Union Ministers’ J&K outreach from Friday, to meet local officials

Express News Service

SRINAGAR:  Two years after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K, over 300 MPs visited the Union Territory in a fortnight as part of an outreach programme to assess the ground situation, review the developmental works and economic activities.

Now, around 70 Union ministers are slated to visit the UT starting September 10 to seek feedback from officials about the developmental scenario in the militancy-hit region.

At least 14 parliamentary committees, comprising over 300 MPs both from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, visited J&K to assess the ground situation, review developmental works and economic activities.

The members met politicians, DDC members, transporters, hoteliers, traders, tourism stakeholders, civil admin and security force officials to seek their feedback.

Among the MPs to have visited J&K was Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The Lok Sabha Speaker inaugurated the Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the Panchayati Raj Institutions of J&K at Srinagar on August 31.

Birla said he would suggest to the Parliamentary Standing Committees to undertake regular study visits to the far-flung areas of J&K to understand the ground realities and possible solutions for mitigation of grievances of the local people.

Sources said eight ministers would be visiting J&K every week after September 10. Sources said Union MoS Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and senior J&K BJP leader Dr Jitendra Singh is coordinating with the Home Ministry to finalise the schedule.

They said the outreach programme would last nine weeks.

After their visit, the ministers would submit their reports to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office for action.

Former J&K deputy chief minister and senior J&K BJP leader Kavinder Gupta said the union ministers’ visit would help in bridging the gap between the Centre and J&K.