Srinagar: The development of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 is just the beginning of its transformation, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said here on Tuesday.
“I can say with confidence that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, J-K is moving on the path of peace and prosperity…. The development of J-K post 2019 is just the beginning of the transformation of Jammu and Kashmir,” Sinha told a press conference.
Expressing his gratitude to the prime minister for providing the historic opportunity to Jammu and Kashmir to host the G20 working group meeting on tourism, Sinha said the administration is committed to promoting sustainable tourism.
“The ongoing working group meeting is the biggest in terms of attendance. Fifty-nine delegates from 27 countries are participating in the working group meeting,” he said, adding, “We have tried to take tourism to greater heights in J-K while taking care of the environment”.
“We wanted to take our delegates to Gulmarg. But due to logistics issues, we cannot do it this time,” he said, adding that those who still want to go, will be taken to the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir.
The LG said the conduct of the third tourism working group meeting has shown that Jammu and Kashmir can host international events.
“We are capable enough to host any international event. If there are any shortcomings, we have got them in the legacy. We have picked up pace, but it will take time to fill the void of 70 years,” he said.
Asked about Pakistani Pakistan Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto’s remarks on the meeting in Kashmir, Sinha said the neighbouring country should focus on feeding its own people.
“I think our neighbouring nation should make arrangements for feeding its people and for providing basic amenities. We have come a long way from there. G20 is a matter of pride for us,” he said.
To a question about press freedom in the Union territory, Sinha said the press enjoys “absolute freedom” here.
“According to a report by an international organisation, seven journalists in Kashmir were arrested on militancy charges and for disrupting social harmony, not for their reporting. The numbers are 10 to 20 times higher anywhere in the world,” he added.
There is an independent and active media in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 400 newspapers are published here, Sinha said.
On a question about the development of tourism infrastructure, the LG said state land will be auctioned for setting up hotels and added some hotels will be disinvested.
“We will show you quality hotels after two years,” he said.
Outlining the achievements of his administration, Sinha said grassroots democracy has been strengthened in Jammu and Kashmir and the three-tier local governance has been set up.
Last year, more than 60 lakh people participated in sports activities. All 4,292 panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir have youth clubs. “Jammu and Kashmir is aspirational. We are registering a start-up every second day,” he said.
He said the Union territory has 7.7 lakh registered entrepreneurs. Every day, one new industry is being made operational, he added.
Six lakh women entrepreneurs here are trying to scale global heights, Sinha said.
It is due to efforts of the government over the past three years that Jammu and Kashmir has risen to the number five in the rankings for income of farmers.
He said infrastructure projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore were underway in the Union territory.
The speed of project implementation has increased 10-fold after 2019, he said, adding, “We are building an effective and strong rural infrastructure.”
Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated in August 2019 and the state was bifurcated into Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.