Top officials from UT, MHA attend meeting
JAMMU, August 23: Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a high-level review of security situation and development works in Jammu and Kashmir, in New Delhi amid reports that some of the companies of paramilitary forces sent here for ensuring smooth annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine could stay back here for conduct of elections to Urban Local bodies (ULBs) and Panchayats in October-November this year.
“A series of issues figured in the meeting as this was first such review of security scenario and development projects in Jammu and Kashmir by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs after start of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage on July 1,” official sources told the Excelsior.
Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) RK Goyal, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, Special DGP CID Rashmi Ranjan Swain besides senior MHA officers Incharge Jammu and Kashmir attended over two-hour long meeting.
Sources said ongoing development works in Jammu and Kashmir especially those under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Prime Minister’s Development Plan (PMDP) came under review.
“Now, work on majority of the projects is proceeding smoothly and they will meet deadlines preventing any scope of cost escalations,” they said.
Various aspects of security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir including situation in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region is also reported to have come up for detailed review at the meeting.
“Shri Amarnath Ji annual pilgrimage is about to complete peacefully and smoothly despite longest duration of 62 days. Other pilgrimages including Shri Budda Amarnath Ji and Machail Mata are also progressing normally with tight security arrangements made by police and paramilitary forces,” the sources said.
Situation on anti-militancy front has been normal in Kashmir with several top militant commanders eliminated and many others arrested. Infiltration is also at its lowest, they said, adding there has been no law and order incident in the Valley this summer.
However, as far as situation in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch is concerned, many infiltration attempts have been thwarted and six militants have also been killed in the hinterland.
Focus will remain very high on the twin border districts in view of reports that three to four militants groups are still active in the border districts, sources pointed out.
The Central and J&K UT Governments, sources said, want adequate security arrangements right up to grassroots level to ensure peaceful elections as the Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats are completing their five-year term in next couple of months and there were reports that elections to them might be held in October-November.
Sources said that some paramilitary forces deployed for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage might stay here for smooth conduct of Municipal and Panchayat polls.
The Home Ministry had deployed nearly 400 additional paramilitary companies in Jammu and Kashmir for ensuring peaceful 62-day long pilgrimage to Shri Amarnath Ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas which will culminate on August 31 with darshan of pious Chhari Mubarak.
Panchayat elections were held in November-December 2018 after several decades in Jammu and Kashmir. The Block Development Council elections were held almost an year later while the District Development Council polls were conducted in December 2020.
In 2018, the Urban Local Bodies elections were held in October followed by Panchayat polls. This year also, the Municipal elections can be held before the Panchayat polls.
ULB elections in 2018 were held on party basis.(By Daily Excelsior)