Union ministers to visit J&K in govt’s outreach programme | India News

Union ministers to visit J&K in govt’s outreach programme | India News

NEW DELHI: In a new initiative, central ministers will be visiting Jammu & Kashmir, which is being seen as a significant outreach by the government close on the heels of many parliamentary panels and dozens of MPs touring the Union Territory along with Ladakh two years after the nullification of Article 370.
Sources said while some ministers have been assigned different districts, others have been asked to review ongoing projects. They also said some of the ministers will interact with local beneficiaries of the central schemes. There is also a possibility of some ministers distributing the entitlements to the identified beneficiaries during their stay in the UT.
This will send a strong message of how the Centre has a special focus on development across J&K, sources said. Most of the ministers will complete their tours this month. Over 200 MPs from at least 14 parliamentary committees have visited the UTs of J&K and Ladakh in recent months, interacting with masses and receiving a feedback on the problems they face. During their visit, many parliamentarians told TOI that they noted lower levels of tension and a yearning for normalcy and peace.
The latest was a visit by the Shashi Tharoor-led parliamentary panel on information technology, which spent three days in J&K soon after the death of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on September 1.
“The lack of response to Geelani’s death, however, shows that it is relatively safe now to move towards an expansion of the political space, and to focus on integrating the hearts and minds of people,” Tharoor told TOI.
The Tharoor-led panel also discussed the status of Bharatnet in J&K, apart from visiting the offices of Doordarshan and the Industrial Training Institute in Srinagar. A discussion on the internet shutdowns in J&K, to which an MP said there is “universal revulsion”, however, was not held.
Pointing to a high per capita expenditure of development funds, and projects being completed on war footing, BJP MP Zafar Islam said the committee had “specific interactions with some people from different regions of the Valley and we could see a sense of satisfaction and contentment among most of them about ongoing development work in the region”.
“Unlike general perception that there is unhappiness in the Valley, we found most people had no complaints about the changes like doing away with the special status to the state,” Islam added.
The visits by multiple Parliament panels, seen as a confidence-building measure among the people of the Valley, are also seen as a prelude to the restoration of the assembly and state elections.

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