Vinay Kumar

Message to personnel deployed in Jammu and Kashmir

Presides over a comprehensive review of the Unified Command Reviews progress of reconstruction plan announced by him in 2004 Calls for a thrust in power and road sectors Directs sanction for filling about 5,000 vacancies in BRO

SRINAGAR: Condemning all acts of terrorism as "cowardly," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that violence had not been able to solve any problem anywhere in the world.

Presiding over a comprehensive review of the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting of the Unified Command here, he said that problems could be solved only through dialogue, and recourse to violence was not the answer to finding a solution to any problem.

Dr. Singh's message to the security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir was to ensure "maximum security with minimum disruption of normal life." "Be firm but humane," he told them.

"It is possible and desirable that you should be firm but humane, effective and efficient, in control but inobtrusive. You should always function within the parameters of law. You should have zero tolerance for custodial deaths and be steadfast in your commitment to upholding human rights," he said.

Briefing reporters, the Prime Minister's Media Adviser, Sanjaya Baru, said a detailed presentation was made at the meeting attended by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan and the heads of various Central paramilitary organisations and senior Army officials.

Lauds gallantry

Lauding the efforts of the security forces, particularly to the bus services across the Line of Control, Dr. Singh paid tributes to their gallantry in meeting the challenge posed by terrorism.

Srinagar has been fortified by the security forces for the Prime Minister's visit. Barricades and pickets have been put up at main roads and the road leading to the convention centre, where the second round-table conference is being held, is bristling with State and Central police personnel. Pedestrian movement is also strictly restricted and a close vigil kept at all vulnerable points, particularly hotels and houseboats. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, which was bristling with tourists two days ago, wears a deserted look. Shops and business establishments are closed as separatist organisations have called a general strike.

Second meeting

In the second meeting presided over by him, Dr. Singh reviewed the progress of the reconstruction plan announced by him in 2004. It was attended by at least 10 Secretaries of Central Ministries, including Home, Finance, Health, Tourism, Rural Development and Power.

Though Dr. Singh expressed overall satisfaction at the speedy implementation of development plans, he said the key sectors of power and roads were witnessing a slow pace of implementation and their performance needed a boost.

He directed the Finance Ministry to give sanction within 15 days to the Border Roads Organisation for filling about 5,000 vacancies in the technical and construction branches. Finance would not be a constraint for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. The Government would take up the task of creation of jobs for youth with renewed vigour, he said.

The shortfall of about 1,000 MW in the power sector in the winter months should be taken up on a priority basis so that people did not face hardship.