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  • Demands railway line for Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch; Advocated for establishment of Hill Development Council in Chenab Valley

JAMMU:  Senior Congress Lawmaker from Inderwal, Ghulam Muhammad Saroori today hit out a finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu for ignoring 80% rural areas of the state in its annual budget added that the state budget was prepared with an aim to benefit 20% Urban areas of the state that too giving benefit to influential, industrialists and upper class businessman.  Speaking in JK Assembly, Saroori said the budget presented by the finance minister was shahi (royal) budget. He said it had nothing to offer to the people living in border and remote areas. He said the finance minister spoke about digital India but “people in my constituency don’t have any (cellphone) tower”. “So how will your digital India give them any benefits," he said. He said the budget had nothing for people living in far flung areas like Karnah, Keran, Gurez, Doda and other areas in Chenab valley. "Will your budget offers anything to people living in these areas where road connectivity is only 20 percent?" Saroori asked.

Saroori advocated for establishment of Hill Development Council in Chenab Valley so that the rural areas of Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban could be developed at par with capital cities. He said that the government fails to turn the successive budgets into reality added that due to broken promises, the people are disappointed. He said that the fiscal figures presented by the government are hypothetical which include the abolishing of Treasury System in the state.

He also accused the BJP leaders of getting the Rattle Power Project closed, MLA Doda Shakti Parihar and MLA Bhaderwah Dilip Parihar took strong exception to the allegations and launched counter attack. Usman Majid and some other Congress MLAs were seen supporting Saroori while R S Pathania among a few BJP legislators also raised voice in contesting the allegations. Saroori did not stop here and went ahead with the allegation claiming that Backward Area Development fund was diverted by the Deputy Commissioner Doda on the instance of BJP MLA to construct a stadium. “This fund was meant for developmental works in remote and backward areas but the same was diverted for construction of a stadium, which is of no use for the people living in remote pockets under extremely poor conditions,” said Saroori and warned that `Allah’ would not forgive the ruling party members for their guilt of depriving the poor people of development by snatching their share.

The commotion erupted when Saroori, while taking part in the budget discussion, charged the State Government with failure to take decisions thus resulting in non-implementation of much needed schemes in Power sector besides stalling Rattle Power Project. As BJP MLA Shakti Parihar stood from his seat pointing out that the Rattle Power Project was initiated and also stopped during the previous regime, Saroori retorted that the project was got stalled by the BJP leaders after they held a closed door meeting with the company officials. “I can give proof of your involvement in getting the project stalled, let the investigation is ordered and if proved wrong, I will tender apology,” Saroori said while pointing out that BJP MLA was one of the contractors in the project.

Saroori said that the government creates the panic among the people by implementing GST and demonetization of the currency and demanded for abolishing of toll tax at Lakhanpur and Nagrota. He said that no benefits were given to Saffron growers of Kishtwar District. He said that the budget has no mention of connecting Kishtwar District and Rajouri /Poonch with railway line and was also silent on its previous claims of losses under Indus Water Treaty, no mention of implementation of Mehmood Ur Rehman commission, Rangarajan Committee and Sageer Committee report. He said that under bad pocket money, Kishtwar District including his constituency was totally ignored. He said that the promise made by the government in Agenda of Alliance are yet to see the light of the day added that instead the government are busy in raking up issues like 370, 35 A while government fails to manage return of power projects.

He though congratulated the Government for proposal of reduction of Tax on Walnut, medi-claim policy for all employees and other employee friendly measures, provisions for construction of bridges, other infra projects. However, Saroori asserted for creating a provision for construction of Sudmahadev and Singpora - Vailoo tunnels and demanded for adequate fund allocation for the same. He also remarked on lack of internet connectivity in various rural and far-flung areas of the State and demanded for improvement measures in this regard so that aim of enhanced digital connectivity Pan-India is fulfilled.

Saroori also requested for sufficient funds for undertaking developmental works at rural areas in his Constituency, including works for macadamization. He also appreciated the government for regularization of casual labours, other workers and asked for inclusion of Anganwari and Asha workers under the said reform and demanded for their regularisation with full service benefits.