SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 14: Something which would give a massive push to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure post 2014 floods in the State, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti formally launched the World Bank funded mega development project, US $ 250 million Jhelum-Tawi Flood Recovery project here today.
The project was conceptualized and pursued by former Chief Minister, late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in the aftermath of devastating floods of 2014 and today after completion of all formalities the project was formally launched.
Launching the project, the Chief Minister said alongside the political agenda, development of Jammu & Kashmir as a model state is the cornerstone of her Government. She said late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had a political and developmental vision for J&K to make it a model state in the country which he pursued vigorously. She said the vision of the late leader would be fulfilled by the State Government with all seriousness.
Mehbooba Mufti reminded the jam packed audience of stakeholders that when the late leader took over in 2002 as the Chief Minister he rolled out his political and developmental agenda and started working for its implementation and during the same tenure he persuaded and got Asian Development Bank assistance for funding the urban development projects in the State and after taking over in 2015 convinced the World Bank to fund reconstruction of critical developmental infrastructure in the State.
The Chief Minister said the late leader wanted to develop Jammu & Kashmir as a world class place befitting to the peace loving and hospitable nature of its people so that it becomes a show window not only within the country but in the world as well. She said she intends to undertake developmental revolution in Jammu & Kashmir not only as her wish but as a mission to fulfill the dream of the late leader which he had visualized for the State. She said she would personally be monitoring the works under the project and also the commitments and assurances made by the late leader.
The Chief Minister said to fulfill the dream of making a prosperous Jammu & Kashmir she would not only seek more and more funding from the Centre but also see how investment and expertise from countries around the globe can come to the State. She said while many countries specialize in one or the other sector she would like investment and expertise flow to the State in critical developmental sectors for achieving this unparalleled feat and added that today’s launch of the World Bank project is a step in this direction.
Advising the engineers and planners to incorporate all the safety precautions in the works that they would be taking up under the project, Mehbooba Mufti said Jammu & Kashmir is a high seismic zone and prone to natural disasters like floods and cloudbursts and advised the experts to factor in this while going for the constructions. She also flagged sectors like Education and healthcare where she desired to have a world class infrastructure. She said she intends Jammu & Kashmir to have a quality infrastructure in education so that it becomes a world class hub of education.
On the clean environment in the State, the Chief Minister said the State qualifies to be developed as a place for medical tourism. She hoped under the projects quality medical infrastructure would be raised which would not only provide better facilities to patients of the State but also persuade patients from outside to come for treatment here, thereby contributing to the State’s economy substantially. She said with the setting up of five new medical colleges, some nursing colleges and paramedic institutes health infrastructure in the State would be upgraded substantially.
Referring to recent unfortunate incidents in the State during the past four months, Mehbooba Mufti said she is deeply hurt with the killing of young boys, injuries to people and also due to the loss of precious academic time of the young generation which, she said, is among the irreparable losses. She said the youth of Jammu & Kashmir have shown their talent time and again but the only thing is of opportunity and exposure. “Be it the youngest woman pilot from Baramulla, topper of BSF officers’ exam from Udhampur or many of the young boys and girls who cracked the prestigious all India civil services examinations, they all have made us proud”, she said.
Observing that the State is very fertile in producing genius, the Chief Minister, however, advised the youth to channelize their energies positively so that they are able to provide relief to the citizens of the State who have suffered due to neglect and insincerity during the past 70 years. She asked who in the country and outside did not have a word of praise for the youth of the Valley during 2014 floods when they rescued not only the locals but even outsiders, tourists and even members of security forces.
Mehbooba Mufti said people of the State are very simple, hospitable and peace loving but unfortunately a monster has been created out of them, partly by some vested political elements and partly by some news channels to boost their TRP ratings.
On the issues confronting the State, the Chief Minister said the Agenda of Alliance reached out between the two ruling parties has made the progress on these issues mandatory and assured that whatever she or her party promised would be delivered but for that she said the Government needs to be given an ambience of peace so that it can focus on bigger issues rather than getting tangled in petty things like maintaining law and order. She said world over the era of violence is over and no issue can be resolved either by violence or taking law into one’s hands.
The Chief Minister complimented Ministers for Relief & Rehabilitation and Finance and the team of experts and officers from the State Government for working together to close the deal with World Bank. She impressed upon the officers to ensure that the project deadlines are met with and works are completed within the stipulated time frame.
Earlier, in his address, Minister for Public Works & Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri said that the launch and execution of the project would be a tribute to the efforts which late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed made for it. He said the late leader had a roadmap for the development of the State and said the present Government is duty bound to follow the same. He also impressed upon the engineers and experts to work round the clock so that the deadlines are met.
Minister for Revenue, Relief & Rehabilitation, Syed Basharat Bukhari in his address thanked the World Bank officials for working in tandem with State Government for finalisation of the project. He underscored the need for having a comprehensive Rehabilitation and Disaster Management Policy for the State. He hoped that the present Government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti would be giving its people comprehensive Rehabilitation and Disaster Management policies who are vulnerable to natural disasters.
Minister of State for Planning, Ajay Nanda also addressed the gathering and hoped that the project would ensure a developmental revolution in the State.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development, B. B. Vyas highlighted the main contours of this project adding that all the sectoral and geographical equities have been ensured in the project. He said the buildings and roads to be reconstructed under the project would be made disaster resistant.
Ministers, legislators, Chief Secretary, officers and heads of all the Departments were present on the occasion.