Azad hopes peace process will move forward
15 November 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that with the setting up of Tourism Development Authorities and developing tourist circuit in Rajouri and Poonch by the coalition Government, the twin districts would prominently emerge on the tourism map of the State. Speaking at a largely attended function organized here today to distribute orders for conferment of ownership rights of State land to over 850 farmers of Rajouri district under Roshni scheme, Chief Minister said that Rs. 20 crore each are being spent by Poonch and Rajouri Tourism Development Authorities for creation of tourism related infrastructure in the two districts. As part of generating economic activity in the area, Azad said that Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch tourist circuit is also being developed. He said wayside tourist facilities are being put in place at tourist spots to boost economic development in the area as also generate employment avenues. The Chief Minister said that hilly and remote areas like Rajouri are receiving focused attention of his Government in matters of development. He said development infrastructure is being created on a major scale. He said that education, healthcare, road connectivity and other sectors of high public utility are being given top priority, adding that development works under execution are being completed in a time-bound manner. He said work on two bridges on Thanamandi-Shahdara road is under execution while Rs. 7.50 crore would be spent on widening of this road. He said work on 32 other road schemes is also being taken up in the district. He said a bridge is also being constructed at Beri-Pattan for which Rs. 15 crore have been provided by the Centre. He announced that roads in Rajouri town would be upgraded. Mr Azad said for providing modern medicare to the people of the area, district hospital is being constructed at Rajouri at a cost of Rs. 23.90 crore under double shift system of working. The hospital, he said, would be completed by May next. He said building of Thanamandi degree college would also be completed by March next. Referring to the construction of the Mughal Road, Chief Minister said that 62 kilometre road length, 31 kilometre from each side, has been constructed while the remaining 22-km stretch would be completed by August 2008. He said this road besides providing an alternate link between Kashmir valley and Jammu division would open up the area for tourism and speedy economic development. The Chief Minister referred to opening of Poonch-Rawalakote and Uri-Muzaffarabad cross LoC roads and said that these have facilitated meeting of the divided families on both sides. He said the biggest beneficiaries of opening of Poonch- Rawalakote road are the people of Rajouri and Poonch districts. He also alluded to the composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan and said it has resulted in peace on borders and opening of cross LoC routes. However, owing to internal situation in Pakistan, the peace process has slowed down, he said and hoped that soon the situation in the neighbouring country would improve and the dialogue process taken forward. He said it would pave way for opening of more routes and commencement of cross-LoC trade. Dwelling on the Roshni Scheme, the Chief Minister said it would go a long way in enhancing food grain production in the State besides facilitating the poor farmers in seeking loans, obtaining their PRCs and other certificates after becoming owners of the State land under their possession. On the occasion, Minister of State for Industries and Commerce Dr. Ramesh Chander Sharma, spoke about development scenario in the district and lauded the Chief Minister for taking path-breaking initiatives to ensure speedier and all-round development of the State. DC Rajouri Rafiq Ahmed Sheikh explained Roshni Scheme to the people.