J&K sarpanches: Centre’s card to ensure peace in Valley

Ahmedabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses at the flagging off ceremony of battery operated eco-friendly vehicles in Ahmedabad, on Aug 29, 2019. (Photo: IANS/BJP)

New Delhi: As part of its ‘Jan Sampark Abhiyaan’ on Article 370 aimed at maintaining peace and prosperity, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in his first meeting with a group of ‘sarpanches’ here on Tuesday, assigned them the task to ensure implementation of the Centre’s schemes in Jammu and Kashmir while assuring them that nobody’s land would be taken away.

Hailing the sarpanches as the “leaders” of Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said that it would be their responsibility to ensure that the benefits of various government schemes would reach the intended beneficiaries and that an atmosphere of peace and prosperity is maintained.

The Home Minister reassured the representatives that nobody’s land would be taken away and government land would be used for the establishment of industries, hospitals and educational institutions.

“This would not only create employment opportunities for the locals but also enhance tax revenues for the state, which in turn would be used for the welfare of the people,” said a Home Ministry official quoting Shah.

Shah said that it was essential to change the atmosphere and bring the people of Jammu and Kashmir into the mainstream.

The Home Minister promised to begin the process of block-level elections as quickly as possible.

He told the representatives that “your fight is against terrorism, as is ours, hence we should ensure an atmosphere of peace in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest.”

His remarks came during his meeting with three different groups of representatives from Jammu and Kashmir.

Home Ministry sources confirmed that this was Shah’s first meeting with representatives and sarpanches from various districts of Jammu and Kashmir after the August 5 decision to abrogate Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state.

Shah informed the delegation of 22 sarpanches that henceforth the provisions of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and this would serve to empower local governance and Panchayati Raj institutions in the region.

He also met representatives of fruit growers, agricultural markets and some members of local horticulture associations as well as the representatives of the community of people displaced during Partition.

It is learnt that all the three delegations congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah for the “courageous step of abolishing Article 370 and 35A.”

On the issue of mobile connectivity and restoration of communications, Shah said that the issue would be “expedited” and that a “solution would be found as quickly as possible.”

In the meeting that lasted for over an hour, the Home Minister promised all the groups of Jammu and Kashmir to begin recruitment for various government jobs at the earliest and said that the government would ensure merit-based recruitment of at least five aspirants from each village.

The representatives of fruit growers expressed their concern regarding the possibility of unsold and wasted produce.

Shah reassured them saying that the government is in touch with concerned agencies to resolve the issue.

The minister noted that the benefits of various government schemes like PM Fasal Bima Yojana would reach all farmers of Jammu and Kashmir now with the abrogation of Article 370.

He clarified that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored as soon as the situation warranted, and asked the representatives not to believe any rumours.

Shah also met representatives of displaced people who had initially registered in various stages of India but later settled in Jammu and Kashmir.

He assured them that they are being considered for inclusion in the scheme under which displaced families registered in Jammu and Kashmir are given financial assistance.