Taking the government to task for its misplaced priorities with regard to the city of Temples even during the present critical Juncture, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP & former Minister strongly objected to the recent decision of the J&K government to open new liquor shops in Jammu division. He divulged that as per the latest proposal mooted by the Excise Commissioner, 116 new liquor shops were proposed for opening in Jammu region “to cater to the requirements in un-served areas”. Strongly opposing the move as ill conceived and outrageous, Mr. Singh questioned as to who had demanded the opening of additional liquor shops in the prevailing situation when Jammu region was already faced with crisis of identity, culture and livelihood apart from raging Corona pandemic. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
Singh further said that the large scale issuance of domicile certificates to people from Bihar, UP, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand etc. had not only threatened the jobs prospects of Dogra youth but had also posed a threat to our very civilization. With people of various hues and shades from outside states having settled in Jammu and its periphery and having obtained the domicile rights as earlier available to locals, the erstwhile Dogra majority land was fast losing its identity, culture and its pristine glory.
Referring to the latest controversy over the Panjbhaktar temple lands, Mr. Singh said that the people still awaited the final decision of the government as mere withdrawal of tender did not satisfy them. The statement of JDA VC that “the Divisional Commissioner has been requested to verify the title of the land after which the further course of action would be taken by the government” had further added to the prevailing confusion. He said that government’s intention appeared to buy time so as to allow the tensions and tempers to subside before it finally acted upon its misadventure. Cautioning the government to refrain from any fool hardly venturing, the NPP Chairman said that any attempt to rob the Temple land was fraught with dangerous portends and could lead to earthshaking consequences.
Further, terming the proposal of opening of new116 liquor vends in Jammu as mooted by the Excise Commissioner vide his letter dated 16-06-2020 government as highly obnoxious , Mr. Singh said that it would only invite disaster in view of already frayed public tempers especially the youth and women against the govt. He further disclosed that the Excise Commissioner J&K had sent an official memo to the government seeking approval for opening the said liquor shops at locations already finalized by him in Jammu. “There are already 220 liquor vends in Jammu out of the total 224 existing liquor shops operating as on date. Already there is huge number of liquor shops, bars besides illicit distillation being carried on in various parts of J&K. Every day there are reports of domestic violence, fatal road accidents and liquor smuggling. Spike in cases of women atrocities, young deaths and crime has ruined thousands of families”, divulged Harsh.
Singh said that the incarcerated Dogra land had continued to suffer even after the State’s Reorganization. If Jammu was being offered anything, it was either toll Plazas or Bar Plazas, rued Singh.