Terming the Government`s announcement of sanctioning Degree College at Ramkote in Billawar a Baisakhi gift to the students residing in remote areas, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh said the present dispensation has sanctioned 6 new degree colleges for Jammu Division which will fulfil the aspirations of students living in remote areas.Dr Singh said this during a public meeting held today at Ramkote where large number of people gathered to express their gratitude towards the Government`s decision to provide Degree College to the area which will serve the interest of students living in remote villages.Dy CM informed the gathering that the sanctioned degree college will function in make-shift accommodation from ensuing session 2018-19 till permanent structure for the college gets raised. He said earlier there was only one degree college in Billawar and the students from remote and backward areas were unable to avail the benefits of higher education but with the upcoming Degree College at Ramkote, students will reap the benefits of higher education.Earlier, the Dy CM inaugurated historic Baisakhi Festival at Billawar and conveyed his greetings to all who were present during the Baisakhi celebrations.Underscoring the need to revive age old festival celebrations at historic places, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh said Baisakhi is an important festival of the region and all sections of society join together in the festivities.Describing historical importance of Billawar town, the Deputy Chief Minister said reference of the town is found in several historical chronicle of the sub-continent and the region has vast tourism potential for which efforts would be intensified to explore the potential to its fullest.He directed ADC Billawar to raise the benchmark of this Baisakhi celebration so that it becomes a major tourist attraction and people from not only Billawar but from other states will come to become part of these annual celebrations. He also announced a 10 MVA transformer for the village.On the occasion Birth of 200 girl children was also celebrated by giving them account passbook under Laadli Beti Yojana by the Dy CM who encouraged all the stakeholders to celebrate the birth of girl child in their home.He further said that in contemporary times, male and female child have equal potential and it is up to us how we explore their qualities.Stalls of different government departments were also installed at the festival site showcasing their working, schemes and programmes.
Dr Singh inspected all the stalls and handed over keys of subsidized tractor and other Agri Machinery to the beneficiaries.Speaking on the occasion, Dy CM said that State government is keen to develop the areas of religious and tourist importance, for which several projects have been undertaken.He said during the past 3 years Rs. 10 Crore has been spent on augmenting PDD infra in Billawar, roads worth Rs. 58 Crore under CRF were kick started, Rs. 30 Crore have been spent by PWD(R & B) department to strengthen the road network, bridges worth Rs. 55 Crore and roads amounting to Rs. 201 Crore under PMGSY along with several other projects will make Billawar a model constituency and help in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the people.Dr Singh stated that sincere effort will be made to make the Baisakhi Mela and other cultural fest a regular and important feature on the state culture calendar and directed the officers of Tourism department to bring the Baisakhi Mela under the ambit of Tourism department as it will help in resuscitating tourism.An impressive cultural programme comprising of Dogri folk songs and dances by the local artist remained key attraction of the Mela which was organized by the Billawar Administration along with District Employment Centre Kathua.Vice-Chairman, J&K State Advisory Board for Development of Kissans, Daljeet Singh Chib congratulated the people on the occasion of Baisakhi. He said people of Billawar have maintained and shown communal harmony during the adversities, which pave a way for congenial atmosphere of development. He appreciated the organizing committee for putting hard efforts to make this magnificent Mela a grand success.He assured the people that Billawar, Bani and Basohli will be developed as big tourist hub in coming times adding that the scenic beauty of this area has no match which needs to be explored further and announced Rs. 50000 for Baisakhi Celebrations.Among others, ADC Billawar, Joginder Singh Rai, CEO Kathua, Nirmal Choudhary, Dy Dir. DECC, D C Bhatti, BDOs, Tehsildars, XENs, social activist Mamta Singh and other district officers and people in large numbers were present during the Baisakhi Mela.