In last 3 years, we have overcome decades of chasm in development: Manoj Sinha
Manoj Sinha said that the nullification of Article 370 integrated Jammu & Kashmir into the national mainstream.
Jammu & Kashmir has overcomes decades of a “development chasm”, and is moving towards a “vote culture” as opposed to a “gun culture”, the state’s lieutenant governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha said, while stressing that the government is committed to holding elections after the delimitation exercise is complete.
Speaking to the Hindustan newspaper three years after the nullification of Article 370, and two years after taking over as the administrator, Sinha lauded the work that has happened over these years, but warned that there were still attempts at destabilising the region from across the border.
Sinha said that the nullification of Article 370 integrated Jammu & Kashmir into the national mainstream. “In the last three years we have overcome decades of a chasm in development. People that were marginsalised -- Dalits, refugees, Gurkhas, sanitation workers, and adivasis have been given the same rights as any other ordinary citizen. Before 2019, there were eight to nine thousand projects that had been completed. This year, 51,000 projects have been completed, and corruption has been controlled to a great extent,” Sinha said.
Stressing on the administration’s pace of development, Sinha said that ₹1 lakh crore has been spent on road and tunnel infrastructure, 30,000 people have been given government jobs, and 520,000 people have gained self-employment. “Before 2019, in Jammu & Kashmir, roads were built at the pace of 6km per day, which is now 20km per day. Local residents, people of the country and from abroad have all felt the change. It is important to note that in the last six months, 1.05 crore (10.5 million) tourists have come to Kashmir,” Sinha said.
Asked about the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, a long-standing government promise, he said that both the Centre and his administration were fully committed to this. “At the administrative level all efforts are being made, but I think people from the community must come forward in this matter as well….all employees from the minority community have been stationed in safe places,” he said.
On migrant labourers and pandits becoming targets of attacks by militants, Sinha said that our “neighbouring country” had made some people soft targets. “Certainly, some migrant labourers went away during that period. We are also committed to making good arrangements for them. Several of them have returned and are now contributing to Jammu and Kashmir’s economic progress,” Sinha said.
By and large, Sinha said, that the security agencies in Jammu & Kashmir had “broken the back of terrorists.” “This year, in six-and-a-half months (till July 15, 2022), 127 terrorists have been killed, of which 33 are from across the border. Last year this figure was 78, of which five were foreign terrorists. We have a clear policy- that no terrorist should be spared and no innocent must be touched…Stone-pelting has been relegated to history,” Sinha said.
Sinha, however, warned that while the ceasefire on the border was holding, infiltration attempts from terrorist groups continue unabated. “Our security forces have shown alertness and have stopped many of these attempts,” Sinha said.
He stressed that Jammu & Kashmir has started moving towards a “vote culture”, evidenced by the turnout at the local body and the DDC elections.
On legislative elections being held in the state, a demand that has been raised across the board by the Opposition, Sinha said, “The right to decide the dates of the elections is with the Election Commission which is an independent body. I certainly want to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said on several occasions, and home minister Amit Shah has assured parliament that after delimitation, elections will be held and I think people should have no doubts about this.”