M A I N   N E W S

Recruitment ban in J&K to go: PM
Announces setting up of 4 ITIs for women in Jammu region
S. P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 18
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today announced that the recruitment ban on government jobs that was imposed following an MoU between the Centre and the J&K Government would immediately be scrapped to provide employment opportunities to the youth of the trouble-torn state.

Dr Manmohan Singh was addressing a public meeting during his day-long tour of Jammu.

Amidst cheers and slogans he announced that the ban on recruitment in government jobs would no more be applicable to J&K.

He said more share would be provided to the state in recruitment to the security forces and the police. As many as 10,000 additional recruitments for this sector would be made every year.

In his employment and development oriented speech, the Prime Minister said he understood the pain of those undergoing the turmoil of militancy that had shattered the economy of the state in the past 15 years. He recalled that he himself was turned a refugee during Partition of the country in 1947 when he was a schoolgoing child.

He emphasised that the Centre would provide all assistance to the state for tapping the power generation potential so that it not only created new job opportunities, but also turned J&K into a power surplus state. Drinking water to all and construction of new roads would also receive top priority under the Rs 24,000 crore economic reconstruction plan for the state that was announced by him yesterday.

The Prime Minister also announced that with Jammu having become a hub of tourism where lakhs of pilgrims come every year to the Vaishnodevi shrine, the Centre would put Jammu on the Centre’s map for pilgrimage tourism as had been done for the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh.

He said that four ITIs would be opened at Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur specially for women so that they could learn trades which would make them self reliant. Every village would have an anganwari in the next four to five years that would provide employment to 14,000 women.

The Prime Minister announced that the Centre would provide funds for opening eight degree colleges in the state. Four of these would be at Akhnoor, Ranbirsinghpura, Samba and Kathua in Jammu division.

He recalled the love of the Nehru family for Jammu and Kashmir and said that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, always had Kashmir in their heart and took special steps for the development of the state.

He said he was carrying a message of Mrs Sonia Gandhi for the people here that the coalition government in the state would fulfil all election promises and the common minimum programme would be implemented in letter and spirit.


Troop reduction a calculated risk: PM
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 18
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said today that he had taken a calculated risk of reducing the strength of troops in Jammu and Kashmir and would give sufficient time to Pakistan to respond positively by closing terrorist training camps in its territory.

He was talking to mediapersons here in the evening before returning to Delhi after completing his two-day tour of the state.

He said he did not want to pre-judge the intentions of Pakistan and would give them sufficient time.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who was replying to a question whether India could believe Pakistan, said the troop pullout was within limits and the situation would be watched regularly.

He said it was not fair on the part of the Hurriyat leadership to fix pre-conditions for talks to solve the Kashmir problem. When I have extended an unconditional invitation to them then why should they lay the condition of being first allowed to visit Pakistan.

He announced the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee of the Centre to look into the grievances of Kashmiri migrants. The committee would visit migrant camps shortly.

The Prime Minister, who visited the migrant camps at Muthi near here, said it was unfortunate that they had been turned refugees in their own country. He said the government would construct two room houses for them.

He clarified that the Rs 24,000 crore reconstruction plan for the state was not a package but a process for restarting development and providing basic amenities to the people.

He described his tour as fruitful and productive.

Earlier, the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Council of Ministers here and suggested that the functioning of the government should be transparent. He also chaired a meeting of the unified command of the Army, BSF, CRPF, intelligence agencies and the state police at the Raj Bhavan and discussed the overall security situation in the state.

The Governor, Lieut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lieut-Gen Hari Prasad, DGP Gopal Sharma and senior officers were present at the meeting.

Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister, and Mr N.N. Vohra, Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir, were among those who accompanied the Prime Minister.


Manmohan’s remarks disappointing: Kasuri
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, November 18
Pakistan tonight termed as “controversial and counterproductive” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s rejection of redrawing of boundaries to resolve the Kashmir issue and asked the Indian leaders to refrain from making such statements.

“Statements of this nature caused disappointment among those people in Pakistan and India who are in favour of lasting peace in South Asia,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri was quoted as saying.

Kasuri said such controversial statements could strengthen the hands of extremists in both countries who were not happy with the progress that had been achieved so far.

Terming Dr Singh’s statement during his trip to Srinagar that redrawing of borders was unacceptable to India, Mr Kasuri said: “Pakistan-India relations are at a very delicate stage at the moment that required careful nurturing through avoidance of statements which could prove counterproductive to the ongoing dialogue process.”

Responding to a question whether Dr Singh had made the remarks due to domestic political compulsions, Kasuri said: “On an issue as important as Jammu and Kashmir it was necessary to transcend such considerations”.

Recalling that in September in New York, President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had an “excellent” meeting, he said “one witnessed great personal chemistry between them indicating that they would trust each other to bring about durable peace in South Asia.” — PTI

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |