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MPs panel grills officials on Kashmir

They were asked how development could reach the region when ‘peace is elusive’.

Members of the parliamentary panel on Home Affairs have posed some tough questions to Home Ministry officials on their claims of getting big-ticket investments in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Opposition MPs asked how could development reach J&K when “peace was elusive”.

J&K is under severe restrictions, including a communication blockade, since August 5.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Additional Secretary Gyanesh Kumar and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam briefed the MPs on Wednesday.

The panel, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, met to discuss the demands for grants of the Ministry pertaining to the Union Territories. Its final report will be tabled after the Budget session resumes in March.

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An MP who attended the meeting said, “The Home Minister had made big announcements on inviting industries and entrepreneurs to J&K. We asked the Ministry officials, ‘Is J&K peaceful now?’. We asked them to ensure peace before making grand plans.”

A day ago, the bypolls to over 12,000 panchayat seats were deferred following “credible inputs from the law enforcement agencies”.

Plans for the future

Other Opposition MPs asked what was the government’s road map for J&K.

“The Ministry officials were asked if they have infrastructure in place? Do they have a planning Board to oversee investments. They replied it was a work in progress... All the assurances were for the future not the present,” another MP said.

He added that laggard infrastructure in Ladakh was also discussed.

The J&K administration is planning a three-day Global Investors’ Summit in Srinagar and Jammu in April to highlight investment opportunities in 14 sectors to boost manufacturing and generate employment.

Senior officials have fanned out to various parts of the country to organise roadshows and meetings to convince the business community to invest in the Union Territory.

In the Union Budget for the financial year 2020-21, ₹30,757 crore was allocated to Jammu and Kashmir, while Ladakh got ₹5,958 crore.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:58:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mps-panel-grills-officials-on-kashmir/article30864419.ece

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