Continuation of dialogue to evolve solution: Vohra

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Srinagar, Aug 15: Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra on Friday, Aug 15 reiterated his commitment to continue the dialogue process with the representatives of various agitating groups in the state for evolving an amicable and acceptable solution to various issues.

Addressing the people after unfurling the tricolour at the state- level function on the 62nd Independence Day at Bakshi Stadium here this morning, the Governor appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace and calm in this difficult hour, in keeping with the glorious traditions of secularism, brotherhood and communal harmony. He said, ''It should be our collective responsibility to resolve the most contentious issues through the democratic process, based on dialogue and conciliation.'' Mr Vohra strongly urged the civil society in the state to act in its best tradition of assimilation and accommodation, saying the people of the three regions have to do unto others what should assuage the feelings of all those who were feeling hurt and aggrieved.

''We have to rise beyond communal, regional and the ideological divides and look to recreate a peaceful environment across the state,'' he said and added that the onus of this lies on the people of all the three regions and on all of us.

He called for shunning the path of violence and strongly supporting the sincere endeavours of the Administration in restoring the damaged social fabric of the state.

Referring to the recent developments in the state, the Governor said since he came here to serve the people of the state he was compelled to emphasise that, more than any government or any Governor, it were the people of the State who have been, and will have to, continue to be the agents of change and missionaries of peace.

He expressed the view that every single person in the state was obligated to be concerned with what had happened and to respond to the obtaining situation.

''Every single person must prevent the destruction of the environment of peace which he assiduously helped create in the past several years,'' he maintained.

Mr Vohra expressed distress over the disturbances that took place at the height of the business and tourist season and said whatever might have been the reasons and provocations, the unfortunate outcome had been that trade and tourism had suffered enormous losses.

He said the free and open environment which prevailed earlier in the year, attracting a large number of visitors to the state, had been adversely affected.

He expressed grief over the loss of life and damage to property in the unfortunate incidents and said while monetary assistance cannot compensate the loss of human life in any way, efforts would be made to help those affected by incidents of violence in rebuilding their livelihoods.

He made a strong appeal to the people to be aware of false propaganda and rumours and help the Administration in enforcing the Rule of Law, to provide safety and security to every citizen of the state.

He hoped that the people would extend a helping hand in deepening and widening the peace process.

The Governor referred to the visit of the all-party delegation to the state, led by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil followed by subsequent meetings under his chairmanship and of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at Delhi, and said there were a strong pointer to the Central Government's sensitivity to the sentiments of the people of the state. Mr Vohra said the State does not face any dearth of funds for implementing the required developmental programmes. On the contrary, the State Administration presently faced high responsibility for ensuring that the large scale available resources were fully and timely utilized in an efficient manner, to ensure that the investment flows actually result in the ''on-ground'' creation of gainful opportunities for the unemployed youth.

He said he had the opportunity, in the past few weeks, to hold sector-wise reviews of developmental programmes and had re-emphasized the crucial importance of employment creation to top all the initiatives.

He said it would be his sincere endeavour to ensure that all the ongoing schemes were completed in a time bound manner.

High priority would be accorded to the human welfare and growth sectors, particularly health, education and social welfare.

The focus of development effort would be to achieve overall improvement in the quality of life of our common people.

He said the State Administration was committed to making the developmental process more inclusive. Towards the attainment of this objective, women, members of the weaker sections of the society, scheduled castes and tribes, Gujjars and Bakerwals and Paharis would be associated with the planning and implementation of various developmental schemes.

The Governor reminded that the development process can be successfully implemented only in a stable security environment in which peace and normalcy prevailed.

He said the recent developments in the State had been extremely distressing and painful for all, particularly for him personally.

''What has happened is inexplicable from the civil society perspective. From the perspective of the collective aspirations and concerns of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the events of the past few weeks could not have been more unfortunate.

Irrespective of the angle from which we may view the developments in the past two months, it must be conceded that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have lost heavily on many fronts,'' he said.

The Governor said if the State had to achieve sustained progress, all necessary steps needed to be taken to ensure that the macro social and economic environment remained firm and stable, bereft of any fragility.

If a single event or episode could send the state into an unbridled frenzy, resulting in human and economic losses, the people were forced to go back in time, ''then all of us need to get together most urgently and work collectively to restore a stable socio-political environment,'' he said.

The Governor reiterated without mincing words and without indulging in rhetoric, to give a clean and impartial administration, which would be both responsive and accountable.

''While honesty and commitment will be rewarded, inefficiencies will not be overlooked.

''As stakeholders, all of you, the people of Jammu and Kashmir need to strengthen my hands in bringing this about to make the delivery of public services for the common man more efficient, honest and free of delays and irritants'', he added.

Earlier, the Governor took salute at an impressive parade of Police, Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police, BSF, CRPF, Fire Services, women Police and school children and inspected the march past.

The dare devils of Jammu and Kashmir Police gave a scintillating bike-display which enthralled the audience.

The Independence Day function was marked by the presence of senior political leaders, Judges of the High Court, senior Civil, Army and police officers and a large number of people.

Prominent among them were, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, MP, Abdul Rahim Rather, and former Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and several other leaders.

Advisors to the Governor, H H Tyabji and C Phunsog, Chief Secretary, S S Kapur, Lt General Mukesh Sabherwal, GOC 15 Corps, Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khuda, Financial Commissioner and senior Civil, Police, Para Military and Army officers were also present.Greeting the people on the Independence Day, the Governor said that during the past six decades, the country had been able to successfully tackle varied challenges while keeping the flame of democracy burning bright. As a nation, he said that the country had traversed a long distance and attained an enviable position in the comity of nations and India is well on its way to being a major global player.

He said it was a matter for great satisfaction that the world looked towards India with hope and expectation, particularly as the country had taken a firm lead in providing some of the best brains to the modern world who had contributed significantly to global development.

''In the fascinating march towards building a strong and vibrant India, the state has not lagged behind. Notwithstanding the traumatic period of militancy which impeded growth and development for very many years, Jammu and Kashmir has achieved appreciable progress on many fronts,'' the Governor said. He complimented the civil administration, Army and the security forces for tackling continuing difficult situations and thank the civil society for sustaining an environment which has enabled the socio-economic growth process to take off.

The Governor referred to the developmental scenario of the State and said during the past few years a massive developmental effort had been launched across all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said sustained and equitable development is necessary for satisfying regional and sub-regional aspirations and to enable Jammu and Kashmir to realise its developmental objectives, the Central Government had been magnanimously funding various schemes.

He said apart from a robust allocation of Rs 4,500 crore for the current financial year, and a liberal package by way of the Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan, the State Government is receiving sizeable financial flows under the centrally sponsored mega flagship programmes which include the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna, National Rural Health Mission, National Urban Renewal Mission, Border Area Development Programme, and the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme.The Governor expressed confidence that the collective wisdom of the people of the state and said he had no doubt about sanity dominating the atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion created by varied vested interests. He expressed optimism that the silent majority of peace loving citizens would prevail over the forces inimical to peace. ''This will be in tune with our glorious traditions, our rich ethos and our time-tested spirit of accommodation and tolerance,'' he added.

Mr Vohra said the people of Jammu and Kashmir, could contribute to building the edifice of peace and democracy in the state, brick by brick, as their vote would be their invaluable contribution.

He said the foundations of a peaceful environment had been well laid by the preceding two successive popular governments and ''what we now need is a fresh, clear and firm resolve from each of you to participate in electing a popular government. And it shall be my business to ensure that you have the full freedom to do so in a healthy, non-communal, non-sectarian and non-acrimonious environment.

''I am committed to discharging my responsibility and trust that each of you would not fail in adhering to your commitment,'' Mr Vohra said.

Referring to the promologation of the Governor's Rule on 10 July, Mr Vohra said after all options and possibilities of forming a political government had been explored, he was compelled to recommend enforcement of the Governor's Rule in the State.

Viewed in the larger context of the political evolution of Jammu and Kashmir, he said he was acutely aware of the inherent limitations of unitary rule.

He said that he was quite clear that the present was an interim arrangement, which would shortly be replaced by a popularly elected government.

The Governor said that till an elected government assumed responsibility, it would be his primary concerns to restore the civil society to its important role, assuage the raw nerves and frayed tempers; ensure that the environment is healthy and conducive for a free and fair poll which would lead to governance being delivered by a democratically elected body.

Mr Vohra said that as elsewhere in the country, democracy has gained deep roots in Jammu and Kashmir. There can be no better dispensation than the one chosen by the people.

In the months to come, the State would be engaged in a democratic exercise for electing a people's government.

He assured that the State Administration was committed to remaining entirely impartial in ensuing free and fair elections to the State Assembly and urged the people of all shades of persuasion and political thought to actively participate in the ensuing electoral process.


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