Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, met the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, here this morning and discussed with him the unfortunate firing incident at Handwara yesterday in which three civilians, including a woman, were killed.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister called for a time-bound enquiry into the incident so that those responsible for the deaths are handed exemplary punishment. This, she said, will act as a deterrent against such incidents in future. Mehbooba Mufti said such incidents shake the confidence of the people and adversely impact the efforts of the State government in consolidating peace dividends.
She said the loss of lives of the innocent civilians cannot be compensated by whatsoever means. However, she urged the Defence Minister to announce adequate compensation to the families of the victims, who have suffered such an irreparable loss.
The Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister of a detailed time-bound probe to fix the responsibility in the firing incident at Handwara. The Chief Minister also discussed several other wide-ranging issues with Manohar Parrikar. She called for expediting handing over certain portions of land not required by the Army to the State so that it can be used for promoting tourism and developing civic, educational and infrastructure facilities in the larger public interest.
Mehbooba Mufti also took up the issue of concrete action by the MoD on the decisions taken in the Civil-Military Liaison Conference. She sought early approval to the State government’s proposal submitted in 2014 regarding revision in the rates of rent to different categories of land held by the Army. She also requested revision in the rate of compensation to population affected by Field Firing and Artillery Practices.
Mehbooba Mufti also sought forward movement on sorting out the issue of making Industrial Estate at Ompora, in Budgam district, functional. Defence Minister assured Mehbooba Mufti, as regards the issues raised, early positive consideration by his Ministry.
The Chief Minister later met the Union Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, and discussed with him several proposals for upgradation of civic facilities in cities and towns in the state. She pitched for inclusion of both Capital Cities of Srinagar and Jammu as smart cities in ‘Smart Cities Mission’ and bringing Kargil town under the ambit of AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). Presently, Leh town is being covered under the Centrally-sponsored scheme.
Mehbooba Mufti said the State government expects liberal financial assistance from the Urban Development Ministry so that it benefits from various Central government schemes, which will help J&K to overcome challenges in solid waste management and proper drainage.