Former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla on Sunday said that Congress stands for the struggle to safeguard genuine rights of the people and the lost identity of the erstwhile state after the abrogation of its special status last year. This was observed by former Minister while interacting with people of Maha Kali Nagar Ward – 73.”The party has time and again reiterated its demand for the restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir along with constitutional guarantees and safeguards for the land and jobs to local residents. Bhalla regretted that people of J&K were facing numerous problems due to callous approach of those at the helm of the affairs. “Woes of common people are compounding with every passing day due to non serious approach of govt,” he added. Demanding an economic package for J&K, he said present scenario demands to take care of labourers, shopkeepers, industrialists, traders and people who are associated with Tourism industry and other sectors, who have been worst hit due to the Covid19. He said that any further delay in restoration of Statehood can increase the feeling of powerlessness, cynicism and lack of confidence in the political process, politicians and democratic institutions within J&K. He reiterated demand and reminded BJP Govt of its promise on J&K’s Statehood. People are anxiously waiting for the announcement of this decision and sooner the better,” he opined.
“The main source of earning of J&K was tourism and religious tourism. But hotels are empty and the employees there are sitting idle. The government should waive off electricity bills to these sectors instead of deferment of loan which is not a concession,” Bhalla said. The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has reached a stage where the people have virtually lost trust with the institution of governance and political process,” Bhalla observed adding that lack of responsiveness in the government offices has added to the already existing levels of alienation and discontentment among the people. “Almost all the shopkeepers, traders, and other small, medium and big business units including private schools have been badly hit since August last year and the COVID-19 pandemic has grossly added to their woes. Deferring the payment of electricity and water usage charges would be injustice with them. We demand that these charges should be waived off for the commercial sector in view of the prevailing circumstances,” he demanded.
Expressing serious concern over the growing number of COVID-19 fatalities in J&K, Bhalla called for all possible efforts by the government in order to minimize the spike in cases of Pandemic. He appealed to the people to follow the social and health guidelines of COVID-19 so as to reduce the number of deaths due to this deadly disease.“We should follow the words of advice of health experts in letter and spirit if we really want to contain this spread of this pandemic. The LG led government should also take all measures on war footing to minimize the number of deaths, being reported because of the COVID in J&K,” he demanded. He said it would be a “disaster” if the administration failed to strictly enforce lockdown restrictions, especially in Kashmir, as it is the only solution as of now to contain the spread of the virus.Bhalla further said that BJP leaders seem to be unaware about the ground realities. He alleged that BJP has been totally failed to genuine issues of the people from Jammu region. Bhalla deliberated upon various day to day problems being faced by the public in the absence of any elected Govt. He said that it is most unfortunate that the common people have no medium to raise their voice for their basic necessities like water, power, healthcare and education due to the neglect of the BJP Govt. The people have to come on roads to express their anger and seek redressal of their genuine grievances.