POONCH, AUGUST 15: The Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Parks & Gardens, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari hoisted the National Flag on the occasion of 69th Independence Day at Sports Stadium Poonch here today and took salute at an impressive march past presented by the contingents of JKP, JKAP, NCC, Band of 93 Infantry Brigade, QRT Commandos and students of various educational institutions of the district.
Deputy Chairman, J&K Legislative Council, Jahangir Hussain Mir, MLA Surankote, Choudhary Mohammad Akram, MLA Haveli, Shah Mohammad Tantray, MLC Yashpal Sharma, former legislators, Pir Mansoor Hussain and Choudhary Bashir Ahmed Naaz, Deputy Commissioner, Nisar Ahmad Wani, Senior Superintendent of Police, J S Johar, religious leaders, prominent citizens, Judges, members of Bar Association, media persons, students, locals besides officers of civil and police administration were present on the occasion.
Despite bad weather in the morning, a mammoth 5,000 audience coming from nook and corner the border district witnessed the 69th I-Day parade.
The Minister in his address called for maintaining communal harmony, taking forward developmental programmes in peaceful atmosphere and providing accountable and transparent administration to the people is high on the agenda of the present dispensation while the plans framed for the district will change developmental scenario besides improving socio-economic condition of the people.
Syed Altaf said that on this day in the year 1947, India won freedom from the British rulers and the inherent right to take the decisions for its people. He said this opportunity paved the way for flourishing of the country’s democratic institutions.
The Minister said that several unique decisions were taken by the PDP-BJP Coalition Government immediately after assuming the office which includes earmarking separate budget for Power sector aimed to ensure proper utilization of energy resources available in the State.
The Minister said that district development boards were reconstituted in order to fulfil the developmental needs of the people, besides increasing the district plans in accordance with the developmental needs of the people and the district. He said Rs 6000 crore have been approved by the Centre for taking forward the centrally sponsored schemes started in the state.
Bukhari said second phase of Baglihar Hydel power project is to be commissioned soon which will add more than 450 MWs of electricity and will help Government to overcome the energy deficit in the State. He said the scheme “Mera Gaon, Mera Jahaan” started by Rural Development Department in the state will definitely bridge the development gaps of rural areas.
The R&B Minister said that in the last year’s floods, roads sector witnessed massive devastation and the restoration and reconstruction programme started by the Government across the state will improve the services to great extent. He said Rs 4000 crore have been earmarked for this purpose for current fiscal.
Regarding the dilapidated condition of the roads of Poonch, he said that 100 km have been targeted to be upgraded and macadamized during this financial year. He said BRO has been asked either to ensure proper maintenance and up-gradation of roads of the district being handled by them else the R&B department will take over the roads for further maintenance and development.
Altaf Bukhari said that process of upgrading schools into Model Schools has been started across the state aimed to make available modern facilities for the students while two engineering colleges are being set up in Jammu and Srinagar apart from establishing medical colleges at Rajouri, Kathua, Baramulla and Anantnag.
The Minister said that a plan of Rs 400 crore has been framed for flood management and natural disasters while World Bank has approved Rs 1500 crore for reconstruction of infrastructure damaged during September 2014 floods, he added.
Syed Altaf said that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is personally taking interest in the development of far-flung, hilly and economically backward districts including Poonch district. He said a massive development plan is being implemented in district Poonch for improving the socio-economic condition of the people. He said work on Sher-e-Kashmir bridge, damaged in floods, has been accelerated and will be thrown open within next four months while under NABARD and PMGSY more roads are being constructed and upgraded in the district. He said Buffliaz-Surankote and Buffliaz-Rajouri road being handled by GREF will be repaired shortly.
The Minister said that the Annual Plan of the district has been increased to Rs 173 crore which is higher than previous financial year. He said this will ensure adequate development of the district which could not get due resources for years.
Seeking sport from the people for taking forward the development programme started in the district, the Minister said that time will show them a perceptible change on ground. He said his nomination as Chairman of District Development Board of the district is aimed to increase road connectivity apart from ensuring holistic development of other sectors. He said road connectivity is primary requirement for development.
Bukhari also lauded communal harmony and brotherhood maintained by the people of Poonch and hoped that this pluralistic tradition will further flourish and thrive.
On the occasion, students of various educational institutions presented a colorful cultural programme which was highly appreciated by the jam-packed audience. Besides, District Information Centre Poonch presented a group song on the occasion highlighting the local culture. Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Shafiq Ahmed Choudhary was also honoured on the occasion.
Later, Minister distributed prizes among the best adjudged march past contingents and institutions for presenting cultural programme.
In Mendhar and Surankote Subdivisions, SDM Mendhar, Sher Singh and SDM Surankote, Mohammad Afzal respectively hoisted the national flag whereas at Tehsil Headquarters in Balakote, Mankote and Mandi respective Tehsildars unfurled the national flag.
2015 Kashmir Despatch