After indicting media, govt now says Sainik Colony process started in 2011

After indicting media, govt now says Sainik Colony process started in 2011

Naeem Akhtar accuses Omar Abdullah of giving birth to controversy

Srinagar: Faced with criticism, the PDP-led government on Tuesday shunned its denial mode on Sainik Colony in Kashmir, saying the proposal had been mooted in 2011 and that there were suggestions of making bylaws in this regard a year later.
Addressing reporters here, government spokesman and PDP senior leader Naeem Akhtar, said the proposal to create the Sainik Colony in Kashmir was initiated during a meeting of Rajya Sainik Board headed by Governor and attended by the then chief minister and vice-chairman of the Board, Omar Abdullah.
He said that several meeting were held later over the issue but Omar Abdullah never objected to its creation then.
He said the entire process aimed at establishing the Sainik Colony started with the conduct of 73rd meeting of J&K Rajya Sainik Board on 1 March 2011.
“The Board works for safeguarding the interests of retired forces personnel. In that meeting which was attended by the Governor and the then Chief Minister and other officials, a request was put forward for establishing a Sainik Colony on the pattern of Jammu Sainik Colony,” he said while referring the official documents which he showed to the reporters.
He said that in 74th board meeting held on 2 March 2012, requirement of 150 Kanals of land was forwarded to be approved and it was suggested that appropriate bylaws be made in this regard amid the presence of governor and the then Chief Minister.
“On 9 April 2013, 75th Board meeting of J&K Rajya Sainik Board was held, wherein five locations were identified for the establishment of the colony. The meeting was attended by the governor and chief minister whose designation was made as first vice-president in this meeting, second vice-president Lt Gen Sachdeva from Northern Command and other officials,” he said.
Naeem said that in 76th meeting held on 21 April 2014, it was revealed that Divisional Commissioner has agreed on land allotment at Old Airfield site and the required documentation was under process for acquisition of the land for establishment of Sainik Colony.
“In this meeting, Chief Minister was not present but Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary of that time were present in the meeting,” he said.
Naeem said that similarly in 77th Board meeting held on 16 April 2015, Divisional Commissioner had agreed to transfer 173 kanals of land at Old Airfield, as approved in previous meeting.
“However the number of aspirants from retired forced personnel had increased considerably by this time which required a land of 350 Kanals. The meeting was attended by Governor, the then Chief Secretary and other officials,” he said, adding that in 78th meeting held on 21 April 2016, the government categorically told the meeting that no land was available for establishment of the Sainik Colony.
He said the official record is clear that Omar Abdullah attended the meeting and was keen to see the creation of these colonies.
“He (Omar Abdullah) attended all meetings and never spoke a word in its opposition. It was during his tenure as CM that land for these colonies were identified. If creation of Sainik Colony seems wrong to him now, was it right when he was at the helm of affairs,” he said, adding, “Present controversy is the gift of Omar-led government.”