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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have laid stress on their efforts to focus on the people of Jammu and Kashmir develop as people in rest of the country did in the past 70 years, and for that they have committed themselves to a slew of development projects that give new hope to the people of Union Territory.
The Indian government and the BJP party in the Union Territory are committed to take the people of J&K out of the shadow of guns to a new era of development and progress, where they would enjoy basic amenities such as schools and hospitals, and also adequate employment opportunities generated for the youth.
Thus the Jammu and Kashmir administration has accelerated execution work on projects under Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP) since last year even as it has achieved completion or substantial completion of 20 projects. In the beginning of this year, only 7 projects were completed, however the number now stands 20.
“The administration has set a deadline to complete eight more projects costing Rs 6774.8 crore by the end of March of 2021,” officials said. The government of India under PMDP has allocated Rs 58,627 crore to the J&K government to undertake 54 projects.
These to-be completed projects are: Qazigund-Banihal tunnel section costing Rs 1,386 crore; modernization of NIT Srinagar, Rs 100 crore; construction of government tourist assets in lieu of damaged/destroyed assets, Rs 100 crore; 12 development authorities, and 3 tourist circuits, 50 tourist villages proposed under PMRP 2004, Rs 81 crore.
Other projects include, solar off-grid home system, street lighting, Rs 37.45 crore; distribution of special assistance for augmentation of infrastructure for distribution system of power, Rs 3,790 crore; support for sports infra, facilities of coaches, trainers etc, Rs 200 crore; and state government jobs to additional 3,000 Kashmiri migrants, Rs 1,080 crore.
The remaining 34 projects are at different stages of execution out of which 19 shall be completed by the end of 2021, which includes 8 projects scheduled to be completed by March 2021.
In addition, Premier Modi has set an ambitious target of Aug. 15, 2022 for completion of Udhampur-Baramulla Rail Link in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, J&K Lt Gov. Manoj Sinha, in order to review the progress of developmental activities, has passed strict directions to speed up on the ground implementation for early completion of the works. He also called for regular monitoring and submission of progress reports on a monthly basis.
“Sectoral progress should be monitored regularly to avoid unnecessary delay,” Sinha maintained.
Separately, the UT government has also announced Rs 28,400 crore industrial package to boost economic growth in the Union Territory. The package was launched by Sinha recently to give an impetus to the economic activity and to create employment opportunities for the youth of J&K.
Kathua Industrial Unit Association President Ajit Bawa stated several people would greatly benefit from the package, especially after the financial ruin caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "We are happy to get such a good package for industrial growth. Now industries will get a boost and several youths will get jobs.”
He said the new land law gave them the opportunity to purchase land for industry and for domestic purposes.
Several people also expressed happiness at the New Industrial Development Scheme 2021 announced by the administration, which includes benefits and incentives up to the year 2037.
“This new incentive helped bring opportunities to our doorstep. Earlier, we would have to migrate to other states like Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat to get decent jobs. With this scheme, the government has brought opportunities right to our doorstep," said Nikhil Kumar.
Another local industrialist, Vikas Sharma said, "I have been running a cosmetic industry here for 10 years. The industry has suffered during the financially difficult time due to COVID. I am hopeful that the new package will bring relief."
The UT administration is also focusing on reviving traditional means of livelihood in rural areas and imparting skills to the women in Shopian in the field of handlooms, handicrafts, carpet making and Sozni embroidery arts with a greater objective to help the women of Shopian find employment and make them self reliant.
According to Ashfaq Hussian, District Handloom and Handicrafts officer, Shopian, hundreds of women have been trained from these centers and started their own businesses.
"In our district, we are giving training in handloom making to women above 18 years of age. We have seven training centers, and each center can accommodate 25 students. The women learn and develop their skills here and are becoming self-reliant by making and selling their products. We have trained close to 800 women, who have started their own business," said Hussian.
“There is a lot of unemployment in the region, and learning this skill will help in finding employment. Many women I know have received training here. Inspired from them, I also came here to learn the art,” said Nahida Aziz, a trainee at one of the centers.
Another trainee Rozy Jan said that the administration not just gives them training in various art forms, but also gives them a stipend of Rs 500 per month. “By learning these skills, we can earn our own money by making the products at home and sell them,” said Sameena Bhat, another trainee.
The UT administration is also making efforts to bring the benefits of IT revolution to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. To realize this objective, the UT Administration facilitated a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NBCC and JK IT Infrastructure Development Company for establishing IT Towers in both the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar at a cost of Rs 50 crore each.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Gov. Sinha observed that the development of IT infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir would go a long way in creating “a conducive environment for startups, economic growth and creation of employment opportunities”.
The UT Administration has set deadlines of 15 months and 17 months for completion of the IT Towers at Jammu and Srinagar, respectively.
Underlining that improvement in the regulatory environment and business ecosystem has been a major priority of the Jammu Kashmir government, Sinha asserted that the growth of the Information Technology sector was absolutely imperative for economic growth and for creation of gainful employment opportunities in the UT.
He said that many of “our youngsters, who are working in cities like Bangalore and Gurugram (Gurgaon) may also like to return and contribute to our efforts of promoting innovation entrepreneurship culture.”
The several initiatives undertaken by the central and UT governments have also started yielding results. The Cooperative Societies (CSs) of Kupwara — a small district in Srinagar province — have registered a business of Rs 7.14 Crore during 2020, as compared to last year’s business of Rs 5.43 Crore, thereby recording an increase of 31.48 percent in business profits.
The Consumer Cooperatives recorded Rs 4.30 Crore business besides selling 21,198 quintals of fertilizers at the cost of Rs 2.35 Crore, poultry at the cost of Rs 45.52 lakh and dairy at the cost of Rs 3.22 lakh. — Agencies
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