Government to carry opposition along in development process: Omar




            Srinagar, June 29  – Asserting that government would take opposition along in process of development, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday said that public representatives, irrespective of their party affiliation, will be actively involved in carrying forward policy planning for comprehensive development in the State. “We believe in strengthening democratic system and our every endeavour will be in this direction,” the Chief Minister said.

            Addressing a public gathering at Popchan, Bandipora, after inaugurating a bridge on Erin nullah, the Chief Minister said, “Restoration of peace and development process is the common concern of all of us and we have to deliver on this front working above party politics.”

            Mr. Abdullah said the State, like other parts of the country, is confronted with the crisis of unemployment of educated youth and this sector has been flagged by his government as a priority concern. “While measures are afoot to create jobs in government sector, efforts are also on to rope in private sector to address this issue,” he said, and asked all political parties to extend their hand in resolving this problem.

            The Chief Minister said he had launched Awami Mulaqat series from Bandipora district and this will continue to get firsthand appraisal of public demands and help redress genuine grievances on-the-spot.

            The Popchan bridge, inaugurated by the Chief Minister, has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 4.13 crore by Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA). The bridge is 2×26.28 span, 55.56 metre-long, pre-stressed concrete girder with 7.50 metre width carriage way. It will benefit nearly one lakh people of Baramulla and Ganderbal districts and towns and villages of Gurez, Ajas, Saderkote, Safapora, Hajjan and Manasbal directly and five lakh people indirectly. During the construction of bridge, 65,000 man-days have been generated directly and indirectly.

            Mr. Abdullah also inaugurated 12 MW Athwatu Power Project, constructed under Independent Power Producers (IPP) Scheme, at Madumati nullah at Athwatu, 10 km from Popchan. The project has been constructed by Magapie Hydel Construction Operation Industry Pvt Ltd with expertise of Mecamidi, France and M & Company Civil Engineering Construction at a cost of Rs. 77 crore. J&K Bank has advanced 75 per cent loan to the company.

            Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister highlighted potential of J&K for such projects and said steps have been initiated to harness this potential in full. He said he will discuss with Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, a comprehensive policy to take up smaller projects in feasible areas of J&K for generating indigenous electricity for local use. “Besides generation of electricity for household utilization, this will help in creating economic activities in rural areas and provide greater employment opportunities to the youth,” he added.

            Speaking on the occasion, MLA, Bandipora, Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, lauded Chief Minister’s sincere efforts for all-round development of the State. He also welcomed Mr. Abdullah’s gesture to hold his first Awami Mulaqat in Bandipora, adding visit of the Chief Minister to this backward area twice in one week for inaugurating development projects and meeting people speaks volumes of his intension for public good.  He demanded special funds for the up-gradation of Sumbal-Bandipora Road and assured his fullest cooperation to the government in mitigating difficulties of people on the development front.

            Former Minister and MLA, Tangmarg, Ghulam Hassan Mir, who also addressed the gathering, said time has come when people have to work jointly for development and rid the State of culture of bloodshed. He said people have undergone a saga of atrocities and highhandedness which marred State’s peace and development. He asked people to participate in the developmental process and strengthen initiatives which will take State towards prosperity.

            MLA, Gurez, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, while welcoming the Chief Minister, thanked him for inaugurating two important development projects in Bandipora district. He said construction of the bridge over Erin nullah and a power project at Athwatu would benefit large chunk of people of the district. He appreciated the Chief Minister’s efforts of infusing new energy into development process and initiating constant public rapport through Awami Mulaqats.

            Financial Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, ERA,       S. L. Bhat, Chairman, J&K Bank, Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, various Chief Engineers, concerned officers and senior citizens were present on the occasion.

            Project Director, Athwatu Power Project, gave a resume of the power project and welcomed the Chief Minister for inaugurating the venture aimed at providing electricity to the people in far off area of Bandipora district.