Republic Day Address 2017

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By Sh. N.N.Vohra

Hon'ble Governor of Jammu & Kashmir State 

Dear Brothers and Sisters

     Today, when we celebrate the birth of the Indian Republic, I extend my greetings and good wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

     On this auspicious day, we remember and pay tribute to our great leaders who carried out a long struggle for liberating our country from the colonial yoke and securing freedom for our people.

     Sixty seven years ago, today, our people adopted the Constitution of India which secures JUSTICE, LIBERTY and EQUALITY for all citizens. Today, we re-dedicate ourselves to zealously discharging our duties for protecting our precious fundamental rights and safeguarding our country’s unity and integrity.

     Since the attainment of freedom, despite varied serious challenges, our country has taken great strides and we are not only the largest democracy in the world but also the fastest growing economy on the globe.

     In the country’s forward march to attain growth and development our State has not been able to achieve its goals because of our western neighbour’s unceasing ventures to destabilise our democratic framework and perpetrate violence and terrorism to seize Kashmir.

     From the time we attained freedom successive Governments at the Centre, irrespective of their political complexion, have consistently sought to secure peaceful relations with all our neighbours. Our Prime Minister, soon after he assumed responsibility in 2014, launched vigorous initiatives for re-inforcing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all our neighbours, particularly with Pakistan. We continue to hope that she will soon realise the high dividends to be gained if peace prevails along our frontiers.

     The prolonged disturbance in the Valley last summer resulted in large human losses and an unprecedented number of Security Forces personnel were injured. I share the grief of all those who have lost their dear ones.

     The hartals, which extended from week to week, caused large economic losses and particularly severe hardships for the daily wage earners. The violent agitationists burnt several dozen schools and set ablaze government offices, Police Stations and private properties.

     The recent disturbances caused irreparable damage to the functioning of the educational system. The studies of over 14 lakh school going children and nearly a lakh college and university students were severely disrupted.

     In the past several years I have been repeatedly cautioning against the serious consequences of a confrontationist approach being followed to resolve our problems. I yet again appeal to the leaders of all social, cultural, religious, political and other organisations in the State to seriously ponder over the happenings in the past months and recognise that the recurring agitations are causing varied adverse consequences for our people, particularly those who live in the Valley. Time has come for the leaders of various movements in our society, and all those who follow them, to accept that the continuation of hartals and violent protestations, of the kind we witnessed last year, will yield no other result except dragging our people and our State to slip further far behind.

     An environment of distrust, confrontations and violence will disrupt our society and further retard the growth and development of our State. It is, therefore, of crucial importance that all the stakeholders must not lose any further time in accepting that the only way forward is through reconciliation, restoration of communal harmony, and engaging in dialogue to resolve all our issues.

     In Jammu and Kashmir, our greatest strength is our youth, who comprise almost half of our population. As we have seen for ourselves in the past few years, despite the severe constraints arising from recurring spells of disruption and disorder, our youth has been doing very well in almost every arena. Besides excelling in studies and winning awards and national fellowships, a growing number of our students have been gaining high positions in the All India Services, Central Services, Defence, Central Police Forces and other Services.

     A matter for even greater pride, in the past year our young boys and girls have won medals in various sports at National, Asian, Common Wealth and World Championships. And, more recently, one of our bright young girls from the Valley has made an excellent beginning in the cinema world.

     If the upcoming generation is to achieve its full potential it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to ensure that an undisturbed environment prevails in the State.

     On the development front it is important to ensure that we do not lose any further time in most efficiently utilising the Prime Minister’s Special Package of Rs. 80,000 crore. It would be of particular benefit to timely implement the infrastructure projects relating to the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels and highways for which there is an allocation of about Rs. 42,700 crore. The establishment of connectivity with all parts of the State, particularly the remote and difficult areas, will pave the way for the rapid implementation of development projects.

     Side by side, time bound use must be made of the significant resources which are available for establishing and enhancing capacities in regard to power generation, power distribution networks, energy efficiency, agriculture and horticulture production, water supply, drainage and sewerage, urban transport systems and carrying out varied other programmes.

     To meet the challenge of unemployment, in the past year the State Government have cleared various proposals valuing over Rs. 2500 crore for increasing the availability of jobs in the industrial sector. Adequate resources are also available for improving the productivity of the over 4 lakh artisans and weavers in our State.

     While resources are available, we need to take systematic steps to visibly improve our work culture. The entire governmental machinery needs to perform with speed, efficiency, accountability and totally free from any form of corruption. The State Government also needs to ensure that there is no further delay in restoring the effective functioning of the various statutory and constitutional Commissions which have been set up to serve as watchdogs of governance.

     Governance shall become far more effective and productive when all our people, living in the rural and urban areas, are empowered to be involved not only in determining their priority needs but also in planning and implementing various schemes and programmes to resolve their problems. It is satisfying to note that the present Government is committed to conducting Panchayat elections by next March and establishing the 3-tier Panchayati Raj structure which has been functioning in the rest of the country for the past several decades now. The Government is also committed to carrying through the now very long pending elections to the Urban Local Bodies.

     The establishment of a decentralised democratic framework at the grass root level shall provide an exciting opportunity for all our people, living in the villages and towns, of becoming closely involved in executing programmes which promote their welfare. I look forward to seeing the maximum number of voters exercising their franchise in the forthcoming Panchayat and Municipal polls.

     I thank the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central Armed Police Forces and the Army for their devotion and the sacrifices that they have been making to preserve the unity and the territorial integrity of our State. Considering the prevailing environment along our frontiers, our Security Forces shall need to enforce even greater vigil.

     I take this opportunity to recognise the varied difficulties which are being faced by our people who live in the border areas and salute their courage and resilience.

     I conclude by conveying my warm greetings to Ms Mehbooba Mufti, our first lady Chief Minister, and to the members of her Council of Ministers, and trust that they shall strive to see Jammu and Kashmir soon achieving peace, progress and prosperity.

     And to the people of our State, I once again send them my greetings and good wishes and pray that 2017 shall usher in an environment of peace and brotherhood.
 

JAI HIND