The situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is improving as various government measures are yielding dividends.
In spite of a few terror attacks orchestrated mainly from across the border, there is an air of positivism blowing in Kashmir.
The government has a zero-tolerance against militancy and the security situation has improved significantly in the Union Territory (UT).
Notably, there has been substantial decline in militant attacks – from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021.
It is heartening to see that the government has failed the nefarious design of the perpetrators of violence aided and abated from across the border.
Though the government aims to bring deaths due to terrorism to zero, the number of such incidents since August 2019 has led to 118 civilian deaths including Kashmir Pandits and 16 other Hindus and Sikhs.
The government is committed to eliminate terror activities completely from the UT.
The most remarkable development, as peace and calm returns to the UT of J&K, has been an uptick in investment on one hand and tourism on the other.
The investment scenario in Kashmir has changed in the past two years, especially with the inception of several new industrial schemes.
Under the new schemes, J&K is offering Rs 28,000 crore by way of incentives, which has attracted investors in the UT.
The LG of the UT had revealed in March, that J&K saw only Rs 1,500 crore investments till 2021, while in 2022, the government has already approved proposals worth Rs 27,000 crores.
He added that the investments will cross Rs 70,000 crore mark very soon. The foreign investors in particular are looking up to invest in the UT. Already Memorandums of Understandings (MoUs) worth Rs 3,000 crore had been signed with companies in the UAE in early 2022. The rising investment in the UT is likely to generate huge employment estimated to be over 6 lakh.
Arrival of tourists in Kashmir has broken a decade old record as more than 12 lakh tourists have visited different places in the valley so far by July end. The arrivals picked up speed from October 2021 and have not stopped since then.
On April 4, the Srinagar International Airport recorded the busiest ever day in history, with 15,014 people travelling on 90 flights in and out of Kashmir.
The heaven on earth, i.e., J&K, as Indian say, has started thriving with activities. Given rise in international demand for tourism, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has approved five flights a week between Srinagar and Sharjah.
The people in Kashmir have put a brave face against the destabilising forces. No Kashmiri Pandit working under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) has resigned in protest against the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit in Kashmir valley.
A total of 5,502 Kashmiri Pandits have been provided government jobs in different departments of J&K administration in Kashmir valley under the PMDP.
The people of Kashmir aspire for peace and normalcy so as to pursue their economic and other activities without any insecurity and disruption. That is why they have put a sound footing amid sporadic and unfortunate acts of violence by the misguided elements. No Kashmiri Pandit migrated from the valley since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Altogether 6,514 Kashmiri Pandits are still residing in Kashmir valley – highest 2,639 in Kulgam district, followed by Budgam (1204), Anantnag (808), Pulwama (579), Srinagar (455), Shopian (320), Baramulla (294), among others. Despite the cowardly act of terrorism by some misguided elements and killing of some Kashmiri Pandits, they have endured.
As many as 12 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants in J&K during 2020, 2021 and 2022. But no Kashmiri Pandit has left the valley since 2019.
Meanwhile, the government has approved construction of 6,000 transit accommodation for the Kashmiri migrant employees engaged in different departments of the J&K government in the valley.
The developments in J&K are the result of government’s policies and priorities to bring back the state to normalcy, growth, prosperity and peace. There is a long list of such initiatives. Most important government initiatives that are making remarkable positive impacts include the PMDP, setting up of Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC) and Central Sector Scheme for industrial development of J&K with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crore.
The J&K government also created a Land Bank of 29,030 kanal in 2020 and approved a business revival package of Rs. 1,353 crore.
Besides, all the flagship schemes of the Government of India including individual beneficiary-centric schemes are also being proactively implemented in the UT of J&K.
The people of Kashmir are now sparing time for celebration and festivities. Several Sufi congregations have been organised in recent past.
The students and sports persons of the UT are bringing laurels. The students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology won laurels for excellence at national level while Tanvir Ahmad Khan, a farmer’s son from Kulgam district of J&K secured the second rank in the prestigious Indian Economic Services (IES) examination in 2021.
The Kashmiri sports persons are not behind. Kabra Altaf, hailing from Nishat area of Srinagar brought laurels in Judo.
Who does not know Adil Teli, a 23-year-old cyclist from Narbal, Budgam who entered his name into the Guiness Book of World Records after peddling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in just 8 days, covering a distance of 3,600 km.
Similarly, Arif Khan a top skier from J&K has done the region proud by qualifying for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. Footballer Danish Farooq and Cricketer Umran Malik from J&K have become Indian heartthrobs. Owais Yaqoob from Murran village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama earned a hard fought title of the second-best mixed martial art player in India ranked by all India Mixed Martial Art Federation (AIMMAF).
Kashmir is once again rising up to claim its well-deserved place in all the arenas of life. To realise its full potential, Kashmir has yet miles to go. Nevertheless, when the government’s intention is good, it shows up in positive outcomes. J&K is a living example.