FROM a village sarpanch and a daily wage labourer to members of the Tribal Welfare Forum, many turned up to submit memorandums to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Tuesday afternoon and drawing his attention to their concerns including road connectivity, internet, electricity supply and poor salaries.
The first Union minister to visit the Kashmir Valley after Union Home Minister Amit Shah desired his colleagues reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Naqvi interacted with almost a dozen delegations after addressing an audience of about 350 people at the Block Development Office in Harwan, on the outskirts of Srinagar.
“Kahin na kahin, is swarg ko kisi ki nazar lag gayi hai. Sometimes corruption, sometimes mis-governance, has hindered your progress, needs and development,” said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Naqvi addressing an audience of about 350 at the Block Development Office in Harwan Tuesday afternoon.
Noting that corruption has harmed this ‘paradise on earth’, Naqvi said, “For many years, the Centre has provided funds in crores for your progress, employment, roads, health, water supply and power development, but it would reach only a few people and you would never reap the benefits of it. Now, those benefits will reach you directly. The is Modi sahab’s and the Central government’s endeavour.”
He did not make any mention of the revocation of Article 370 or J&K being made a UT. “Now, we need to revive this paradise and instil faith among its residents that they are not just equal partners in the development of the country but also stakeholders in this.” He listed schemes for scholarships and skill development, the Haj quota and the Hunar hub and other government programmes such as the Jan Dhan Yojana.
Abdul Gani Malik, 60, and sarpanch of Panzinara, a village on the outskirts of Srinagar, said, “The village has poor water supply and urgently needs a hospital. We have repeatedly petitioned for it and we are here to make the same request again.” Mushtaq Ahmad, a daily wage labourer from Faqir Gujri new Harvan, said, “All the other politicians are behind bars. But we still need to take our concerns somewhere. If these ministers come here all the way, then may be they can help us. We hold that hope from them.”
During the day, Naqvi inaugurated the Malru bridge at Harvan built at a cost of Rs 16 crore, and a control room for the Forest Department at Bemina. He also laid the foundation for a Higher Secondary School in Dara to be constructed at a cost of Rs 1 crore. Responding to a media question about Congress criticism of the outreach exercise, he said, “We have come here with a positive approach and mindset, not to critique anyone or respond to criticism. We want to bring positive and effective change in the lives of the people here and that is why we have come here, for outreach and dialogue.”
Some eight other ministers are expected to visit different districts in Kashmir through the week.
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