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No power cuts, open highway, tourist arrivals make winter eventful in ‘Naya J&K’

No power cuts, open highway, tourist arrivals make winter eventful in 'Naya J&K'

Srinagar, Jan 12 (SocialNews.XYZ) With the arrival of winter in Kashmir, life used to become slow as the power curtailment, frequent closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, shifting of the government offices from Srinagar to Jammu used to be the norms that were followed religiously in the erstwhile J&K State.

However, in 'Naya Jammu and Kashmir' life has changed during the past three years. There are no power outages, no shortage of essential commodities and no shifting of Durbar. Even the highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu has remained open in winter.


Record number of tourists visiting Kashmir even in freezing temperatures has turned tourism into an all weather industry. Hotels, guest houses and huts in tourist resorts across the Valley are full and off-season has turned into a bumper season.

After August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories-Kashmir has turned into one of the most vibrant places in the country.

During the past three years the Centre has given a major push to hydroelectric power with a total investment of about Rs 51,000 crore, with a focus on improvement in infrastructure and power generation in the Union Territory. The results are evident as the pesky power cuts have vanished and the people are getting electricity even during the winter months.

Highway woes end

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is on its way to become an express highway as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is working round the clock to turn this important thoroughfare into an all weather road.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his visit to Kashmir in 2015 had announced Rs 80,000 crore package for building 'Naya Jammu and Kashmir'. The package included money for constructing new roads and highways, building schools, improving power infrastructure and other projects.

However, the then regime led by People's Democratic Party (PDP) in J&K didn't pay much attention towards spending the money on the projects which it was meant for. The work on turning Srinagar-Jammu National Highway into an express highway was carried on at a snail's pace, which led to the frequent closure of the road. Other projects which the money was meant for remained confined to papers only.

After 2019 the work on the all important Srinagar - Jammu highway has been expedited and by 2024 it's expected to become a four lane road. Two corridors of the highway i.e. Srinagar to Qazigund and Udhampur to Jammu have already been turned into four lane roads and the work on the remaining corridors is going on at a very fast pace. Qazigund -Banhial tunnel and Nashritunnel have already reduced the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by many hours. The journey between the two cities that used to take 12-hours is completed within 6 to 7 hours.

The landslide prone zones along the highway have been plugged and the National Highways Authority of India is ensuring that Jammu- Srinagar National Highway remains open even during inclement weather conditions.

Ease of living

With the onset of winter season essential commodities used to vanish from the markets in Kashmir, the perishable items, including green vegetables were rare to find during winter months. Shortage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders used to be a routine.

As on date green vegetables are found in markets even in January month and the LPG shortage has become a history. Kashmir is thriving like other parts of the country as the government during the past three years has made life easy for people. A common man has understood what the ease of living means.

Abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, has brought Kashmir closer to the Union of India. The unprecedented development which the Himalayan region has witnessed during the past three years has proven beyond doubt that the so-called special status was nothing but an impediment which kept J&K and its people deprived of development.

Life going on without disruptions

The speedy construction of roads, improvement in healthcare, education sector, sharp decline in terror-related activities and no protests and stone pelting incidents and tourism becoming a 12-month activity have changed the very concept of governance in J&K.
Life going on without disruptions that were caused due to separatist sponsored shutdowns and street protests have improved the economic scenario in Kashmir.

According to the figures dished out by the officials fifty three development projects worth Rs 58,477 crore in various sectors such as roads, power, health, education, tourism, agriculture, skill development are being implemented in J&K under the Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP).

Investors from the rest of the country and even abroad have sent investment proposals worth thousands of crores to the J&K government.

Besides providing government jobs to more than 20,000 aspirants, the administration has created employment avenues for nearly 5.2 lakh youth through various self-employment schemes.

People of Jammu and Kashmir have understood that they are an integral part of the Union of India and they have to stand under one flag and follow one Constitution.

During the past three years many positive rights of the people which they were unable to avail due to Article 370 being in vogue have come into play and it has brought them at par with the citizens across the country.

Durbar Move scrapped

In 2021 the Jammu and Kashmir government scrapped Durbar Move, the 149-year-old biannual tradition of government officials shifting capitals between Srinagar and Jammu.

Prior to scrapping of this practice about 10,000 employees working in the Civil Secretariats in Jammu and Srinagar used to move between the two cities twice every year with Jammu being the winter capital and Srinagar the summer capital.

The erstwhile J&K state was the only place in the country having two capitals.
Shifting of Durbar involved huge expenses. The practice nurtured inefficiency and led to lack of governance.

After 2021, the Civil Secretariats, highest seats of power, function both from Srinagar and Jammu for all the 12-months.

Offices in Srinagar and Jammu don't remain deserted anymore. The government officials remaining available round the year have added a new dimension to the idea of governance.

People don't have to run from pillar to post to get their grievances redressed as most of the services are available online. Ones who used to shriek work and run away from responsibilities have been shown the exit door.

Politicians, who for 70-years had created a notion that life in Kashmir during winter cannot be normal, have been left with nothing to sell as the time has proven that they didn't put the requisite efforts to provide basic amenities to a common man during the difficult times.

Kashmir has turned into an all weather destination and people are living normal lives even in freezing temperatures. The end of 70-year long status-quo has changed the concept of living in Jammu and Kashmir.

Source: IANS

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No power cuts, open highway, tourist arrivals make winter eventful in 'Naya J&K'

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