5 out of 36 Union ministers to visit Kashmir as part of Centre’s J-K outreach programme

Only five out of 36 Union ministers will be visiting Kashmir as part of the Centre’s outreach program in the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. According to officials, the ministers visiting the Valley over the next four days are Telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, minister of state for Defence Shripad Naik and minister of state for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy.

Naqvi will kick-start the valley leg of the outreach program on Tuesday where he will lay the foundation stone for a high school in the Dara area on the outskirts of Srinagar. He will also lay the foundation stone for the water conservation project at Sarband in the Harwan area of the city.

Reddy will begin his two-day program of interactions in the Ganderbal district on Wednesday, while Prasad will be stationed in Baramulla district for two days starting Thursday. Naik will be in Srinagar on Thursday, while Pokhriyal will be in the summer capital of the union territory on Friday.

According to the officials, only eight meetings are scheduled to be held in Kashmir over the next four days, while over 50 such meetings and programs are scheduled in the Jammu division. None of the ministers will be visiting any of the four militancy-infested south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam.

The districts of Budgam, Kupwara, and Bandipora have also not been included in the itinerary of the visiting ministers. The aim of the visits by ministers is to make people aware of the “positive impact” of the abrogation of Article 370, which granted the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir the special status, and share “development initiatives taken by the government” with them, the officials said.