that matches will be played this season in Jammu as well as in Srinagar.”
On the question as to why the government is opposing granting of suo-moto powers to SAC in the court of law, Mufti said, “It was not during our period. It should not be for harassment of institutions and those who are doing good work, is also being targeted but we will see that. I will talk to Law Minister, we will see how that concern would address.”
The Chief Minister also announced commencement of the
Budget Session of the State Legislature from January 18 for which a recommendation shall be made to the Governor for summoning the Legislature.
Later, while responding to a series of questions, Mufti Sayeed described as evolutionary process the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan.
He made a reference to his earlier tenure between 2002 and 2005 when through a series of measures peace prevailed from Keran to Kathua, which culminated in the first cross-LoC bus travelling from Muzaffarabad to Srinagar.
Mufti Sayeed highlighted his efforts to take forward the cross-LoC trade and travel, which he defined as the biggest CBM (Confidence Building Measure) between the two neighbouring countries.
“I went to Chakan da Bagh in Poonch recently. We want to take the travel beyond ritual meetings between divided families and introduce banking and telecommunication facilities at the Trade Facilitation Centres.
“Our Central government is responsive, but Pakistan has some reservations,” he added.
He said the Centre also had for the first time announced Rs 2,000 crore package for one-time settlement of PoK refugees and Chambh DPs as well as separate packages for Jammu and Kashmir migrants and victims of the colossal floods of 2014.
“I am not an ungrateful person. I have seen many Prime Ministers in the past,” he said, while referring to the Prime Minister’s development package announced for J&K during his public meeting in Srinagar, last month.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his commitment on holding local body elections in the state which, he said will facilitate the devolution of powers to the people at the grassroots level.
Responding to another question on PDP-BJP coalition, Mufti Sayeed said as Chief Minister it is his responsibility to address the concerns of the alliance partners. “We have come together to respect the mandate of the people. I am here to resolve the issues,” he stated. (Agencies)