Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked the officers to cut the grass under their feet and simplify government procedures to enable people to avail services in a time-bound manner.
Giving a freehand to the officers to work diligently for general public good, the Chief Minister said she expects that no undue favours are extended to those wielding influence in the corridors of power. “Charity begins at home. I have compiled a list of my relatives who are government employees which I will be sending to GAD soon. I hope the officers will deal with them as they do with other employees,” she observed, while chairing a high-level meeting of DCs and SSPs of Jammu Division.
Last week, the Chief Minister had taken a similar meeting of DCs and SSPs of Kashmir Division in which she had emphasized upon larger civic engagement in development initiatives in the districts. In her opening remarks, the Chief Minister stated that the government has been confronted with new challenges on the law-and-order front, which she said have to be dealt with meticulously so that the promise of delivering good governance to the people is implemented on the ground.
“We are holding this meeting in the backdrop of certain unfortunate incidents in the Kashmir valley,” she said. During the two-hour-long meeting, Mehbooba Mufti said she is confident of overcoming the challenges and focus entirely on ushering in a new era of development in the state. She warned the officers to remain vigilant and not allow the situation to drift so that they lose focus of their real agenda of bringing peace and development in the state,” she stated.
Drawing a clear line of distinction between the issues confronting administration in Kashmir and Jammu regions, the Chief Minister said the officers have to fulfill their obligations to ensure that systems work properly in reaching the grassroots with their proactive participation. She said the year-long working season in Jammu region is a boon as it enables the executing agencies to implement the schemes in a time-bound manner, unlike Kashmir where hostile weather conditions doubled with challenges on the law-and-order front come as major impediments in completing the development projects on time.
“Redressal of public grievances must be the focal point. In case of emergencies, DCs and SSPs should be the first to reach the troubled spot. They should not let things come to a pass where they get out of control,” she observed.
Describing the DCs and SSPs as custodians of development, the Chief Minister said she will closely monitor their performance on a day-to-day basis. She reiterated her earlier direction and asked both DCs and SSPs to meet general public between 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week from May 15 for on-spot redressal of public grievances.
Urging the officers to treat their lower staff well, the Chief Minister said reaching out to them in mitigating their problems will reflect positively upon their work thus improving the public delivery mechanism. “I will back the officers who travel the extra mile,” she assured.
Asking civil and police administration to work with greater synergy, Mehbooba Mufti singled out land mafia as the biggest challenge before the government in Jammu region. She underlined the need to formulate a comprehensive strategy to speed up follow-up action once the FIRs are registered against land encroachers, so that the illegally-occupied land is retrieved.
On the issue of finalization of Revised Masterplan for Jammu, the Chief Minister said she will soon convene a meeting to speed up processes so that it is notified for planned development of the winter capital. She asked Divisional Commissioner as well as DCs to chase the completion of formalities to enable execution of projects without any delay. “Already the preparation of DPRs consume a lot of time, derailing our projects from adhering timelines,” she added.
Referring to the complaints of harassment to Kothedars (sheep dealers) while transporting sheep between Pathankot and Lahkhanpur, the Chief Minister directed the DGP and SSP Kathua to take up the issue with their respective counterparts in Punjab so that the matter is resolved.
Advising the officers to take a leaf out of the best practices which have been successfully adopted by their colleagues in other states, Mehbooba Mufti dwelt at length on improving services to be delivered under Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA), especially related to obtaining state subjects and ration cards, passport clearances, birth and death certificates and NoCs regarding verification of character antecedents from the police.
In order to facilitate specially-challenged people, the Chief Minister directed the district administrations to deliver Disability Certificates right at their doorsteps.
The Chief Minister touched several issues related to promotion of Jammu as an independent tourist destination, promoting entrepreneurship by entrenching Single Window Clearance Mechanism and adhering to timelines in completion of various development projects.
The Chief Minister made special reference to a number of scenic tourist destinations like Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basohli, Noori Chambh in Rajouri, Jai in Bhaderwah and Warwan in Kishtwar which can catapult Jammu as an independent tourist destination, thus providing a fillip to the travel industry in this region.
Mehbooba Mufti directed the SSPs to deal effectively with normal crimes, especially those committed against women, and youth falling prey to scourge of drugs.