The Bold Voice of J&K

Traders’ shutdown, Cong march mark opening of Darbar

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1 copyST Correspondent
SRINAGAR: Darbar Move offices, including Civil Secretariat and Raj Bhawan, opened in the summer capital on Tuesday in the backdrop of a business shutdown coupled by a ‘protest march’ of the Congress leaders against Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP-BJP coalition.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was received at the Civil Secretariat by almost all the ministers and senior bureaucrats and Police officials including Chief Secretary Iqbal Khanday and DGP K. Rajendra Kumar. He was given a guard of honour at the reception. Leaders of the Civil Secretariat Non-Gazetted Employees Union were also present. They presented bouquets to the CM.
Mufti later conducted an inspection of different offices and staff halls. Attending his office here for the first time after taking over as CM in Jammu on 1st March, Mufti also interacted briefly with the Press.
Chief Minister asserted that his government in an alliance with the BJP was just two months old and it would show results after putting the system in place in near future. Giving out an assurance to change the system of governance, Mufti said his government was working to make the system responsive by putting in place a single window clearance system for ensuring time-bound administrative disposal.
In reply to a question regarding the non-payment of government bills at different treasuries, Mufti claimed that there was no financial crunch in Jammu and Kashmir. He said there were two aspects of Government spending—-one relating to the routine expenditure of the State and the other with specific reference to relief and rehabilitation. “The first one is being met despite previous liabilities,” he said.
Identifying restoration of flood-damaged infrastructure and improvement of roads, including the National Highways, as his top priority areas, Mufti said there was no deficit in the “Agenda for Alliance” of the coalition Government, which, he said, needed some time to set the system right. He said a new recruitment policy had been announced by his Government to speed up filling up of vacancies so that the jobs were provided to the educated unemployed youth in a transparent and time-bound manner.
Referring to the unprecedented floods of 2014, Mufti said his Government was committed to the rehabilitation of victims, which would be carried out on priority. He said the State was confronted with another threat of flood which was thwarted by timely management and following a proper flood drill. “We have provided a token of compensation to uninsured marginal traders and destitute, who lost everything in the September 2014 deluge”, Mufti said.
Traders on strike refused to be takers to Mufti’s claims and assertions. They told media persons that they had been listening to such statements for long but the fact, according to them, was that neither Omar Abdullah’s nor Mufti’s government had done anything tangible to provide succour to hundreds of thousands of victims of the September 2014 flood.
With most of the shops closed for business in the capital city and major towns across the Valley during the current year’s first non-political shutdown, a group of the traders initiated a protest march at Maisuma, close to the key business hubs of Budshah Chowk, Lalchowk and Hari Singh High Street. The participants complained that the government treasuries were “empty”, payments were not being released to flood victims, contractors and government supplies. Even the GP Fund withdrawals of the government employees had been stopped for payment. They said that nothing had been done for rehabilitation of the worst affected traders and industrial unit holders.
Police swung into action and forced the traders’ march to retreat and disperse with baton charge and tearsmoke at Budshah Bridge when it was proceeding towards Civil Secretariat.
In a related development, independent MLA Engineer Rashid’s protesting group was also stopped at Batmaloo and not permitted to head towards Secretariat. The MLA was bundled into a vehicle and dropped at his Jawahar Nagar residence. He later complained that he was put under house arrest.
Newly appointed President of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee Ghulam
Ahmad Mir led a march of his party workers from Maulana Azad Road towards Civil Secretariat. Prominent Congress leaders and former Ministers, including Peerzada Sayeed and Taj Mohiuddin participated in the march. Its way to Secretariat was also blocked near Budshah Bridge.
In a speech at the JKPCC headquarters, Mir called the PDP-BJP ruling coalition “a compulsion and unholy alliance”. He claimed that the coalition had a “hidden agenda”.
“BJP Govt at centre has stopped the funds to State with the aim to press it for implementation of its hidden agenda, which is known to everyone, but Congress will not allow PDP or BJP to play pranks with the people and will not allow the coalition to succeed in its nefarious designs. If they are in power, that is because of people’s mandate and this mandate should be respected by way of redressal of grievances and working for faster development of people” , Mir said.
Mir called the ruling coalition hypocritical while recollecting how Mufti and other PDP leaders had sought vote only for the purpose of keeping the “RSS-controlled BJP” away from grabbing power in India’s only Muslim-majority State. He referred to Narendra Modi’s election time speeches and said that no less than Prime Minister had castigated the so called dynastic rule of Mufti and Sheikh dynasties and labelling Mufti and others as “corrupt”. He said PDP’s sharing the bed with BJP “only for the lust of power” was a cruel joke with the people of this State and the country.

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