Tribune News Service
Srinagar, January 21
The Narendra Modi government today kick-started its outreach programme over Article 370 in the Valley, with Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi promising overall development post abrogation.
Naqvi held a meeting with nearly 400 persons mostly drawn from Gujjar and Bakerwal communities where he thanked them for attending the event braving snow.
The visit comes five months after scrapping of special status and downgrading of the state into two union territories on August 5. Kashmir continues under partial communication blockade after the decision.
While there has been an increased political vacuum as most of the politicians, including three former chief ministers, continue to be under detention, this is the first attempt on part of the BJP to fill the void by sending five of its Union Ministers to different Valley villages in a week. “You have come here braving the harsh weather. This is the proof that there is a yearning for progress of Kashmir,” the minister said.
“Progress of the Kashmiris seems to have been hampered by corruption over the years. Today, we pledge to turn it into paradise again,” he said. The minister said the government had spent Rs 16 crore on skill development programmes, and would help youth get employment and create job opportunities for others, he said.
“The financially downtrodden will get scholarships and there will be employment opportunities for youth to start businesses,” the minister said. Naqvi promised an increased Haj quota for Kashmiris, besides giving priority to those applying for the pilgrimage. The villagers presented a memorandum to Naqvi, demanding ‘domicile certificates’ so that outsiders could not apply for jobs and purchase land in the Valley.
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