Past two years have been the golden era of development in Jammu and Kashmirs history despite Covid pandemic wreaking havoc.
After August 5, 2019 — when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divide it into two Union Territories — the government has ensured that the promises that were made to the people of J&K are fulfilled.
In 2021-22, J&K achieved a milestone of 50,726 projects which was five times higher than the 2018 figure of 9229 projects. Focused attention on infrastructure development infused new energy right across the economy.
In 2018-19, only 9,229 projects costing Rs 67,000 crore were completed. Subsequently, in 2020-21, 21,943 projects with an expenditure of Rs 63,000 crore were completed. The Financial Year 2021-22 set a new record by completing 50,726 projects.
When Article 370 — temporary provision in the Indian Constitution — was revoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had promised the people of the Himalayan region that the new dawn had broken and J&K would scale new heights. Both the leaders remained true to their words. They ensured that a common man doesn’t suffer anymore and benefits of the centrally sponsored schemes trickle down to every deserving person.
Besides empowering the common man, the government focused on developing infrastructure to bring J&K at par with the other states and union territories across the country.
The lack of adequate infrastructure in the past was a major hurdle in the growth of J&K’s economy. The significant steps taken by the government in the last three years to eliminate the impediments, expedite decisions on approvals for timely implementation of projects paved the way for J&K turning into an example for other states and UTs in the country.
Revival of different sectors of the economy including handicraft, industrial investment, tourism and unprecedented pace in building infrastructure gave J&K strength and self-confidence. The artificial barriers that were created within the system were removed to ensure growth with equity so that every citizen of J&K benefits from fast economic development.
Major projects completed
The major projects, which were either incomplete or were stuck in one or other wrangle stand completed. The Jehangir Chowk flyover in Srinagar city had missed several deadlines prior to August 5, 2019. Soon after J&K’s transition into a Union Territory this flyover was completed and opened up for people. This prestigious project has brought the south city closer to the City Centre Lal Chowk.
Similarly Qazigund-Banihal tunnel has further reduced the distance between Jammu and Srinagar. The World’s highest railway bridge over the Chenab River that missed many deadlines before 2019 is likely to get completed by September 2022 and the train will reach Kashmir by 2024.
In the power sector, completion of Uri Phase 2nd (aggregate capacity 3636 MWs was stalled before 2019. The MoU was signed with NHPC on January 3, 2021 which led to three power projects with a total installed capacity of 2894 MWs viz. Uri (stage 2nd), Dulhasti (stage 2nd) and Sawalkote HEP getting completed in record time.
In the health sector, 16 medical colleges, 14 tertiary care hospitals, 20 district hospitals, 1578 other healthcare Institutions, two AIIMS, two state cancer institutes and 15 nursing colleges have been added after 2019. Intake capacity of MBBS course has been increased by 600 seats, PG by 68 seats and DNB by 140 seats.
In the safe drinking water sector, household tap water connections went up by 31 per cent as compared to before 2019. Twenty seven Jal Jeevan Missions were started and 2 districts Srinagar and Ganderbal were made Har Ghar Jal districts after 2019. Two major irrigation projects, viz Main Ravi Canal, Rs 62 crore, and third stage of Tral lift irrigation scheme Rs 45 crore were completed. Comprehensive flood management plan of River Jhelum and its tributaries, phase 1 costing Rs 399.29 crore was completed.
Pro-people initiatives bring masses closer to Delhi
The long list of projects completed after August 5, 2019, are a proof of the government’s commitments towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The pro-people initiatives have brought the J&K denizens closer to New Delhi. The void which used to exist earlier has been filled. The politicians, who used to claim that they are the only link between Kashmir and Delhi, have turned irrelevant. The Centre has provided liberal funding to change the destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The government expediting the development of the Union Territory has led to Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by it losing the plot. Just within two and a half years the neighbouring country has lost the 30-year old proxy war as the common Kashmiri is no more interested in street protests or shutdowns that were the part of his life for the past three decades.
‘Naya J&K’ altogether different
After J&K has been thrown open to the world,investors from across the globe have shown keen interest to invest in the Himalayan region. Till date, investment proposals worth Rs 47,441 crore have been received for land allotment by the J&K government. In the industrial sector, a new central sector scheme with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crore for J&K is set to generate employment for 4.50 lakh people.
The ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’ is altogether different from the one which used to exist till August 5, 2019. Confidence of the common man has been restored. The uncertainty and chaos that prevailed for so many years have ended. He is sure about his future being secure with India. He is least interested in the vicious propaganda carried out by Pakistan and its stooges. The development which J&K has witnessed after the abrogation of Article 370 has made him believe that the sky is the limit and the process is irreversible.
A common Kashmiri is openly acknowledging that change in J&K’s status-quo has opened up the world to him. He is aware of the fact that development holds the key for his betterment. He no more wants to be looked upon as the sympathizer of terrorists, nor he wants to be a party to any dispute. The fast changing scenario in Jammu and Kashmir has pushed the adversary to wall. He is neither able to sell “Azadi” nor Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan to a common Kashmiri. “Naya J&K” is all about development, peace and prosperity.