Rana Advocates Regional Autonomy For Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh
1 February 2015
: Provincial President of National Conference Devender Singh Rana Sunday advocated regional autonomy for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He also called for devolution of powers to elected autonomous regional administrative set ups and elected autonomous district councils under the overall superintendence of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as one entity, 'to assuage the developmental and political aspirations of the people.' 'This is imperative to offset the perceived sense of alienation, imbalances and discrimination among different regions and their sub-regions particularly in view of the serious attempts by divisive political elements during the just concluded elections to sow the seeds of polarization and create iron cast compartments on the basis of region and religion,' Rana said, addressing a public meeting in Nagrota this afternoon. While elaborating the concept of devolution of powers, the Provincial President said Panchayats could play a pivotal role in rural development while the elected and empowered district councils and regional autonomous administrative set up, under the overall superintendence of the state, will help achieving optimum developmental objectives of each area. 'The purpose is not to weaken the authority of the state but to encourage a spirit of federalism, with each region getting equal opportunities of progress and equitable development,' he said. He said the mechanism will go a long way in strengthening the bonds of unity and amity between people of the three regions and maintaining single entity of the state, which is 'facing grave threat from divisive forces.' He said the 'voices of trifurcation were dangerous for overall growth of the state and to foil such sinister attempts financial autonomy of the regions and their sub-regions assumes greater significance.' He referred to the single line administration concept of Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah and said the spirit behind the move was to garner larger involvement of the people in decision making at grassroots and empowering them to fix priorities for developmental projects as per needs of the areas. He also mentioned that Omar Abdullah government's holding of Panchayat elections after nearly three decades was also a 'great leap to empower the people at the grass roots level in the decision making process.'