Govt stalling development, taking credit for UPA projects: Raman Bhalla


JAMMU: Firing a fresh salvo, JKPCC Vice President and former Minister Raman Bhalla on Sunday accused the NDA government of stalling development works and taking credit for things done during the previous UPA rule. "You must know all the things, because nowadays it has become a fashion for BJP government to stall development works and take credit for things done during UPA regime," he told a gathering of locals here. Hitting hard the NDA Government for cheating the people of state by just inaugurating various projects across Jammu and Kashmir for gaining the vote bank, Bhalla revealed that these projects were initiated at the time of UPA Government.
The Government is not performing according to the Agenda of Alliance. The farmers, business community, traders, students are totally fed up with this non-performing Government, which has failed on all fronts whether it is providing basic facilities to the people or paying timely wages to the daily wagers working in various departments of the State or checking price hike of essential commodities", said former Minister Raman Bhalla while addressing public gathering in continuance with his mass contact programme to listen to the grievances of different areas of Gandhi Nagar constituency at Roop Nagar Digiana today. Former Minister speaking on the occasion said that Infrastructure development with regard to tourism is lacking despite the fact that J&K is considered as one of the industrially backward states of the country.
Speaking on the progress of mega development projects being implemented in Jammu, Bhalla said that all the projects are moving at snail's pace be it expansion of Jammu Airport and extension of Runway, Multi-tier Parking and Commercial Complex proposed to be constructed at General Bus Stand Jammu, development of Tawi River Front, construction of protection works, water treatment plants, development of reclaimed land into recreational areas and development of tourist facilities along the banks of the River Tawi, sewage project for Jammu city, construction of Bikram Chowk Fly-Over, multi-level parking facility at City Chowk Jammu, construction of New Legislative Complex, construction of barrage on River Tawi, Jammu Ropeway Project, from Peerkho to Bahu Fort, construction of Ring Road around Jammu, from Raya Mode at Nagrota Bypass, construction of new Medical Colleges in Jammu region, four-laning of Jammu-Akhnoor road. The progress of potable water augmentation for Jammu city, formulation of Master Plan and implementation of Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme and AMRUT going on with no momentum at all.
People of Jammu region are being neglected and discriminated despite repeated assurances from BJP. "The state government should honour the commitment made made to the people of the equitable development of all the three regions of the state. He said BJP had assured of development of all the regions and that the differences and the alienation existing between people of Jammu and those of Kashmir Valley would be eliminated. "However, the fact of the matter is that the people of Jammu region are still feeling neglected and discriminated in the present regime," Bhalla said. He said the renovation work of Mubarak Mandi complex as Dogra Heritage is going on at a very slow pace and the ropeway project linking Mubarak Mandi with Bahu Fort is still in limbo.
"In the tourism sector, Jammu got merely 2025 per cent funds allocation and out of 13 newly identified tourist spots for development, Jammu has only four whereas rest are in Kashmir province", he added. He said that the Tawi Lake Project in Jammu which was scheduled to be completed in March, has been extended for two years. Bhalla claimed no serious efforts are being made about the diversion of four streams carrying the city garbage in the Tawi river."In the allotment of indoor stadiums, out of 12 indoor stadiums envisaged only three are allocated to Jammu region and nine to Kashmir province with two in Ladakh. The Congress leader said the discrimination is being faced by the people of the region in the matter of development of roads, infrastructure, irrigation, agriculture and horticulture sector. Bhalla cautioned the government of a great resentment brewing among the people of Jammu province and therefore immediate steps need to be taken for the redressal of grievance of the people.
Maintaining that Jammu could lose focus after direct rail connectivity to Katra, Bhalla said no appropriate strategy has been devised to create attractive assets in and around the winter capital to sustain tourist footfall. He described Jammu as a repository of rich heritage reflected in its historic temples and monuments."Jammu has its own significance. Govt failed to create new areas of attraction to make the stay of the visitors in Jammu memorable," he said."Jammu is the city of temples and government should leave no stone unturned to project it as an independent destination," he said.The government lethargy is causing inordinate delay for materialization of various developmental projects. Lambasting the coalition regime for its failure to conduct Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections, former Minister said that depriving citizens of their democratic rights and eroding sanctity of democratic institutions are the only noticeable achievements of the two year tenure of this regime.Our tourist season has already begun and Amarnath Yatra is in the offing. The maintenance of certain critical stretches on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is of vital importance as poor condition of roads results in frequent accidents, putting the lives of people in grave danger," he added.
Bhalla strongly criticised BJP-PDP Government in matter of enhancement of seats for post-graduate courses in various disciplines of MD and MS pertaining to medical education wherein Kashmir valley once again stands hugely benefitted by getting a lion-share of 57 seats as against 13 to Jammu region.He pointed out that the health and medical education budget for Kashmir valley is almost double than Jammu region i.e. Rs 1627 crore is budgeted for Kashmir valley as against Rs 924 crore for Jammu region. It is a matter of great concern that poor public of Jammu is persistently suffering at the hands of various political dispensations including Government partnered by the State BJP upon which people had pinned great hope.He further said that the people have paid very heavy price by voting BJP to power which has bartered away the interests of the young and deserving people of Jammu region and indulged in Kashmir centric politics and politics of appeasement to enjoy the pelf and power.
He said it is very good step for the people of district Ramban that Chenan-Nashri Tunnel is going to be commissioned on April 2.He further said that the said tunnel project was initiated at the time of UPA Government and he thanked Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh for started major projects for the development of state as well as country.He added that in the absence of proper supply of electricity and maintained road connectivity, how one even thinks about digital India.He demanded that local vehicles should be exempted from toll tax and the local youth should be accommodating in jobs being provided by the agencies at Nashri and Chenani. He said the National Highway Authority of India has spent Rs 3,720 crore on the projects which were also "sanctioned and advanced by the UPA government for execution work of the project."Bhalla challenged BJP leaders to identify "a single development project which has been sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir, especially for Chenab region, since NDA led by BJP came to power at the centre."
He stressed that at it is high time that people of Jammu region should stand up to seek their rights and justice and organise themselves to force these ministers inflicting huge discrimination accountable and seek answers for betrayal of huge mandate given to State BJP. For 2014-15 and 2015-16 the state government sanctioned Rs 200.19 crore and Rs 201.66 crore, respectively, for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. In the similar period, Rs 124.58 crore and Rs 125.42 crore were sanctioned for the Jammu Municipal Corporation. Similarly, Director, Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir, was sanctioned Rs 113.64 crore and Rs 114.42 crore, respectively, for these two years, while in the Jammu region the amount was Rs 76.16 crore and Rs 76.68 crore for the same period. The Kashmir valley is going to get the lion's share in posts of SPOs being approved by the Union Government.
The central government has made a mess of a previously successful strategy to tackle militancy in Kashmir, Bhalla said, holding a BJP-PDP alliance responsible for creating a space for "terrorists".Bhalla said the Congress had a clear plan for Kashmir -- bring young people into the mainstream, generate employment and isolate Pakistan diplomatically - that had ended violence and helped India."We broke the backbone of terrorism into three to four pieces and brought peace. We confined Pakistan, tied their hands and almost packed them," he said.But, he added, the BJP had diverted from the successful plan by not talking to local people and not including smaller countries in a global campaign to isolate Pakistan. "They don't have an understanding of the basic tools. Every single person says the prime minister does not listen."Bhalla pinned the blame on the BJP-PDP coalition, saying the coming together of the ideologically divergent parties was a "strategic disaster" that opened the doors for militants.The Congress leader said when former PM Manmohan Singh used to discuss the Kashmir issue with the local people and senior officials "Now the PM does not talk. The people are afraid of the PM," he said.
Bhalla detailed the Congress' Kashmir strategy of isolating Pakistan, engaging the youth, carrying out panchayat polls, generating jobs and linking women to the banking system through self-help groups."We ensured dissatisfied Kashmiris found an entry point to the political process from panchayati raj institutions on one side and the PDP on the other. Congress had taken leading industrialists Ratan Tata and others. This was very successful."The Congress successfully fought terrorism in Kashmir. Tourists started visiting in large numbers.He said the Congress will support a "concrete strategy" on Kashmir that denies Pakistan any opportunity to harm India.
Accusing the state government of disinterest in pursuing UPA projects, Bhalla said that the projects are major works that were approved by the UPA government for J&K. There would be several other smaller works that would have been approved. There are also projects that the Congress government in J&K sanctioned and have not been undertaken. These projects straddled the entire state - a railway project in Jammu and no less than three power projects in Kashmir, Ladakh and Kargil respectively. The ceasefire, a gift to the state from the previous NDA government, nurtured by the UPA, was at risk of completely collapsing. Heavy, sustained firing along the international border engulfed civilian hamlets and both sides claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other while at the same time claiming complete innocence when asked who started the firing in the first place, Bhalla maintained.
Former Minister maintained that as the PDP-BJP coalition government has completed little more than 2 years in office, it has been only a story of controversies between the coalition partners so far. In the so far tenure of the government, the coalition partners have failed to deliver on any of the promises they made to the people in their 'agenda for alliance'.In contrast, the UPA government has in its tenure given consistent growth of over 7%. More importantly, this has been inclusive growth which has ensured that every single Indian benefits from the India growth story. Though the Indian economy grew in all sectors in the last decade, our rural growth rate is a particular matter of pride, as is the rapidly declining number of people living below the poverty line.