February 2016 News
Mehbooba Wants Forward Movement On Agenda Of Alliance Before Govt20 February 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti wants the BJP-led Governm-ent at Centre to take some concrete measures aimed at implementation of developmental agenda, which was envisioned in the agreed Agenda of Alliance between the two coalition partners. The PDP leadership was pained over the fact that despite the agreed upon 'Governance Agenda' between the top leadership of the two coalition partners, there wasn't much headway on several prestigious developmental projects and most of them had failed to make headway due to lack of required support from the Centre. This was categorically conveyed by the PDP president to the BJP's point-man on J&K Ram Madhav during the latter's visit to Srinagar on February 18. 'The failure of the PDP-BJP coalition to translate the development agenda of Mufti Sayeed into reality during the eight month rule had seriously dented the image of the PDP and despite his best efforts, the required support wasn't coming forward', said party insiders who were privy to the first high level contact between two coalition partners after the demise of former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. 'Despite being aware that it was an alliance between two diametrically opposite political parties, Mufti Sayeed entered into an understanding. It was not simply an alliance between the two political parties, but an alliance between the Government of India and Jammu and Kashmir for pushing the State on road to prosperity', the PDP leadership observed. Insiders in both political parties said, 'the discussions revolved over the failure of the coalition to implement various decisions, which were imperative to catalyse the development process in the State. Though Centre was liberally providing funds to the State, several development projects in all the three regions of the State became hostile to the delayed decision making process'. Contrary to the media reports that confabulations were focussed on AFSPA, sources said, 'both parties mutually agreed that time wasn't ripe for revocation of the AFSPA and no decision could be taken in haste till the security environment in the State improves'. Citing example of lack of support from the Central leadership, Mehbooba had conveyed, 'while Centre had provided 13 Smart Cities to UP and 11 each to Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, there wasn't mention of twin capital cities in the list. It would have conveyed the seriousness of Central Government towards the Developmental agenda, if they would have announced smart city status to both Jammu and Srinagar in relaxation of rules'. 'The sole purpose of entering into an alliance with PDP was to push the State towards road of progress, but despite best efforts of Mufti Sayeed it wasn't translating into reality. Though Centre was kind enough to provide economic package worth 80,000 crores, the impact of the same wasn't yet visible on ground', the PDP leader said. Mehbooba also listed several projects across three regions of the State, which had suffered immensely due to lack of proper support from the Union Ministry of Defence. Justifying her grievances, she told Madhav, 'whether it was Airport expansion of Jammu, vacation of land adjoining Jammu University or Tattoo Ground, Batamaloo in Srinagar High Ground in Anantnag, Ompora Industrial Estate, Budgam or land in Khurbathong in Kargil, there was no movement on any front'. 'On September 30, the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had convened a meeting of Civil-Military Liaison administration and Army Commanders to discuss the issue of development of new Housing colony at Lower Khurbathang in Kargil; expansion of Jammu Airport, Jammu University; vacation of Tattoo Ground, Batamaloo in the heart of summer capital for providing basic facilities to people; High Ground Anantnag for expansion of Kashmir University's South Campus and development of a new housing colony and development of Ompora Industrial Estate, where 100 kanals of prime land remained unused due to objections by IAF', she had conveyed adding, 'though the former Chief Minister had managed to get investments from the Corporate Groups like Reliance, there was little movement on these developmental projects within the State'. The PDP leader told Mr Madhav during their one hour meeting, 'if person of stature of Mufti Sayeed couldn't push through his development agenda, it would be difficult for her to execute similar decisions unless steps were initiated for implementing Agenda of Alliance on ground', adding, 'we need to create a conducive atmosphere in the State, before moving any further on Government formation else it would be only an exercise in futile'. Sources in BJP also said, 'Madhav would hold detailed deliberation over all the issues mentioned by the PDP leadership with senior party leaders including the President, Amit Shah and then revert back to their coalition partner. Before formulating any response, the BJP's point-man on J&K would also seek response from the concerned Central Ministries on various issue and how far the Centre would be willing to adjust the demands of the coalition partner'. 'The next meeting between the leaders is likely to take some time and there were clear indications that the Government formation will be delayed for some time', sources asserted. Political pundits also opined that even the agreed Agenda of Alliance between the PDP-BJP was also clear about the inherent contradictions on the issue of AFSPA and didn't categorically support its withdrawal. While referring to 'Security Matters', the document says, 'while both parties have historically held a different view on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the need for it in the State at present, as part of the agenda for governance of this alliance, the Coalition Government will examine the need for de-notifying disturbed areas.' The political document also supported the contention of PDP that despite commitments, not much movement was visible on the issue pertaining to illegal occupation of land by security forces. The document says, 'all lands other than those given to the security forces on the basis of lease, licenses and acquisition under the provision of the Land Acquisition Act shall be returned to the rightful legal owners, except in a situation where retaining the lands is absolutely imperative in view of a specific security requirement. In any case, monetary remuneration, be it in the form of rents or compensation should be made fairly at market rates'. Political experts were also critical of the Centre for its failure to give two Smart Cities to the border State. 'If J&K could be granted two Central Universities, two AIIMS then why not two Smart Cities bearing in mind the regional sensitivities of the State', they opined.