Srinagar: The National Conference submitted a memorandum of complaints on Monday to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti during a meeting of the Srinagar District Development Board. Discrimination against Srinagar in fund allocation for civic infrastructure was the chief complaint.
National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said that the government’s statements about development of Srinagar were “mere rhetoric”. He said that Srinagar was facing “the worst form of discrimination” in terms of inadequate funds and lack of attention towards developmental projects initiated by the Omar Abdullah-led government.
Sagar, who is the MLA from Srinagar’s Khanyar constituency, said that the discrimination against Srinagar was “unprecedented”.
“The glaring example of the raw deal given to Srinagar is that the Plan Size for 2016-17 for Jammu is Rs 200 crore but for Srinagar is only Rs 100 crore. The tentative figure under Plan Development is Rs 212 crore for Jammu and Rs 102 crore for Srinagar for 2017-18. Is this not clear and evident discrimination against Srinagar?” he said in a statement.
“The other glaring example of discrimination is the abandoning of the Syed Meerak Shah Road Project, the KZP Road Project, and other road projects that are vital for the city’s development and have a direct bearing on its economic activity and prospects. No progress has been seen on the Dal Development Project, or on similar initiatives for Anchar Lake and Khush-Hal Sar Lake”, the NC’s memorandum said.
Sagar said that funds allocated for Srinagar were far less in comparison to funds allocated for districts with significantly lower population. “The combined population of both Reasi and Kathua Districts is around 9 lakh. The Plan Size of both districts is Rs 300 crore and it is proposed as Rs 313 crore for 2017-18. The population of Srinagar District is more than 11 lakh and yet you have only allocated Rs 100 crore for Srinagar District which consists of 8 assembly segments. We are not against any particular district’s development but why are you discriminating against Srinagar? We are votaries of equal development of all three regions of the state. Sadly, your government is sowing seeds of regional animosity by perpetrating gross injustice against the people of Srinagar, who have weathered the brunt of the 2014 floods and the turmoil in 2016,” he said.
“The first and foremost demand of public representatives from our party is that the Plan Size for Srinagar should be increased to the extent that has been provided for Jammu District,” he added.
Another NC legislator, Shameema Firdous, said that Srinagar has become a “dust bowl”.
“We want that funds should be doubled for macdamisation of roads as this work could not be carried out last year due to the unrest,” she said.
Shameema said that opposition legislators also raised the issue of “backdoor appointment” of Special Police Officers (SPOs) in police and custodian departments. “These PSOs were appointed from PDP constituencies,” she said.