Updated: February 9, 2021 2:40:01 am
As a Bill to merge the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of civil service officers with Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre was discussed and passed with voice vote in the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition on Monday questioned the intention behind the legislation when the government had earlier mentioned that statehood will eventually be restored to J&K.
Introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, replaces the ordinances to the effect promulgated in January.
Starting the debate, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose term as a Rajya Sabha member ends on Tuesday, said, “If it was a normal Union Territory, then maybe I would have not had any problem, but as the honourable Prime Minister and Home Minister have stated that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been given the status of a Union Territory for some time, and after that it will again be given statehood… then what is the need to merge.” He said it “raises suspicion if the Government of India intends to keep J&K as a permanent Union Territory”.
Contrary to the government’s promises on bringing industries to J&K when it was made a Union territory, Azad said, the number of industries has gone down.
RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha said that “it is very important to know if this change is temporary or permanent”.
Pointing to the DDC and BDC polls, PDP’s Mir Mohammad Fayaz said, “If the situation is normal there then I think in place of this Bill, I wish that our status of state was given back.”
In his response, Reddy said, “Development that happened in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 70 years, if we compare it to the time after it became a Union Territory, then a lot of speedy development is taking place.”
The minister said every panchayat in the UT has grievance boxes and “no other place in the country has such grievance boxes”. He mentioned that around 54 per cent of the work under the PM’s development package has been completed. “Twenty projects, including seven Central government and 13 UT projects, have been executed and are ready to be completed. Eight more projects are likely to be completed by the end of the financial year.”
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