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Cong-NC acrimony over; CSC report accepted, 659 new administrative units created

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Asif Iqbal Naik
Jammu, Feb 1: The political drama between the two coalition partner Congress and National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir over the creation of new administrative units finally was over after State Cabinet today approved the creation of 659 administrative units which includes 46 Sub Divisions, 135 Tehsils, 177 CD blocks, 301 Niabats, beside the recommendation of Patwar Halqas for each Panchayat.
After hectic deliberation and late night meetings between the members of the Cabinet Sub Committee on creation of New Administrative Units headed by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, the much hype and confusion over the issue comes to an end after both Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as well as Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand address a jam packed Press Conference at CM’s residence. Both Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand along with ministers from both the parties rush to CM residence where both the leaders address the press conference jointly. Even though both CM and Dy. CM share the stage for Press Conference, but it was Omar Abdullah who took the centre stage and address the media and answer the queries, while Deputy Chief Minister prefer to remain quite during half hour media interaction.
While addressing the Press Conference Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that State Cabinet today approved setting up of 659 new administrative units in the state, a proposal pushed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on which he even considered quitting following resistance from ally Congress. Omar said that he feels happy to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir with that the State Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) on setting up of 659 new administrative units in the state. Terming the decision as “historic”, Omar said that it will benefit a large number of people in the state and will bring the administration at door step of the people.

A political storm brewed in Jammu and Kashmir in the past few weeks over the proposal to create new administrative units with National Conference refusing to budge from its stand in its favour while Congress and some others opposing it.
There were indications that Omar was considering resigning after the State Congress leadership appeared to be stonewalling his cherished scheme of new administrative units ahead of Lok Sabha polls and scheduled Assembly elections in October-November this year. In a question regarding his threat of resignation over the issue, Omar termed the question as hypothetical and said that it is not to look at the method; but the result and the result is going to give the benefit to people. He described the decision. “It is a historic decision taken by the Cabinet. It is a decision taken by the Cabinet after several years through which a large number of people will be benefited” Omar said.
Omar said that the Cabinet has directed Finance and Revenue Departments to prepare a road map for implementation of these new units to benefit the people on the ground. He said that the CSC seeks their opinion on converting Patwar Halqas into Panchayats in the state, which has been forwarded to the finance and revenue ministries for creation of the road map.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the ruling coalition would stay strong till the last day. “The sign is that the coalition is strong and working well. We come up to the difficulties and the hurdles and it is possible that we work together despite difficulties,” Said Omar.
Omar said that both the parties have mandated their respective high commands to decide about the future alliance. “We will accept what they will decide,” Omar said. “But what we see right now is that this coalition will last to the last day.”
Though initially the Congress was locally against the idea, the intervention at the top level led the party to succumb. However, the Congress ended up creating two times more administrative units than Omar expected. Omar admitted that new creations will entail costs. But the costs would be offset by the fast delivery of the services and unburdening the existing units that were overloaded. An apparently obliged Chief Minister thanked Congress favorably talked about the incorporation of 73rd amendment in Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act that was once making the coalition a crisis ridden alliance after many Sarpanches created uproar and disrupt Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit of Jammu. Omar said that the Government is planning to make an amendment in the act during schedule Feb 10, 2014 state Assembly session.
Responding to a question about the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), Omar said 2013 was the first year of the PRIs and it was bad. He said the two remaining tiers have yet to have elections.

“This year when we have two elections, we will have to see how the elections to the remaining two tiers will be conducted,” Omar said and added that the PRIs will be strengthening by 73rd amendment and by other amendments as well.
This is a major shift in the NC policy towards adopting the 73rd constitutional amendments in the Panchayat Raj act. So far the general belief is that it is not required and that J&K may not opt for it for reasons of autonomous exclusivity. But Omar’s positive attitude towards the amendment is the new development on the local bodies’ front.
As per tentative analysis, Jammu Division got 26 new sub divisions and Kashmir got 16, among new Tehsils Jammu had the share of 73 while Kashmir got 54.
In the new CD blocks, 84 were taken by Jammu region and 79 by Kashmir region including Ladakh.
A part from state politics, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while reacting to various political developments blames media for creating hype to some issues out of proportion. In a question on meeting of Dr. Farooq Abdullah with DMK Chief M Karunanidi, Omar Abdullah said that media put the event before public in wrong way and said that media tries to put in a way that his father has plan to join NDA. He said that media must think about the meeting in righteous way. “How you (Media) can say Dr. Abdullah had meet DMK Chief for paying his way to join NDA, his (Dr. Farooq) step might be for strengthening the UPA— he (Dr. Farooq) might have gone there to pursue Karunanidi to join UPA back” said Omar Abdullah. He said that his father had a good relationship with DMK Chief. “DMK chief is like a friend to my father— in fact he is like a father figure to Dr. Abdullah” said Omar. He also refuses to comment on allegation of corruption leveled against him by Aam Admi Party and said that Dr. Abdullah has already issued a statement on this controversy. “I would like to say one thing— if Arvind Kejriwal plans to file his candidate from Kashmir— I would like to inform him to file its candidate, we assure him that his candidate’s election deposits will be forfeited. He also blames the media person for reacting too much to his twitters. He said that he had minimize the use of twitter to twit and discuss state run issues, but added that recently he twitted some twits on national politics including one on Arvind Kejriwal. “You (Media) stop following and using my twits, I will automatically started not to twit” said Omar Abdullah. Reacting on the standoff between India and Pakistan over cross LOC trade, J&K Chief Minister said that it is unfortunate the way Pakistan held our truckers hostage who don’t have the diplomatic immunity. He said that our Government is not release the drug smugglers who had imported drugs. “It is not a matter whether the arrested person belongs from Pakistan— even if he belongs to any other country— we will too treat him in a same way” said Omar Abdullah. He said that the issue is now under the preview of Government of India and it is the Government of India which needs to take care of the issue.

As per the tentative details, the Government has constituted following Tehsils.
Anantnag: 1. Qazigund, 2. Sallar, 3. Mattan, 4. Larnu, 5. Srigufwara, 6. Shahabad Bala (Dooru)
Bandipore: 1. Aloosa, 2. Hajan, 3. Tulail, 4. Ajas
Baramulla: 1. Kunzar, 2. Dangiwacha, 3. Zaingeer, 4. Dangerpora, 5. Khoie,, 6. Watergam, 7. Wahgoora, 8. Karhama
Kulgam: 1. Yaripora, 2. Qaimoh, 3. Frisal, 4. Pohlu
Kupwara: 1. Kralpora, 2. Lolab, 3. Machil, 4. Ramhal, 5. Qaziabad, 6. Trehgam, 7. Langate, 8. Keran, 9. Lalpora, 10. Zachaldara, 11. Drugmulla
Pulwamma: 1. Rajpora, 2. Shahoora, 3. Aribal, 4. Kakpora
Shopian: 1. Keller, 2. Zainpore, 3. Harman, 4. Imam Sahab, 5. Keegam,, 6. Chitragam
Srinagar: 1. South Srinagar, 2. Eidgah,, 3. Khanyar,, 4. Panthachowk,, 5. Chhanpora-Natiporsa
Budgam: 1. Narbal, 2. BK Pora, 3. Magma
Ganderbal: 1. Gund, 2. Wakoora, 3. Tulmulla
Kargil: 1. Drass, 2. Shaker Chikan, 3. Shergol, 4. Taichuru
Leh: 1. Diskit, 2. Durbug, 3. Nyoma,, 4. Saspol, 5. Kharu
Doda: 1. Kastigarh, 2. Gundna,, 3. Marmat, 4. Assar, 5. Bhala, 6. Khra, 7. Bharat Bagla, 8. Chili pingal, 9. Bhagwa, 10. Chiralla, 11. Thiksoo, 12. Mohalla
Jammu: 1. Bahu, 2. Balwal, 3. Chitchora, 4. Dansal, 5. Khour, 6. Mard, 7. Arnia, 8. Suchetgarh, 9. Nagrota, 10. Pargwal, 11. Laira mandrian, 12. Khra Bali, 13. Mandal, 14. Jordian, 15. Jammu north, 16. Jammu south, 17. Jammu west
Kathua: 1. Mahanpur, 2. Ramkote, 3. Lohaie Malhar, 4. Nagri Parol, 5. Ding Amb, 6. Marheen
Kishtwar: 1. Bujwa, 2. Nagsani, 3. Drabshalla, 4. Mughal Maidan, 5. Machail, 6. Dachan, 7. Wadwan
Poonch: 1. Balakote, 2. Mankote
Rajouri: 1. Khass, 2. Manjakote, 3. Taryath, 4. Qilla Sarhal, 5. Seote, 6. Laroka, 7. Beri Pattan
Ramban: 1. Batote, 2. Gool, 3. Pogal Paristan, 4. Khari, 5. Rajgarh
Reasi: 1. Arnas, 2. Bomag, 3. Chasana, 4. Thuroo, 5. Thakrakote
Samba: 1. Badi Brahamna, 2. Gazewal, 3. Ramgarh, 4. Vijapur, 5. Rajpora
Udhampur: 1. Dadu-Basantgarh, 2. Panchari, 3. Latti, 4. Mongri