Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid out a roadmap, with clear deadlines, for carrying out development works in Jammu and Kashmir — ensure electricity and drinking water to every village by March 2022; launch the second phase of the Centre’s back-to-villages programme on October 2; and set up a development board in every district with political leaders as members.
Sources said the Prime Minister has made it clear that these development works should win the trust of the people of J&K before elections are held in the newly carved out Union Territory.
In his Independence Day address, Modi had said that Assembly elections would be held after the delimitation exercise was completed.
While the Central government gradually withdraws more forces from the region, the PM wants the J&K administration to ensure that over 50 welfare programmes of the Centre are implemented with “visible results on the ground”. He also wants the administration to ensure 10,000 jobs for people in the region.
“The Prime Minister told the UT administration that merely giving out data won’t do. Development works should be visible on the ground in every village,” said a source.
A year after the Centre stripped the state of its special status under Article 370, the BJP-led government has come under criticism for not carrying any major developmental activities in Jammu and Kashmir. On August 14, The Indian Express reported that the PM was expected to announce major projects, including a ‘naya’ Srinagar and ‘naya’ Jammu.
Sources said that the Prime Minister wants all development activities to be carried out with the participation of political leaders. “He is of the view that while leaders of Kashmir parties are still upset with the Centre’s decision, their rank and file, especially at the lower level, would be keen to see that development works are taking place and jobs are being created. Gradually, the leaders also will be forced to accept it,” said the source.
Former Union Minister Manoj Sinha’s appointment on August 6 as Lieutenant Governor of J&K is also seen as part of Modi’s new plans for the region.
Sources said that with the Centre assessing reduced threat from militant attacks, more forces will be withdrawn from the UT in the coming days. The Union Home Ministry believes that security forces and intelligence agencies have successfully curbed the recruitment of youth into militancy and that there is a significant drop in the number of stone pelting instances.
Earlier this week, the Centre issued an order withdrawing around 10,000 paramilitary personnel from Kashmir.