Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sought an end to the hostilities between India and Pakistan on the borders, saying it is the people of the state who bear the brunt of the skirmishes.
Mehbooba, who was addressing a public meeting at Tangdar sector near the Line of Control (LoC) in Karnah area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, said the recent skirmishes along the border area has led many people to migrate.
“I appeal the leadership of both the countries to work for maintaining peace on the borders. The people of the state have been the worst victims of this hostility which has led to their killing, dislocations and damages to the property on both the sides,” she said.
The chief minister said peace in the state and between the two South Asian countries holds key to the progress and development of the region.
“It is very unfortunate that when people should have been demanding facilities of schools, hospitals, playfields and hospitals, they are seeking construction of bunkers to save them from firepower. It is a point to ponder what have the people achieved from the hostility of 70 years,” she said.
Flagging friendship between India and Pakistan as the only way forward, the chief minister said with peace and cooperation new vistas of progress and development for the people could be opened.
“Given its picturesque beauty, Teetwal and Tanghdar areas could be developed as major tourist spots. This would give the local economy a major fillip like it has given to Ladakh tourism,” she said.
Responding to the local demands, the chief minister said she has already taken up with the Centre the construction of tunnel on the Sadhna pass so that connectivity between Kupwara and Tanghdar regions is kept open throughout the year.
She said the state government has recommended to the Centre grant of scheduled tribe status to members of the Pahari community and she would again take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mehbooba also announced upgradation of the local hospital into a model hospital with all modern diagnostic facilities.
She also announced to start a helicopter service to Tanghdar on the pattern of Gurez and Kishtwar air services.
Mehbooba assured the people of the area that she has a “special affection” for the area given the difficulties, both natural and manmade, they have been living in.
Earlier, the chief minister laid the foundation of several developmental projects valuing around Rs 64 crore in the area.
Mehbooba directed the officers to complete the works within the schedule so that there is no escalation of cost or time.