BDC polls should be held within two months: Azad

BDC polls should be held within two months: Azad

21 October 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Gopal Sharma

Jammu: Union Health Minister and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that Block Development Council elections be held within next two months and holding these elections without providing reservation to the women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State is meaningless. Speaking in a function held at Bishnah to honour families of martyrs today, the top All India Congress Committee leader said that holding Block Development Council elections without providing powers to the Panchayats and reservation to the women and SCs-STs will be of no use. He said the Congress Party has its clear stand on provision of 33% reservation to women, SCs and STs as per the existing norms in the State. The BDC polls were postponed in the State after consultation with the coalition partner because it was realized that entire exercise was futile without according reservation benefit to the people of these categories. He asked the party ministers to act on the reservation issue within a month time and hold BDC polls in 2012. 'It hardly matters whose party members are more in a Halqa or block. We have enough strength and need not to worry. And even if independent candidates have good strength, we should go for according reservation to these categories as per the Act', Mr Azad maintained. Mr Azad said during Kashmir convention held recently, the Congress had adopted resolution for providing powers to Panchayats by making necessary amendment in the Act. 'Sonia Gandhi has stressed for 50 % share to the women but we must provide at least 33% to the women candidates in the Panchays in State. We should not bother how much our people get elected to these bodies. The main issue is to provide powers to Panchayats. I have spoken to PCC chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz and DyCM Tara Chand on the issue in detail and it was decided unanimously to go for amendment first. The poll process should be over by the end of December this year', he added. Referring to the process of reforms in the Health sector, the Union Minister said that with the approval of Planning Commission, the Central Government has decided to provide free medicines-drugs in all the Government hospitals in the country. Whether, Primary Govt dispensary, Primary Health Centre, SDH or District hospital, the patients will get free medicines- injections in all the hospitals. From this year, 25 % area is being covered in the country and J&K State has been placed in the first list. 'It is a matter of major relief for the State as the people in J&K will get free medicines- drugs in all the Government hospitals from December this year. Entire country will be covered in phased manner in next three years under the scheme', Mr Azad maintained. He also declared construction of 50 bedded hospital at Bishnah and promised to provide Rs 16.5 crore for the project. He said Rs 3 crore has been released for the same. He hoped that upgradation work will be completed by December next year. Mr Azad said to contain mortality rate of infants and their mothers, special scheme was launched in the country under ‘Janani Suraksha Yojna’. Free institutional deliveries have been introduced. The Government pays money for shifting women to hospital and also Ambulance and even for return from hospital to their respective residences. The Government provides free treatment to mother and new born in case of complications- illness. With this mortality rate has been controlled to larger extent. Paying tributes to martyrs, the Union Minister said that their sacrifices can not be ignored. Their families deserve support from the society and it is responsibility of the Government to look after them and render support as well. He said due to proxy war waged by Pakistan in the State for the last two decades, many security force personnel and innocent civilians have lost their lives. Many women turned widows and children turned orphan. Not only this VDC members lost their lives. Their sacrifices can not be ignored. Mr Azad said as a Chief Minister of the State he tried his best to deliver good to the people but due to less time available with him (2 and half years), he could not perform up to his satisfaction. He however, regretted slow pace of progress on some projects which he had started in the State. He referred to enhancement of annuity of the decorated soldiers (PVCs- MVC etc) in the State besides raising remuneration of Chowkidars and Numberdars. He said Chowkidars and Numberdars remuneration is needed to be raised further. Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, Pawan Kumar Bansal while paying tributes to the martyrs said that due to the supreme sacrifices of these brave soldiers the country is surviving. He said society should share the grief and burden of the families of the martyrs by supporting them in every respect even in the farming. Mr Bansal further said that Union Ministry of Water Resources has sanctioned Rs 176 crore for Ranbir Canal modernization project and out of this Rs 153 crore will be provided by the Centre. He said an amount of Rs 108 crore has already been released to the State. Another Rs 62 crore Ravi Canal upgradation- modernization project has been sanctioned and Rs 55 cr will be provided by the Centre. An amount of Rs 9 crore stood sanctioned, he added. Dy Chief Minister Tara Chand recalled the massive progress witnessed on the projects undertaken during Mr Azad’s tenure as CM in the State. He said the State really needs his leadership here for better and balanced progress and prosperity. He stressed for tourism promotion and tackling unemployment problem. He paid tributes to the martyrs and said that more such functions are needed to be organized in every district and tehsil. The DyCM claimed that BDC polls will be held shortly after incorporating reservation provisions in the Act in the State. Within 15-20 days, the process of reservation to women, SCs-STs will be over and the polls will be conducted shortly. Minister for PHE, I&FC Taj Mohi-ud-Din announced construction of park and plantation along Bishnah Canal and also making it concerete in the town by constructing Pucca Ghats. The DyCM also assured full cooperation from MC Bishnah in the project. Ch Lal Singh, MP from Udhampur –Doda issued appeal to Mr Azad on behalf of the public to return to State politics. He said State really needs his services. He also referred to the damage being caused to the party as ‘coalition’ was not playing favourable role in the State. He regretted that many items of the Congress manifesto remained unattended till now. Earlier, former Minister and president Dogra Saddar Sabha Gulchain Singh Charak who organized this programme extended gratitude to Union Ministers Mr Bansal and Mr Azad for sparing time for this function of martyrs. He assured that this programme will be held every year. He also extended gratitude to Azad for upgradation of Bishnah hospital to the capacity of 50. Mr Charak also expressed gratitude to Mr Taj for announcing modernization of canal and construction of park along it in the town. Prominent among others present included Minister of State for Cooperatives and Finance, Manohar Lal Sharma, former Ministers, former DyCM Mangat Ram Sharma, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ghulam Mohd Saroori (MLA), Suman Bhagat, Yogesh Sawhney, Ch Gharu Ram, former Dy Chairman Legislative Council Arvinder Singh Micky, MLCs Naresh Gupta and Subash Gupta, MLA Chenani Krishan Chand Bhagat, Maj Gen ( Retd) G S Jamwal, president Bar Association Jammu B S Slathia, President CCI Jammu Y V Sharma, Ghambir Singh Charak and others.