NEW DELHI: Mobile phone services will be restored within 20 days, locals’ land will not be “taken away” by outsiders and five people from each village will get government jobs, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told representatives from Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday. Shah told them that Jammu & Kashmir’s statehood would be restored as soon as the situation normalises. He also announced an insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh for each ‘panch’ and ‘sarpanch’ in the newly created Union Territory.
Shah, Ministers of State for Home Nityanad Rai and GK Reddy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh, and home ministry officials met three delegations from J&K — panchayat members, representatives of fruit growers and a group of people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Home ministry sources said Shah assured apple growers that the government was considering procuring nearly 100% apple produce of the state to ensure apple growers don’t suffer any losses due to the restrictions imposed in the region. Shah made similar assurances to other fruit growers who met him and narrated the problems they are facing due to shutdown in the region.
On August 28, J&K governor Satya Pal Malik had said NAFED would commit over Rs 5,000 crore for procuring over 50% of apple produce of the state and this will benefit over seven lakh apple growers. Amid concerns by locals that the demographics of J&K may be affected because of revocation of the special status of J&K, the minister told the delegation of about 30 Sarpanchs that the government would ensure lands of locals are not “taken away” by anybody.
“Shah reassured the representatives that nobody’s land would be taken away and government land would be used for the establishment of industries, hospitals and educational institutions,” an official statement said. MHA said establishment of new institutions would create employment opportunities for the locals and enhance tax revenues for the state, which in turn would be used for the welfare of the people.
Mobile connectivity to be restored soon
To a delegation of about two dozen panch and sarpanch from J&K, who demanded for increasing the honorarium of those holding the post of ‘sarpanch’ and ‘panch’, Shah said their demands will be considered at the highest level. Shah made the announcement of Rs 2 lakh insurance for each of them when they told him about the “terror threats” they face and cited that more than 15 sarpanch and panch have been killed by militants between 2012 and 2018, officials said.
On mobile connectivity, the MHA statement quoted Shah as saying a solution will be found as quickly as possible. Youth leader from Kupwara’s Langate Mir Junaid said, “I told the minister that people are expecting statehood to be restored on a priority basis. Shah said he has given that commitment in Parliament and that statehood will be provided as soon as normalcy is restored in the Valley.”
Zuber Nishad Bhat, a village head from Harvan in Srinagar district, said the home minister assured them that the mobile phone services in the state will be restored in the next 15-20 days. Quoting Shah, many other panchayat heads gave similar timelines for restoration of mobile services.
Sameer Ahmad, a sarpanch from Khanmoh, said Shah assured them that the formalities for giving them insurance will be completed within 15 days. He further said Shah assured them that election to the block development councils will be held in two months. In another meeting with representatives of the people displaced from POK, he assured them that they are being considered for inclusion in the scheme under which displaced families registered in J&K are given financial assistance.
Big assurance on land acquisition
Land belonging to locals will not be taken away. Instead, government land would be used for the establishment of industries, hospitals and educational institutions
Rs 2 lakh life Insurance, security cover
All elected panchs and sarpanchs in J&K will get security and insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh each in view of the threat to their lives from terrorists
Reaching out to apple growers in the valley
Govt to try to procure all apples grown in the state to protect producers from facing difficulties. Similar provisions for other fruit growers too
Govt Jobs to 4-5 youth from each village
Govt promises jobs to at least 4-5 youth in each village of J&K. Also mobile phone services likely to be restored in the region within the next 20 days