Jammu: Ignoring appeals to call off their protest shutdown on the AIIMS issue in Jammu region, the agitation committee spearheading the stir on Sunday extended their shutdown by another 72 hours.
“The utter failure of the untrustworthy central government to announce a full-fledged All India Institute of Medical Sciences for Jammu region has forced the AIIMS coordination committee to extend the ‘bandh’ to August 5,” local Bar Association president Abhinav Sharma told the media here on Sunday.
Abhinav Sharma, who heads the AIIMS coordination committee, said the panel hoped that the massive public response the stir call evoked across Jammu would make the BJP to read the writing on wall, but it was not to be.
“The BJP yet again betrayed the people of the Jammu region by taking recourse to white lies to hoodwink and mislead the people. We understand BJP’s deception and mischief,” he said.
The state BJP on Sunday appealed to the AIIMS agitation committee to call off its protest shutdown in the city, which was to end on Sunday, and blamed the opposition Congress and the National Conference of trying to create confusion over the sensitive issue.
“Since the demand for an AIIMS for Jammu has been fulfilled, there is no justification in continuing with the agitation spearheaded by the coordination committee,” Bharatiya Janata Party state president and parliamentarian Jugal Kishore Sharma told media persons at the party headquarters here.
Commenting on the BJP assurance, the bar association president said, “The AIIMS Act does not allow what union Health Minister J.P. Nadda tweeted on July 30 and what the cornered BJP ministers here in Jammu and Kashmir are trying to make the people of Jammu to believe.”
“No AIIMS in India can ever have two presidents, two vice chancellors, two governing bodies and two directors. What they are saying is a gross violation of the Act and an act of criminal disinformation,” Abhinav Sharma said.
“Nowhere in India has the AIIMS been divided into two parts or two campuses because it will defeat the very purpose of the institution. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Act 2012 clearly says that to establish an AIIMS, it is mandatory to issue a notification specifying the place and the state where the AIIMS is to be established,” the AIIMS coordination committee head said.
“Breaking AIIMS into parts and setting them in various parts of the state defeats the very purpose of the medical research institution. The BJP ministers have only made a mockery of themselves and exposed their abject ignorance of the issue,” he said.
Abhinav Sharma said that the competent authorities in New Delhi should issue a notification as per the Act to establish AIIMS in Jammu in the current financial year, without indulging in vague and misleading statements.
In its first major initiative after the creation of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the government is holding two back-to-back regional conferences in Jammu that will see officials and delegates from 19 other states and the two UTs participating to highlight models of good governance practices.
A two-day conference on ‘Replication of Good Governance Practices in UTs of J&K and Ladakh’ will be held in Jammu on November 15 and 16, while another conference on ‘Jal Shakti and Disaster Management’ under the ‘Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat’ programme will be held on November 30 and December 1.
The second conference will see Tamil Nadu as the sister state of Jammu and Kashmir UT, with both sides discussing their rivers, Cauvery and Jhelum, and how to rejuvenate the water bodies.
Both the conferences are being organised at the behest of Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, who is keen to quicken the pace of development in the region after it was carved into two UTs on October 31.
The first conference will see the participation of 200 officials from J&K and over 90 officials from other states. The second will have 350 participants, including officials from districts, collectors, members of the civil society, officials from the food and civil supplies departments and some members of flood-affected families.
The first conference on Good Governance Practices will have sessions on public policy and governance, capacity building and personnel administration. Participants will make presentations on digital governance, citizen centric governance, aspirational districts and PM awards initiatives.
Besides Jitendra Singh, others attending the conferences will include the new Lt Governor of Ladakh R.K. Mathur, the new Lt Governor of J&K G.C. Murmu and top officials in the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, and in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
Other initiatives such as Government e-Marketplace (GeM), Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG), e-Vidhaan and e-Office will also be discussed.
States like Bihar and Gujarat will share their experiences of grievance redressal along with J&K.
The second conference on ‘Jal Shakti and Disaster Management’ will see sessions on the following themes — rejuvenation of rivers, Cauvery and Jhelum, reducing water consumption in agriculture, water warriors for water conservation, and management of floods.
Both sides will also discuss the 2014 floods in Srinagar and the rescue operation carried out by the National Disaster Response Force, and the 2015 Chennai floods, as well as emergency responses, forecasting and early warning.
Some noted conservation experts are being invited to the conference such as Anil Prakash Joshi, founder of the Dehradun-based Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization, Sekhar Raghavan, Director, Rain Centre, Chennai, and Sonam Wangchuk, founding-director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh.
Jitendra Singh said that the Central government aims to bring development and replicate good governance practices in the newly created UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
J&K would make presentations on its excellence projects like Back to Village programme, panchayat polls, electrification of households, and girl child education.
Young district collectors from other states would make presentations on model case studies, or where they have done well in the Mission Indradhanush immunisation programme, or the National Rural Livelihood Mission, a poverty alleviation project, or in the Aspirational Districts programme.
“The two conferences are being convened to create a roadmap and environment for good governance, which would represent the first important events of the Government of India in these UTs.
“The objective is for highest focus on public policy and governance with special emphasis on digital governance, citizen centric governance, innovation and capacity building,” V. Srinivas, IAS, Additional Secretary in the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, told IANS.
“We hope these two conferences would enable a series of sustained efforts to create a transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly effective administration in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh. Following the conference, a Jammu Sankalp would be adopted, which would enable the creation of several models of excellence in citizen centric governance,” Srinivas added.
On August 5, the Central government abrogated the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and carved it into two UTs, saying that the move would help bring the benefits of good governance that the rest of India enjoyed to the region.
The special status had prevented several citizen-centric Central laws from taking effect in J&K. (IANS)