SRINAGAR, JANUARY 26 – Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, today unfurled the National Flag to mark 75th Republic Day celebrations at Bakshi Stadium here.
He inspected the parade and took salute from the contingents of JKP, BSF, CRPF, JKAP, SSB, ITBP, IRP, Women contingent, Forest Protection Force and NCC.
Addressing the huge gathering, Advisor Bhatnagar extended his heart warming greetings to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as members of Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces, Central and UT level police forces for their contribution in maintaining the security and integrity of our nation
In his address, Advisor Bhatnagar said this year our country is celebrating the day under the theme “India – Mother of Democracy’’ and ‘’Viksit Bharat’’. He remarked that in 1950 the Constitution of India came into effect, the constitution crafted under the visionary leadership of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, not only guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms but also enshrined the values of justice, equality, and fraternity.
He called upon the citizens that besides honouring our constitution , we all should reaffirm our commitment to justice, liberty, equality and fraternity and stand together against intolerance and discrimination, fostering an environment where every citizen can thrive, irrespective of caste, creed or gender.
The Advisor further remarked that in the face of global challenges, India has shown unwavering determination and from technological advancements to economic growth, our great nation is making strides on the international stage. He highlighted that economy of our country is progressing at a stable pace and that even in the face of difficult circumstances during the global financial downturn, our performance was appreciable.
Speaking on the ongoing development across Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor Bhatnagar said that Jammu an Kashmir is witnessing massive development from the last four, five years. From health sector to physical infrastructure and from seamless citizen centric governance through digital means to improved service delivery to public, every sector has taken a flight of development.
He remarked that Robust Public Health infrastructure is essential for progress of any developing nation, adding that J&K is witnessing a massive push in the establishment of world class healthcare facilities. He added that two AIIMS, two State Cancer Institutes and other advanced health care facilities are being established here.
The Advisor also reflected on other achievements like establishment of Five New Medical Colleges at Rajouri, Kathua, Doda, Baramulla and Anantnag which are functional from own building. He also added that work on new GMC Udhampur and GMC Handwara has started and first batch of MBBS classes started in both the colleges with 100 student each started from current year enhancing the MBBS seats to 1300. He also highlighted that around 3000 health and wellness centre are operationalised in J&K UT so far. The Advisor also highlighted that UT of J&K received the Bronze Medal for significant achievement of more than 20% reduction (compared with the baseline of 2015) in the TB incidence in UT of J&K during the ONE WORLD TB SUMMIT (“World TB Day 2023”), adding that districts Pulwama and Anantnag of UT of J&K were awarded District Level Award for achieving TB free district status for more than 80% reduction in the incidence of TB from the baseline of 2015 with Budgam District having already been declared TB free.
In his address, the Advisor also spoke in length about the road and other allied infrastructure developmental projects. He remarked that road and bridge infrastructure projects are essential for overall development of any region, adding that various flagship programmes and projects are in progress and some have been completed enhancing the overall transportation landscape across Jammu and Kashmir.
He highlighted that under PMGSY, Central Government has sanctioned 3453 projects under PMGSY-I & II for construction of 19049 Kms road length at an estimated cost of Rs.12565 Cr. He highlighted that 2107 habitations have already been connected by March 2023 and 12 habitations are connected during this year, adding that remaining 33 habitations are targeted to be connected by March 2024.
He also remarked that under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) of NABARD, a record number of 1057 road and bridge projects for an amount of Rs.4550 Cr have been sanctioned since 2019-20, which include 183 projects sanctioned during 2023-24 at a cost of Rs.913 Cr.
The Advisor also observed that from 2017 to 2020 total macdamization was 9252 Kms whereas from 2020 to 2023 total length achieved under macdamization is 16807 Kms
Highlighting about the achievements under Jal Jeevan Mission, Advisor Bhatnagar said that JAL JEEVAN MISSION, a flagship program launched by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji, is progressing smoothly across Jammu and Kashmir and J&K has targeted to provide FHTCs by covering all its 18.70 lakh rural households with tap water connections capable of supplying water in adequate quantity
He remarked that with the saturation of 14.11 lakh out of 18.70 lakh rural households with Tap Water Connections, Jammu & Kashmir crosses 75% coverage under Jal Jeevan Mission and enters into ‘High Achievers’ category at National level.
The Advisor further said that Agriculture sector is witnessing a boom in Jammu and Kashmir. Holistic Agriculture Development Program for Agriculture, launched in April of 2023 has received overwhelming support from the farming community and in the last nine months, 50,000 applications from farmers and youth have been received on the Kisan Sathi portal of which 14000 applications have been approved and these units are being established across the UT, he said.
Speaking on the thriving Tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor Bhatnagar said that Tourism industry is one of most flourishing sector in the UT of J&K. This Industry is playing a pivotal role in the Social and Economic development and transformation of all the regions of J&K as significant population is engaged in the Tourism Industry directly or indirectly, he said.
Tourism Sector in J&K has done exceptionally well and witnessed unprecedented growth in the year 2022, as more than 1.88 crore tourist visits have been recorded in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, the Advisor said. He added that this phenomenal growth was also witnessed in the valley of Kashmir where total tourist visits were 26.7 lacs in the year 2022, which is more than double than the previously recorded highest so far. This positive trend has continued during the current calendar year as more than 2 crore Tourist visits have been recorded till 7th December 2023, which is the highest recorded Tourist visits so far, he said.
On a very positive note, the numbers of foreign tourist visits have reached 51,297 till 7th Dec 2023 as against 17,611 in the year 2022 during the corresponding period marking a growth of roughly 200 per cent, he said, adding that this growth has been achieved because of various policy initiatives, creation of conducive environment/ facilities and aggressive publicity and promotional campaigns undertaken by the Government of J&K.
Highlighting on the remarkable achievements in Sports, Advisor Bhatnagar said that Youth Services & Sports Department has created robust sports infrastructure in all 20 districts of UT of J&K, possible only because of liberal funding by GOI under PMDP , Khelo India Schemes and UT Capex Budget. He added that International Level Cricket & Football Stadiums have been established in MA Stadium Jammu and Bakshi Stadium Srinagar under PMDP besides Multipurpose Indoor Sports Halls have been constructed in all 20 Districts.
He also added that our own Rakesh Kumar and Sheetal Devi won Silver & gold respectively in individual category and won mixed team gold in Archery in Para Asian Games 2023 held at Hunagzhou China. He also remarked that it is proud moment for J&K that Sheetal Devi was conferred with Arjuna Award by Hon’ble President of India, extending his best wishes to the daughter of soil.
The Advisor, in his address, also spoke in length about the remarkable development and achievements in other sectors.
The Advisor on the occasion also paid glowing tributes to the brave hearts who safeguard our borders, ensuring the sovereignty of our nation, highlighting that their sacrifices serve as a reminder of our duty to preserve the values enshrined in our Constitution. “I convey my special appreciation to our Jawans who guard our borders and are ready to make any sacrifice for the country. I also express my appreciation for all the brave soldiers of paramilitary forces and police-forces who provide internal security to their fellow citizens”, he said.
On the occasion, colourful cultural programme was also presented by the artists of J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages as well as school and College students in the form of traditional Rouf, Bandpather, Dambali and others which mesmerised the audiences.
The Advisor on the occasion, also presented awards to winners of Best March Past, Best cultural programme as well as other categories.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, IGP Kashmir; Administrative Secretaries, DC Srinagar, senior officers of police and civil administration, heads of various departments, government officials and large number of people and school children were present on the occasion.