of Jammu & Kashmir State
Dear Brothers and
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
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
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.