|Sunday, February 27, 2000,
Plan to expand DDs reach in
Farooq cautions divisive forces
JAMMU, Feb 26 The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has called for joint and determined efforts to face threats from Pakistan and cautioned those who were trying to divide Jammu and Kashmir in particular and the country in general on ethnic and regional grounds.
Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks the Governor's Address in the Assembly here today Dr Abdullah wanted his critics to examine the spirit behind the demand for restoration of greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. He felt pained over the attitude of his critics who had started charging him with conspiring with the USA for restoring to the state pre-1953 constitutional status.
"I have no hopes from America. I have hopes from Delhi and the demand for greater autonomy is not secession," he said. The Chief Minister said that the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, was visiting Delhi to strengthen the Indo-US relations. "Even if he visited Pakistan and Bangladesh let him do so, but he must understand that India is a peace loving country and needed full backing," Dr Abdullah said.
He referred to Pakistan's attitude and said the spirit of understanding the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had built during his Lahore trip had been sabotaged by Islamabad with the Kargil incursion. The Kargil episode had further exposed Pakistan's mischief potential. He said in the light of claims and counter-claims over Kashmir and occupied Kashmir the only way was to resolve the conflict through talks. India, he added, had taken the initiative, but it was the Kargil conflict that sabotaged these talks.
Referring to the demand for greater autonomy the Chief Minister said if "I want I can get the bill adopted in the Assembly as I have a two-third majority. But I do not want to use the brute force." He said that he had sent the report to the Centre and let every political party discuss it and debate on it. He urged politicians not to kick up hatred on the autonomy issue. Regarding regional autonomy he said that he had suggested to political leaders and legislators belonging to different shades of opinion to give their suggestions. They must know that the State was not represented only by Srinagar, Jammu or Anantnag or Udhampur. There were several hilly belts and farflung areas which had not witnessed any development during the last several decades and hence the National Conference wanted to grant regional autonomy so that power was decentralised and people belonging to remote areas participated in planning.
Dr Abdullah had a dig at some of his partymen saying that they too were trying to "uproot" him. "I have no love for power and I do not want to die in chair," he told them. He added that he had suggested to his partymen to elect a new leader. In fact during yesterday evening's meeting of National Conference legislators and leaders Dr Abdullah had faced an embarrassing position when a couple of legislators, including Mr Najib Sohrawardhy dubbed the state Government headed by Dr Abdullah as the "weakest and the most incompetent" Government. The Chief Minister had lost his cool and left the meeting without taking dinner.
Pointing towards the BJP and the Congress MLAs Dr Abdullah said that the National Conference had not to demonstrate its credentials as a pro-India party because scores of its workers and leaders had sacrificed their lives while defending the integrity and security of the country in the State during the last several years.
In his hour-long speech the Chief Minister also lambasted the PDP chief, Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, for favouring holding of talks with separatists, including the militants. He said "it is for Government of India to hold talks with the separatists." He added "as far as I am concerned I had invited the separatists to contest the elections and test their strength. I repeat my offer and I shall resign and hold fresh elections if they were prepared to face the electorates."
He listed several schemes which his government had taken in hand for tackling the problem of unemployment, power crisis. He said that during a span of three years his government had reconstructed several hundred school buildings and bridges which had been destroyed by the militants and still he was being accused of poor performance. He said the results on the development activities would have been much better had the Centre been liberal in releasing funds.
Dr Abdullah wanted his critics to realise the difficulties which the party faced in bringing back on the rails the "derailed" state. He said that his government was trying its utmost to make Kashmiri migrants comfortable in their camps. He said the demand for a homeland was somewhat inappropriate in the given situation. "How many homelands one can have in India? He said adding that such a demand will weaken the country.
Mr Harsh Dev Singh, Panthers Party, Lal Singh of the Congress opposed the demand for greater autonomy. However, Mr Jagjivan Lal and several other National Conference MLAs supported it on the plea that they were demanding what had been eroded. Later, the motion was adopted by the House.
During question hour Dr Farooq Abdullah made it clear that drought, drop in water level in rivers and curtailment in power supply by the northern grid had forced the state government to increase load shedding. He said the government had taken in hand work on several power projects, including Bhagliar, Upper Sindh. Power supply may slightly improve in months to come. He disclosed that measures were afoot to explore non-conventional sources for electricity generation.
Mr Shiv Charan, BJP, wanted the Government to complete ongoing power projects instead of taking new projects in hand. However the Chief Minister assured him that work on ongoing projects was continuing and new projects had to be taken in hand for augmenting power generation.
Dr Abdullah said that
the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 had created problems for
the state because under the treaty "we can neither
raise dams nor build water reservoirs which could be used
for power generation during lean period."
Plan to expand DDs
reach in J&K
JAMMU, Feb 26 The Centre has given top priority to strengthening its media centres, including the Doordarshan kendras and radio stations in Jammu and Kashmir for countering the "vicious" propaganda launched by Pakistan. Already the Centre has allocated Rs 430 crore for development of effective television and media centres in the state over the next two years.
This was disclosed by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr Arun Jaitley, while inaugurating the Doordarshan Metro high power transmitter here today. With the installation of this high power transmitter more than 10 lakh people in the radius of 40 km in Jammu would be able to watch DD-2 channel programmes.
Mr Jaitley said that the Doordarshan programmes were being further upgraded so that people in the border state would not tune into Pakistan Televisions propaganda. He said people had started evincing interest in the Kashmir channel introduced in Kashmir recently.
The Minister said that efforts were afoot to expand television channels in such a way that at least 98 per cent of the countrys population had access to Doordarshan programmes.
In border areas low power transmitters were being installed.
The Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, who has been instrumental in getting funds for upgrading Doordarshan, radio and other media centres in Jammu and Kashmir appreciates the role of the Union Ministry in upgrading the television network.
He called for additional
schemes for development of media and television centres
in the border areas and suitable television programmes.
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