National Conference Provincial President and MLA Nagrota Devender Singh Rana on Wednesday reiterated the demand for rollback of 12.5 per cent service tax on helicopter operations to Shri Mata Viashno Devi Cave Shrine, saying the arbitrary measure is not only an additional burden on the pilgrims but also a deliberate attempt to jeopardize local economy.“Promotion of pilgrim tourism has potential to give boost to the local economy and instead of incentivising the inflow of devotees from various parts of the country, the PDP-BJP government is creating roadblocks”, Rana said while launching and inaugurating several development projects in the Nagrota Assembly Constituency.He said that the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage has sustained the economy of Jammu region during most turbulent times when tourist inflow had almost come to grinding halt in early nineties due to disturbed conditions across the state, especially the Kashmir Valley. “The pilgrim tourism continues to be a big source of economic sustenance for the people of the region and therefore every effort is needed to be made give a big fillip to it”, he said adding that roll back of the service tax will be a right step towards ensuring increased pilgrimage.
Rana blamed the coalition government for ignoring popular aspirations of the people and described insistence on levying the service tax as a sign of arrogance. He said the government has failed on all fronts and igniting passions was only a diversionary tactics to hide its failures.The MLA Nagrota inaugurated a foot-bridge at Khetriyan in Nadore Panchayat, laid the foundation stone Sulabh Swachaliya at Dansal tehsil headquarters and launched construction of lanes and drains in Bhatyari Panchayat. He also inspected the site for pumping station Kishenpur for which Rs 20 lakhs stand already disbursed out of the Constituency Development Fund.Reiterating that development of Nagrota constituency remains his only mission in the coming years; Rana said he will pursue vigorously the implementation of approved projects by the executing agencies. He said he is focused on the phased development of the constituency and expressed his gratitude to the people for their continued support in achieving the developmental agenda.Rana referred to the earlier efforts made in different sectors in the constituency and said much more is required to be done.
He said his vision to transform the constituency as a modern and vibrant extension of the capital city remains unflinching. He said the area being strategically located on the National Highway has a huge potential for development as an economic and residential hub of the region.In this context, he referred to several initiatives taken during the Omar Abdullah led government and said the infrastructural development in terms of golf course at Sidhra and the various other development projects stand testimony to the efforts to transform the entire area.The MLA Nagrota hoped that the people will continue to give their feed-back with regard to the pace of various works and help in fixing priorities for most needed projects in the constituency.Those who accompanied Rana during his visit to the constituency included senior National Conference leader Som Nath Khajuria, Sarpanch Rameshwar Dutt, Subash Singh, Ch. Rehmat Ali, Mohammad Sadiq, Mohan Lal, Khurshaid Ali, Saraj Din, Pritam Singh, Joginder Singh, Asa Ram, Ashwani Kumar, Seshu, Ch. Noor Ali, Krishori Lal Sharma, ex-Sarpanch, Haji Rafiq, Gulail Singh, Kartar Singh, Mohammad Salim, Niab Sarpanch, Rameshwar Singh, Thakur Dass, Sachdev Singh, Kamla Badyal, Choudhary Ikahlq , Shakeel Ahmad, Omkar Singh, Rajinder Singh, Natti, Sher Ali besides Panches and other prominent persons of the areas. (KNS)