Calling for creating a new basis of legitimacy for the peace and resolution process to take shape, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today said the challenge before the leadership of the State and the country is to insulate the process from the setbacks that have derailed it in the past.
“The focus has to be on involving the principal stakeholders – the people of Jammu and Kashmir – in the resolution process to make it sustainable and productive,” the Chief Minister said while addressing a public gathering after inaugurating a new building for the Government Degree College here.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar, Minister of State for Education, Ms Priya Sethi, Vice Chairman, State Advisory Board for Development of Pahari Speaking People, Mr Kuldeep Raj Gupta, Member Parliament, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Legislators, Mr Ravinder Raina, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Mr Surinder Choudhary and Mr Vibodh Gupta were present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister also laid stress on revival and continuation of peace and confidence building process with Pakistan which had helped transform the situation in the State and along the borders between 2002 and 2005. “The Government of India must, with fresh resolve, work through reconciliatory political measures and through public participation towards the resolution of the issue,” she said and added that Jammu & Kashmir could become a bridge of peace and a hub of economic activity in the region given its geostrategic location.
Calling for expanding the ambit and scope of the cross-LoC movement of the people and goods, the Chief Minister said the full potential of the State can be harnessed only through opening it up and empowering all the regions to benefit from the new market economy growing in the region. “For a lasting solution of the State’s problems, substantial political and economic measures have to be taken that meet the reasonable aspirations of the people in all the regions of the State,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said even if Pakistan may be, due to own political reasons, presently reluctant to reciprocate the peace overtures from New Delhi, whatever can be done to address the internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue must be done without delay. “Government of India shall have to take one or more steps than our neighboring country (Pakistan) as Jammu and Kashmir is our state and we have to apply balm on the wounds of the people,” she said and added that we have to have a roadmap of hope for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are embroiled in a challenging and pernicious situation.
Reiterating that the Government is giving focused attention on education sector, the Chief Minister said the general education needs to be supplemented with skills to increase employability of the youth.
Referring to the new Degree College inaugurated today, the Chief Minister said that the college will cater to the needs of higher education in the region and shall fulfill the long pending demand of the people of the area.
The Chief Minister said that the establishment of the Degree College at Nowshera will also help promote girls education. She added that the Government would prioritize establishment of girls’ hostel at Nowshera to facilitate the stay of girl students from the surrounding areas. She also said that certain steps need to be taken to develop a skill development initiative to enhance employability of the youth of the area.
Making his remarks, Dr Nirmal Singh said that the establishment of the Degree College at Nowshera marks a milestone in the education sector in the area. He added that such works are a few of the many developmental initiatives that the Government is taking for the betterment of the State. He said this will also give an opportunity to the youth of the area to contribute towards nation building.
Addressing the well attended gathering, Mr Naeem Akhtar congratulated the people of the area for having the new building of the Degree College at Nowshera. He said that the Government is making all efforts to streamline the education system in the State. He said that out 95 colleges in the State 54 colleges now have their own buildings. While as out of the 41 remaining 25 are under construction, he said and added that concerted efforts are being made to complete 13 college buildings this year. He also talked about adding professional courses in the colleges so as to enhance the entrepreneurial skills in the students. The Minister said that new faculty has also been appointed for subjects like English, Mathematics, etc and recruitment for other subjects is under process.
The new building of the Degree College Nowshera has been constructed by JKPCC and has come up at an estimated cost Rs 11.5 crore.
Also present on the occasion were Commissioner Secretary, Higher Education, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr Navin K Choudhary, DIG Poonch-Rajouri Range, Johnny William, Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Mr Shabir Ahmad Bhat and SSP Rajouri among other officers of the police civil administration.