Jammu, Sep 19 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) chief Altaf Bukhari on Saturday welcomed the Rs 1,350-crore economic package announced by the Union Territory administration to give a much needed boost to tourism and other sectors hit by the economic slowdown caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bukhari also congratulated the Centre for “accepting the truth for the first time” after Army said it has found 'prima facie' evidence its troops 'exceeded' powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act during an encounter in Kashmir's Shopian district in which three men were killed in July this year and has initiated disciplinary proceedings.
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday announced a Rs 1,350-crore economic package for the UT.
“We welcome the financial package announced by the Lt Governor though the losses suffered by various sectors have crossed Rs 40,000 crore… While the outbreak of COVID-19 in rest of the world happened in January-February this year, it had appeared in J&K on August 5,” he said in an apparent reference to last year’s development when the Centre abrogated special status and bifurcated the erstwhile state into UTs.
Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function after welcoming new entrants, including an ex-MLA, into the party fold, Bukhari said his party does not believe in “negativity”.
“We will go through the details of the package and come out with our reaction. However, our suggestion to the government is that all sections of the society including industrialists, traders, tourism players and hoteliers need hand-holding (to overcome the economic crisis),” he said.
Former National Panthers Party MLA from Chenani in Udhampur district Faqeer Nath along with Dalit leader Prem Lal, trade union leader Shakti Gupta and Vijay Mangotra joined the JKAP at its headquarters here.
Referring to the Army probe into the Shopian incident, he said, “We want to congratulate the government of India because such a thing had happened for the first time that truth was accepted.” “There is no compensation for human life. Still we are hopeful that the government of India and the Lt Governor will work to heal the wounds of the families of the three youth who were innocent.” Claiming that there was no change on the ground post August 5 development last year, the JKAP leader alleged that bureaucrats are misleading the Centre by showing them “attractive colours”.
“Back to village is a good initiative but when nothing has happened on the ground in the past, what they are going to achieve in the third such exercise scheduled for next month. Who do you want to fool?” Bukhari took a dig at the administration for its handling of the COVID-19 situation and said “it looks that we need to hand over the government run health institutions to the Army for better management”.
Appealing to the Lt Governor to take feedback from other sources rather than the department on a daily basis, he said the administration need not talk much and instead concentrate on the overall improvement of the health sector.
“There is shortage of oxygen, reports of harassment of attendants, mortality is on rise and mismanagement in the hospitals which need an immediate overhaul,” he said and questioned director health service, Jammu, who had sought treatment at a private hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.
The JKAP president also took a dig at the administration for its failure to restore 4G mobile internet services in the UT.
“The 4G services are functional in two districts, out of 20 and there are no complaints of its misuse,” he said demanding immediate restoration of the facility which was snapped on August 5 last year.
He also sought intervention of the Lt Governor in addressing the issues faced by government employees and workers, self-help groups, medical assistants and pharmacists and migrant employees.
He also demanded the reopening of Mughal Road connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu with Shopian in south Kashmir and Simthan top connecting Kishtwar in Jammu with Anantnag in south Kashmir for the public.
Bukhari also demanded speeding up of the ongoing four-laning work on Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the railway line between Katra and Banihal.
He also pressed for inclusion of Punjabi, Gojri and Pahari languages in the list of official languages. PTI TAS AQS AQS