February 4, 2016 1:30:49 am
On Tuesday, when PDP president Mehbooba Mufti called for specific confidence-building measures before she could form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, what she had in mind was pending demands and assurances that could be described as CBMs once the BJP-ruled Centre started meeting them, PDP sources said Wednesday.
These measures, they said, include transfer of the centrally run Dulhasti (in Kishtwar) and Uri power projects to the state, vacation of land occupied by the Army, more funds to flood-affected people and a smart city each for Jammu and Kashmir, besides an assurance of the longstanding demand for lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
On Wednesday, Mehbooba was in Jammu where she reiterated what she had said the previous day. “The government has to be formed, but before that there should be some assurance from the Centre,” she is said to have told leaders at party headquarters.
Mehbooba has told reporters the CBMs sought are not what was already decided under the “agenda of alliance” chalked out last year before the PDP and the BJP set up their coalition government. A number of the measures PDP leaders cited, however, are part of the agenda. Mehbooba is said to have conveyed to the BJP central leadership that she would like some of the doable items initiated. Mehbooba was in touch with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.
“They (BJP central leadership) already know what we mean by confidence-building measures,” senior PDP leader Nayeem Akthar, a former minister, told The Indian Express Wednesday.
The two hydroelectric projects, 390MW in Kishtwar and 480MW in Uri, are both run by the NHPC. Of the land the PDP wants the Army to vacate, one stretch is near the Jammu airport, another is the Tatu Ground in Srinagar (Tatu Ground) and one in Kargil, where the government plans to lay an airstrip. The Army recently transferred part of Tatu Ground to the state which is setting up a large park there. The project was inaugurated by late CM Mufti Mohd Sayeed days before he was admitted to hospital.
The PDP has conveyed to the BJP that it wants both Jammu city and Kashmir developed as smart cities; neither was in the first list of 20 announced last week. these CBMs On Tuesday, Mehbooba had told reporters that the CBMs being sought “will not be only Kashmir-centric, but will also relate to Jammu and Ladakh so as to win the confidence of people of all the regions before the government is formed”.
For flood-affected people, the Centre has so far announced Rs 1,200 crore but PDP sources have continued to argue that it is not enough for rehabilitation.
Apart from lifting AFSPA from certain areas of the Valley, other longstanding demands that the PDP wants the Centre to take up include more facilities for trade across the LoC, resumption of a bus service that had been launched in Mufti’s previous tenure, and an assurance from the top BJP leadership that the BJP or its allies will not raise controversial issues, particularly Article 370.
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