Omar Puts Congress On Notice Over Admn Units

Omar Puts Congress On Notice Over Admn Units

24 January 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arun Joshi and Amir Karim Tantray

Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today put Congress ministers on notice over the creation of administrative units warning them that they should either submit their report by January 31 or else the Mushtaq Ganai panel recommendations would be adopted by the government. Upset over the non-submission of the report by the Cabinet Sub-Committee, the Chief Minister said: “Either the Mushtaq Ganai report will have to be adopted or the government will go”. Till then, there would be no Cabinet meeting, he added, before leaving the secretariat here in a huff. Omar issued this warning when Congress ministers entered his chamber to attend a Cabinet meeting. When he asked for the Cabinet Sub-Committee report on new administrative units, Congress ministers said the report would be submitted in another two or three days. The Cabinet Sub-Committee on new administrative units, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, was formed with an aim to move beyond reports prepared by previous committees and satisfy people of all three regions of the state. The Congress maintains that the Mushtaq Ganai report, which has recommended new subdivisions, tehsils, naibats, community development blocks and patwar halqas for the state, is “discriminatory” towards the Jammu region. It has described the report as one-sided while alleging that the panel has recommended more units for the Valley and has not taken into consideration, the area, population and terrain of the Jammu region. The Cabinet sub-committee did not meet the extended deadline for the submission of the report today. It was earlier scheduled to submit the report on January 15. Now the deadline has been extended till January 31 with the condition that either report is submitted or the Mushtaq Ganai report recommendations would be adopted, and if neither of the two happens then “the government will have to go”. Omar made his intentions clear on Twitter, where he wrote that he was “determined to complete this important demand no matter what”. The National Conference adopted the tough posturing since morning when he reportedly told his party ministers and leaders that he would not budge from his stand at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for today. Sources said the Cabinet meeting however did not take place because when Omar asked the Congress ministers for the Cabinet sub-committee report, they sought a couple of days to complete the exercise. The Chief Minister has toughened his stand because Congress ministers are skipping one deadline after another, and the NC’s main rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is raising the pitch over the issue. The NC believes that if it gets new administrative units for the state, it will benefit the party during the elections, sources said. Meanwhile, local Congress leaders are waiting for the high command to give its take on the issue.