Govt committed to safeguarding special status: Guv

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KG News Desk

Srinagar, May 25: The PDP-BJP government is committed to safeguarding the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and will strive for achieving reconciliation and development, Governor N N Vohra told the Assembly today amid ruckus created by opposition National Conference and Congress.

In his customary Address to the joint sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council at the start of the Budget session, he also hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “bold” efforts to reach out to Pakistan, like his visit to Lahore, would have “positive” impact on the state.

“The state government is committed to safeguarding the special status which has been accorded to Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution of India and has been also spelt out in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ which forms the basis of the PDP-BJP coalition government,” Vohra said admist disruptions by opposition National Conference and Congress members.

His assertion came against the backdrop of allegations by opposition that the special status was being diluted.

Vohra said it augurs well that at the national level, the Prime Minister is personally pursuing the sub-continental agenda of peace which will have a positive outcome for normalizing the situation in the state.

“The Prime Minister’s bold initiative of reaching out to Pakistan in a bid to establish lasting peace in the region has been welcomed in the state and revived the hope for peace, particularly along the borders where the lives of the people have been shattered.

“The impact of the Prime Minister’s visit to Lahore and the subsequent bilateral dialogues at different levels have generated hope for our state, which has for long borne the brunt of unstable relations between the two countries,” he said.

The Governor said the state government is committed to pursuing and strengthening the path of peace and dialogue for achieving reconciliation and development.

“The people of the state are hopeful that the revived initiatives for the establishment of friendly relations with our western neighbour will have a positive outcome for the restoration of peace and normalcy, particularly for the people residing in the border areas who live in an environment of insecurity and have, over the years, continued to suffer human and economic losses,” the Governor said.

“To enhance the dividends of peace, the state government is working to develop border tourism, particularly in the areas of Suchetgarh and Chamliyal,” he said, adding “We are hopeful that with the various ongoing initiatives falling in place we shall soon enter an era of normalcy, peace and prosperity, which the people of the state have been yearning for.”

Vohra lauded the role of security forces in maintaining law and order and undertaking counter-insurgency operations.

“The state police, alongwith other security forces, is playing an important role in maintaining law and order and undertaking counter insurgency operations.           Their professionalism, courage and patience merits appreciation,” he said.

“However, incidents like the one which took place the other day in which three of our dedicated police personnel were killed in a cowardly act, set us back every time we are moving towards normalcy,” he added.

Besides the need to maintain a constant vigil to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, the Governor urged the civil society to come out strongly, in one voice, against such incidents and “send a clear message that we shall act against any move which is against the interest of our society and the security of the country”.

Vohra enlisted various steps taken by the government to improve the lot of the people particularly in key sectors like education, social welfare, health and tourism.

“The government is engaged in reorienting and upgrading the education system to make it an ‘enabler’ and not merely a ‘certification department’,” he said adding the establishment of institutions of excellence like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will soon engender a definitive improvement in the quality of professional education in our State.

Vohra also mentioned the success achieved by some local entreprenuers.

“Already, encouraging reports are coming in about groups of self-assured entrepreneurs succeeding in establishing their own enterprises, particularly in Horticulture, Handicraft, Information Technology and other sectors”.

The state government has come out with schemes to match and enhance the endeavours of the young entrepreneurs whose initiatives are already bearing fruit, he said adding skill development is a thrust area for the government and significant initiatives have already been taken in this regard.

Vohra, a former bureaucrat, said “as a former civil servant I note, with enormous satisfaction, that a growing number of our talented boys and girls are getting into the All India Civil Services every year”.