Mr Jess Dutton, Deputy High Commissioner of Canada who is on an official visit to Jammu and Kashmir today called on Chief Secretary, B R Sharma here at the Civil Secretariat this morning.
Mr Dutton discussed with the Chief Secretary, developmental priorities of the State Government and opportunities for the Canadian business and other Canadian organizations in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Deputy High Commissioner said, he was overwhelmed with the beauty of Kashmir and the capital city Srinagar, and since his arrival has felt at home due to similarities in environmental and climatic conditions prevalent in Canada and Kashmir. He also mentioned that Canadians are very fond of skiing and ice hockey and see ski slopes of Kashmir and ice skating in Ladakh as an ideal opportunity to participate in the upcoming winter sports events here. ‘’ I shall be visiting the state to participate in these activities along with other Canadian winter sports lovers” he said.
In education sector, Mr Dutton said that Canada sees greater opportunities for students of Jammu and Kashmir to study in Canadian Colleges and Universities. “Each year more than 14000 Indian students come to Canada for higher studies and we see that as opportunity for J&K and its very intelligent and bright students to enrich Canada” he said.
Dwelling on various initiatives taken up by the State Government in the field of education and skill development of youth, Chief Secretary informed the Canadian delegation about the prestigious model school initiative, smart and technology oriented classrooms. “State Government has launched a special skill development mission for the Youth to make them Job market ready, also inviting Corporate India to recruit, handhold and train the youth in various fields for their subsequent placement and absorption in the Job market” Mr Sharma said.
Mr Sharma also spoke about various developmental challenges in the wake of devastating floods that submerged vast areas of the State and the business hub Srinagar, hitting the State’s economy and progress badly. “We are trying to put our economy back on rails and this is a major priority area for the Government. Our infrastructure was badly hit and during last several months we have been working hard to restore the damage” he said.
Chief Secretary also mentioned about various projects underway to improve road infrastructure, agriculture and horticulture, power and tourism in the State. “Government is increasingly investing in horticulture and tourism sectors as they continue to be mainstay of J&K’s economy. We are also seeing gradual progress in the power sector and we are hopeful to harness our hydropower potential more efficiently” Mr Sharma said.
Chief Secretary also welcomed any investment that Canada or its business companies may like to make in Jammu and Kashmir. “ We have had many experiences in the past where foreign countries have assisted the State Government in completing projects especially related to roads and hydropower projects and we have over the years also associated with various World Bank and Asian Development Bank projects and the association is still continuing” he said
Mr Dutton thanked the State Government for its cooperation with the Canadian delegation.” We came with a purpose to re-connect and to gain a deeper understanding of J&K’s political, economical and social developments as well as the priorities and challenges of the State Government” he said.
Ms Gillian Frost, Counsellor and Head of Political and Economic progress, Ms Madhusari Das, Senior Analyst at the High Commission also accompanied the Deputy High Commissioner.