AFSPA Withdrawal A Long Process: Azad

AFSPA Withdrawal A Long Process: Azad

18 April 2012
Rising Kashmir
Syed Amjad Shah

Jammu: Stating that withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) is a long process, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday said Home Ministry would take a decision on the removal of controversial Act after reviewing the situation in the State. “It has to be seen whether the Jammu and Kashmir Government talks about the removal of AFSPA from the entire State or from some districts, where the situation has shown improvement. The Home Ministry would look into the issue and would see whether the situation in those areas- districts have improved or not,” Azad told reporters at Billawar in Kathua district. He said Home Ministry would discuss the situation in the State and then an appropriate decision regarding AFSPA removal would be taken. When asked about the statement of Pakistan’s Interior Minister about possible infiltration of Taliban in Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said these facts should be ascertained. “We should confirm these things from our intelligence agencies,” he said. Referring to auction of artifacts of Mahatma Gandhi, he said being a follower of Gandhi, he felt very sad. “His belongings should not be sold. If we had prior knowledge about it, we would not have allowed it.” He said Congress wants peace, development and a stable State government for which, the party did not raise concern over the differences in coalition and allow its partner i.e. National Conference to run the government smoothly. He, however, said NC will not be allowed to cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’. “The coalition is running smoothly and there is difference between the two partners. But NC will not be allowed to cross the Lakshman Rekha,” he said adding Congress will get back its two cabinet portfolios including Road and Buildings and School Education. Referring to PDP-Cong regime, Azad said Congress had not intervened in the working of the PDP-led coalition government for three years for the equitable development of the State. “However, they withdrew their support when the Congress’s turn came to rule the State,” he said. He said during Congress – PDP coalition, his government carried out various developmental works across the State. “However, all those works remained incomplete since then,” he said. He said 90 percent funding of various schemes in the State is borne by the central government while only 10 percent is contributed by the Jammu and Kashmir government. Azad said though the government conducted panchayats elections but the second phase of elections for the constitution of block samities, elections of vice chairman etc are yet to be conducted. “In their absence, various central sponsored schemes were not implemented,” he said. Earlier, while addressing a public rally at Billawar, the former chief minister said law and order problem is comparatively better in J&K as compared to many other states. “We should take advantage of the ebbing militancy related incidents and resulting peaceful atmosphere here to boost the economy and reduce unemployment,” he said. He said, “We want stability and peace in the State and Congress party will cooperate with coalition partner in maintaining it. National Conference and Congress will make best efforts to bring peace and tranquility in the state”. Responding to the demands raised by the people, Azad assured that health infrastructure will be strengthened whereby new sub centers and trauma centers will be opened in the remote areas of Kathua district. “The funds will be provided for the up gradation of sub district hospital Billawar,” he said and sanctioned Rs 30 lakh from MPLAD for construction of stadium at Billawar. He also exhorted upon the people to take maximum benefit from the health oriented schemes launched by central government. “A health programmed by the name “Savasth Bharat” launched by the union health ministry is being telecast and broadcast by television and radio in all regional languages of India in evening for 30 minutes duration, where different specialists talk about treatment, prevention and cure of different diseases,” he said and appealed people to take benefit from such programmes and become health conscious. The Union health minister also described in detail various health programmes related to child immunization and mother- child health care. He exhorted upon the people to take maximum benefits of these schemes. “A new scheme has been launched by the government for the females who go for institutional deliveries apart from usual Rs 1500 being paid to them, to and fro fare, blood, medicines, food, free of cost operation etc. also will be provided to the females. The pentavalent vaccine for child immunization will be introduced in J&K from this year which will reduce the number of vaccines to be administered to the child under child immunization programme,” he said. He also said that Union Health Ministry has launched a programme for BPL people where any BPL person suffering from cancer, heart ailments, kidney can get free of cost treatment in any hospital of India. Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand also spoke on the occasion and thanked the central government for liberal funding for the developmental activities in the state. MP Ch Lal Singh also announced Rs 20 lakh from MPLAD for construction of stadium at Billawar. Among others, MOS Power, Shabir Ahmed Khan, legislators, G.M Saroori, Viqaar Rasool, Subash Gupta, Jahangir Mir, Naresh Gupta, Jugal Kishore were present in the rally.