Next six months very crucial for state: Jaitly
30 April 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Mr Ashok Jaitely, out-going Chief Secretary and newly appointed Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister today said that it was duty of the officials to conduct free and fair elections in the State. Addressing a function jointly organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, J&K, Tax Payers Association of J&K and J&K Institute of Public Opinion to felicitate newly appointed Chief Secretary, Mr I S Malhi and his predessor, now Principal Advisor, Mr Jaitly said that coming six months were crucial for the state. ''The forthcoming Assembly elections in the State are very significant. It is duty of the administration to see that elections will be free and fair'', Mr Jaitly said, adding, that free and fair elections are not only necessary for reviving confidence of the people in the democratic institutions but also has positive impact on democracy of the country. Pointing towards law and order situation in the State, Mr Jaitly admitted that terrorism has engulfed some new areas but situation by and large has improved in the State. ''Before 1996 Poonch, Rajouri were peaceful and Jammu was considered as safe but situation has now changed '', he said while pointing towards terrorist attack on Shri Raghunath Mandir. He, however, said that it was nothing but desperate attempts on part of the terrorists. ''During the last five and half years we have contained terrorism to a large extent. Law and order situation has improved in the State'', he said but aired apprehension that terrorists might resort to some more attacks in desperation. Reacting to the demands raised by the industrialists, Mr Jaitly advised the them to intensify struggle for developing infrastructure rather than demanding more subsidy. Th outgoing Chief Secretary who served the State for more than 37 years, appreciated politicians of the State. ''We are fortunate to have enlighten political leadership in the State and there is a good equation between politicians and bureaucrats'', he said while expressing his gratitude towards Chief Minister for giving him overwhelming support. ''No Chief Secretary has got such a tremendous support which I have got from the Dr Abdullah'', he said. While going through the memory lane, Mr Jaitly, an IAS officer, recalled how he had decided to adopt J&K cadre despite being the fact that he was initially allotted Maharashtra Cadre. ''I am so grateful to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and I am proud to be in J&K cadre'', emotional Jaitly said, adding, ''I enjoyed my service in Jammu and Kashmir very much''. He extended good wishes to the newly appointed Chief Secretary, Mr Malhi and termed him as a very respected and close colleague. ''His maturity, wisdom and calmness are some of his qualities'', he said. Chief Secretary, Mr I S Malhi, in his address, said that there was a very unique political and administrative set-up in the State. ''Unlike in other States, the system in J&K State is result oriented'', he said. Highlighting his priorities, Mr Malhi said that coming six months will be event ful. ''When ever elections will be held. Our efforts to accelerate development process will continue'', he said. Mr Malhi said that involvement of society was essential for the over- all development of a society. ''Administration is only to facilitate but it all depends upon society to develop the State'', he said, adding, ''entire administration will have to work like a team for the development and betterment of the State''. In his address, Mr Ram Sahai, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries said that it was paramount interest of the State that industrial sector should develop because with the shrinking of service sector this was the only sector which can offer employment. ''Peace and rule of law is very essential and it is imperative for all those who are responsible for the maintenance of law and order'', he said, adding that the congenial atmosphere is must and ''we are confident that Mr Malhi would ensure that he is capable enough for the maintenance of law and order leading to promotion of industry and trade''. Mr Sahai warned that very purpose of incentives for the industry as announced by the Centre, would be defeated unless necessary steps were not taken for the availability of power to the industrial sector and there should be special quota for this. Prominent industrialist Mr Kuldeep Dogra also spoke on the occasion. Mr S P Sahni presented vote of thanks.