New Delhi: Close on the heels of appointing an interlocutor to hold talks with different groups in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has decided to give a major push to development projects in the state. The issue was discussed in detail at a meeting between home minister Rajnath Singh and J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday. The meeting was also attended by senior home ministry and state government officials. Sources said it was decided to “fast track” all major development projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), for which the state government will provide free land.
These include infrastructure projects, including road, power, education, health, etc. As part of the PMDP for J&K, the Centre had made a provision for Rs 80,068 crores for 63 development projects related to 15 Central ministries. Out of this, an amount of Rs 62,599 crores has been sanctioned while Rs 22,042 crores has already been released. According to the home ministry, special emphasis will be given for the development of border areas while picking projects under the Border Area Development Programme.
It was also decided that to ensure the safety of people living in border areas, the construction of bunkers along the border would be expedited. It was also decided at the meeting to accelerate development projects that will create additional jobs for Kashmiri migrants, such as construction of transit accommodation, transfer of cash relief and honorariums through the direct benefit transfer mode, as well as giving employment to the youth of J&K. Ms Mufti claimed, meanwhile, that the overall security situation in the Valley had improved considerably and that there was a decline in violence. Ms Mufti said she had discussions with the home minister on various issues, including development work, the appointment of the Centre’s representative, Dineshwar Sharma, and the security situation in the Valley.