Demands special package for border shelling victims; Air, rail link for Rajouri-Poonch; Tunnel on Mughal road
New Delhi, December 2
A delegation led by Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali called on the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi here today to highlight various demands pertaining to twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch.
The delegation comprised Deputy Chairman J&K Legislative Council Jahangir Hussain Mir, Member Parliament, Jugal Kishore Sharma, MLA Mendhar, Javed Rana, MLA Rajouri Advocate Qammar Hussain, MLA Nowshera Ravinder Raina, MLC Dr Shahnaz Ganie and MLC, Surinder Chowdhary.
The delegation presented the memorandum of demands to the Prime Minister during a meeting in the Parliament Secretariat.
The charter of demands includes special package for border shelling victims, restoration of air service from Rajouri, starting of work on Jammu Rajouri-Poonch Railway Line, four-lanning of Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch Highway, grant of National Highway status to Mughal Road, special employment package for unemployed youth of Rajouri and Poonch, and harnessing the lakes in Pir Panchal area for tourism promotion.
The PM gave patient hearing to the delegation and assured them that the issues raised by them would be looked into.
The memorandum states that the prevailing situation along the LoC is adding to the miseries of the people of Poonch and Rajouri who are witnessing death and destruction every day. There is a need for framing a comprehensive policy for rehabilitation of the people residing along Line of Control who are often affected by cross LoC firing and shelling, it said.
The Memorandum demanded permanent mechanism for safety of the people urging Government of India to provide special financial assistance to the J&K Government for construction of permanent in-house bunkers besides community bunkers in these areas.
Explaining further the hardships faced by the people in these districts, the delegation demanded adequate compensation for loss of lives and property.
Highlighting the issue of Jammu -Rajouri- Poonch Railway line, Legislators said that Railway connectivity is necessary for the development of the region and lack of development in Pir Panjal region is attributed to lack of proper road and rail connectivity.
They said that in 21st century Rajouri Poonch region is not connected by rail. They added that although it was announced in 2012 yet no progress has been made on this project till date. They appealed PM that necessary direction should be conveyed to Ministry of Railway to immediately start the work on this prestigious project at an earliest, so that people of area may not suffer on this account.
Demanding restoration of Air Service from Rajouri & Poonch, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali apprised PM that Districts of Rajouri and Poonch are very vital from the security point of view and in view of present security scenario Air connectivity in the twin districts is necessary. He briefed that a Vayudoot service was operational from Rajouri on Jammu and Delhi sectors and it was stopped in August 1999. He added that Ministry of Civil Aviation has also planned to construct Civil Airport on 1150 Kanals of land at Rajouri but the construction of the said Airport has not been started yet.
In order to have better Air Connectivity to Rajouri and Poonch districts with the other parts of the state and country, he demanded start of Air Service from these districts on priority basis.
The legislators raised the matter of four laning of Jammu- Rajouri-Poonch Road. They said that Union Government in July 2015 approved construction of eight new National Highways which include Jammu-Akhnoor-Nowshera-Rajouri-Poonch NH 144-A and the same project was included in Prime Minister’s Development Project announced on 7th of November 2015 and an amount of 5100 Crore has been earmarked for its construction. They added that the work on this road has not been started yet which connects two important vital districts with the rest of the state and is regularly being used by Army and Security forces guarding the Line of Control.
They requested that work on this prestigious project be initiated on priority and construction agency be instructed to complete the same in a time bound manner.
Demanding Special Employment Package for Rajouri Poonch, the Legislators apprised PM about economic condition of the people of the District Rajouri and Poonch. They added that here is lack of employment, and manual workers go outside the state in search of job. They apprised PM that here are no industrial units in the area consequently; there is a great dependency on Government jobs. They requested announcement of special employment package for unemployed youth of Rajouri and Poonch as people of the twin districts especially youth stand with the nation at the crucial junctures.
On behalf of deputation, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali also asked for setting up of IIM at Rajouri. He said that IIT, AIIMS and Central University and all other central Government institutions are located in and around Jammu District. He added that Jammu Division comprises of 10 Districts and a focused attention towards overall development of the entire region is to be taken into consideration. He requested PM for issuing necessary directions for setting up of IIM at District Rajouri.
Taking up the issue of declaration of Mughal Road as National Highway and Construction of Tunnel on Mughal Road, the Legislators said that Mughal Road is the only alternative road connecting the Jammu Division with the Kashmir valley. This is the shortest road which connects the two districts Poonch and Rajouri with Kashmir Valley. This road also serves as an alternative road to Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. It is requested that National Highway status be accorded to the Mughal Road and also there is a need for construction of tunnel from Chhatapani to Zazinar which will shorten the distance.
These legislators also demanded exploring seven lakes of Pir Panjal. They said that there is a lot of tourism potential in Poonch and Rajouri district which are surrounded by green Lush Mountain. They added that Pir Panjal region is having 7 beautiful lakes which are unexplored and demanded special package to develop these lakes.
Meanwhile Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali said that Prime Minister has assured all possible help to uplift Pir Panchal region.