Mehbooba seeks Smart City status for Jammu, Srinagar

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New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Srinagar and Jammu in the central government’s Smart Cities project.

Mehbooba called on Modi here for the first time since assuming office as the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on April 4. The two discussed developmental and political situation in the state, a state government statement said.

Mehbooba’s Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party are the ruling alliance partners in Jammu and Kashmir.

The statement was silent on Modi’s response to Mehbooba’s demand.

Mehbooba also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar and Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.

“During the meeting with the prime minister, both the leaders deliberated upon several wide-ranging issues of the state. (Mehbooba) urged Modi to favourably consider the inclusion of the two state capitals in the ‘Smart Cities Mission’,” the statement said.

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The mission is an urban renewal programme under which 100 cities across the country will be developed, with a sharp focus on infrastructure, land use planning, transport, design and architecture.

The state government had hoped that Srinagar and Jammu also will feature in the list of the 100 cities. Since the Centre didn’t include them in the coveted list, it became one of the issues that stalled the installation of a PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir after the death of the then chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on January 7.

The statement said the chief minister also “requested for an additional allocation of 4.30 lakh tonnes food grain over and above given under targeted public distribution system fixed under the National Food Security Act”.

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Mehbooba also sought Modi’s intervention in expediting the central government’s “nod for continuation of special dispensation of 50 percent in promotion quota in All India Services (AIS) for state service officers for another five years, beyond December 31, 2013”.

“The prime minister assured her of Centre’s full support in the holistic development of Jammu and Kashmir.”

During her meeting with Sushma Swaraj, the chief minister discussed the measures required for broadening the scope of cross-Line of Control trade and travel in the state.

Mehbooba also proposed the opening of new routes across the LOC for better connectivity which, she said, will take people-to-people contact beyond the ritual of meetings between divided families.

The increase in Haj quota in respect of the state also figured in the meeting.

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With Parrikar, Mehbooba discussed the firing in Handwara in which three civilians, including a women, were killed. Parrikar assured of a time-bound inquiry to fix responsibility in the case.

Mehbooba also called on President Pranab Mukherjee and discussed issues related to Jammu and Kashmir.

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