Sunday, 19 Jan, 7.30 am Asian Age

Team of top ministers start J&K outreach tour

As many as 38 Union ministers would be touring J&K extensively to hold close to sixty meetings across the UT over the next six days.

Srinagar: The first team of Union ministers began its tour of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday to what the officials said "disseminate the information about the importance of the government policies with regard to overall development of the Union Territory (UT) and its people along with steps taken in this direction in the last five months."

As many as 38 Union ministers would be touring J&K extensively to hold close to sixty meetings across the UT over the next six days. They would also interact with the people and inaugurate a host of projects and works from tube wells and lane drain protection walls to a two-lane bypass road and a school of engineering. The tour from January 18 to 24 is being coordinated by the Union home ministry.

Three of the ministers, including Arjun Meghwal, Ashwini Choubey and Jitendra Singh who had to reach Jammu by a routine flight from Delhi could not land in the winter capital due to bad weather. Their flight was diverted to Srinagar where from they flew in Jammu in a helicopter later.

According to J&K's chief secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, the visiting ministers will interact with the people to educate them about the schemes and projects being implemented or to be implemented by their ministries in J&K.

The outreach programme will cover five themes viz rapid development after J&K was brought under President's Rule in June 2018 and bifurcated into two UTs five months ago, cent percent coverage of 55 beneficiary oriented schemes to all residents of the UT, rapid infrastructure development including implementation of Prime Minister's Development Programme, flagship schemes and iconic projects, good governance and rule of law with equality of opportunity to all and rapid industrial and economic growth in all sectors wit focus on incomes and employment, he said.

Divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu have been designated as nodal officers to coordinate the visit.

Mr Subrahmanyam has asked the district administrations to make all necessary arrangements for the programme. He has also issued directions to different departments for "putting in their best efforts towards successful conduct of this people friendly initiative."

He added, "The Union ministers will visit the districts under the public outreach programme with an objective of disseminating information about the importance of Centrally-sponsored schemes in overall development of every part of J&K."

Congress has criticized the Centre's decision to send its ministers to J&K, asking what was the need to send "propagandists" if everything was "normal" there and wondered when would opposition leaders be allowed?. It said that this is the first government which passes the laws first and then seeks support for it from the public.

"BJP government, in another propaganda exercise, has decided its time to explain the benefits of revoking Article 370 to Kashmiris. This is the first government that passes laws and then seeks support for it. When will the opposition leaders be allowed to visit Kashmir," the Congress asked in a tweet on its official handle earlier this week.

Senior party leader Kapil Singh had in a tweet said, "Amit Shah says all is normal in Kashmir. If so, why send 36 propagandists to Kashmir? Why not allow non-propagandists to go and understand the situation prevailing there?" Congress spokesman Manish Tewari wrote on the micro-blogging site "36 ministers running around J&K in 6 days is a sign of panic not normalcy. Abrogating Article 370 was a blunder & no quick fixes will work. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king's horses and all the king's men Couldn't put Humpty together again."

Senior Congress leader and former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that by arranging visits of Union ministers to the erstwhile state, the Centre has made a "third bid to spread lies" about situation there post abrogation of its special status given under Article 370.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Asian Age