Unkept promises responsible for present situation, says Mehbooba

CM, Nadda lay foundation of new medical colleges at Rajouri, Baramulla, Anantnag

Stating that people have huge expectations from the Coalition Government in the State, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, today urged the Centre to take more substantive measures in fulfilling the promises made in the Agenda of Alliance.

She said her father took a tough but well-thought out decision, as he saw a historic opportunity to break new ground in bringing the people from the three distinct regions of the state closer to each other. “Mufti Saab was a visionary leader. He joined hands with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, after two months of sustained discussions which resulted in the formation of the Agenda of Alliance. It is now our collective responsibility to implement it and fulfill the promises made with the people of the state,” she said, while stressing upon building a reconciliatory environment.

The Chief Minister made these observations while addressing a large gatherings of people at Rajouri and Anantnag, after laying the foundation stones of three new medical colleges in the state.

Union Health & Family Welfare Minister, J. P. Nadda, Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh, senior PDP leader and Member Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Minister for Public Works & Parliamentary Affairs, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Revenue, Relief & Rehabilitation, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Minister for H&ME, Bali Baghat, Minister for CA&PD, Ch. Zulfkar, Minister for A&SH, A. G. Kohli, Minister for Cooperatives, Chering Dorgey, Minister of State for Haj & Auqaf (IC), Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi and the Minister of State for H&ME, H&UDD and Social Welfare, Asiea Naqash were also present on the occasion.

Describing the Agenda of Alliance as the fulcrum on which the Coalition Government rests, the Chief Minister said after the accession there has been a trail of un-kept promises with the people of the state, made by both the State as well as Central leaders. This, she said has led to loss of faith among the masses, more so in mainstream leaders. “Lot of dreams were sold to the people during the last so many decades without fulfilling any one of them. It was a fortunate coincidence that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed got an opportunity to serve the state as the Chief Minister from 2002 to 2005 while Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India,” she added.

Mehbooba Mufti observed that both the leaders understood the sensitivities of the state and came up with a very humane response to the problem, which included ceasefire agreements, bringing down human rights violations and opening of new routes across the LoC. She said these steps created a feel-good factor, which unfortunately were not consolidated by the successive governments that followed. “This time, people have again reposed trust and hope in the Coalition Government,” she stated.

The Chief Minister said that just as strengthening of the health infrastructure by setting up institutes like AIIMS was part of the Agenda of Alliance, many critical issues in the Defence, Power and other union ministries demand similar attention. “The credibility of my father and that of the Coalition Government depends on action taken report on the Agenda of Alliance, which can turn around the fortunes of the state over the next five years,” she added.

Referring to the difficult circumstances in which the people voted in the 2014 elections, Mehbooba Mufti said both the parties took bold and tough decisions to honour the fractured mandate of the people. “The purpose of the alliance is to create a peaceful environment within the state so that people can live honourable and prosperous lives, the foundation of which lies in the Agenda of Alliance,” she added.

Hailing the people of the state for creating success stories like Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan, a young 23-year-old boy who secured second position in IAS and Ayesha Aziz, who became the youngest woman pilot, the Chief Minister said that they are real symbols of our state. She added that unfortunately some sections of the electronic media were focusing more on negative news emanating from the state, thus opening doors for others to demonize Kashmiris, especially youth. “It is the duty of the media to highlight our heroes rather than waste their energy on unending debates that yield nothing but hatred for people of the state in the rest of the country,” she added.

Describing J&K as a shining example of mutual coexistence, the Chief Minister said despite extreme provocations, Hindus and Muslims have exhibited great maturity and lived in complete harmony. She said J&K’s strong foundation has helped us in frustrating attempts at undermining its secular fabric.

Congratulating the people on setting up of five new medical colleges and two AIIMS in the State, she hoped that these will be completed within the stipulated time-frames. She also mentioned her father’s earlier stint as Chief Minister when he hoped that the new campuses established during his tenure would lead to setting up of medical colleges. Today, she said his vision has been fulfilled.

The Chief Minister said it is the duty of the State Health Department now to follow up so that funds from the Centre are accessed for kick-starting work on various projects taken up under different schemes. She also highlighted the hardships faced by the people, especially in far-flung and remote areas of the state, and hoped that with liberal financial assistance the healthcare infrastructure will be further upgraded.

Describing the coalition government as a strong political combination, the Union Health Minister said the setting up of five new medical colleges in the state as well as two AIIMS will prove to be a turning point in the state’s healthcare sector. “We have received the proposal for setting up two AIIMS in J&K for which land has been identified at Awantipora in Kashmir and Vijaypur in Jammu,” he said, while urging the State government to forward other proposals related to health services sector so that requisite sanctions are conveyed without further delay.

Nadda said the new medical colleges will be attached with their respective District Hospitals and an amount of Rs.189 crore will be spent on the construction of each college. He added that the Centre has also sanctioned two State Cancer Institutes at SKIMS Soura and GMC Jammu for which Rs.120 crore each will be expended.  “We will also fund upgradation of GMCs at Jammu and Srinagar, besides establish Dialysis Centre in each district hospital of the state under PPP mode,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh advised the State government to plan in advance for smooth functioning of the new medical colleges. He laid emphasis on arranging expert faculty and optimally utilizing the infrastructure once it is created. “The Centre will bear 90% cost of total cost of expenditure on creation of infrastructure. Once the hospitals start functioning, the recurring cost will be borne by the state government,” he said, while asking Health Department to prepare a perspective plan to ensure smooth functioning of the colleges.

Bali Baghat, in his address, highlighted the initiatives taken by his Department to improve healthcare delivery in the state. He said besides the State Cancer Institutes, five Tertiary Cancer Care Centres, each at a cost of Rs.45 crore, will be set up in the state.

It is pertinent to mention that immediately after taking over reins of power in 2015, the State government had set into motion the process of identification of land in all five districts for establishing the newly-sanctioned colleges. The finalization of sites at Kathua and Doda are in advanced stages.

The foundation stone was first laid at Mehra at Rajouri where 120 kanals of land has been identified, followed by Kanth Bagh, Baramulla, where the new college will be set up upon on 61 kanals of land. At Anantnag, the college will be established on 183 kanals of land.

Those who were present included MPs, Jugal Kishore & Nazir Ahmad Laway, VC Pahari Board. Kuldeep Raj Gupta, Legislators, A. R. Rather, A. M. Padder, Ch. Qamar, Surinder Chaudhary, Ravinder Raina and Vibodh Gupta, senior PDP leaders Sartaj Madni and Dr. Mehboob Baig besides senior officers of state and divisional administration.