First time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, Government of India is sending 36 Cabinet ministers to the newly carved out J&K Union Territory to spread awareness about the roll-back of Article 370 and to unveil the Centre’s future developmental strategy for the UT.The ministers will conduct review meetings with the concerned deputy commissioners in Jammu and Srinagar from January 18 onwards. According to wire-service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the initiative has been taken by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“Thirty-six Union ministers will visit different districts in both the divisions of the Union Territory starting from January 18 to January 24 and the home ministry is coordinating it,” the sources said. Giving details, the sources said that minister of State for Home G Kishen Reddy has written a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, informing about the visit of the ministers.In his letter, Reddy said that Home Minister Shah has desired that all members of the Union Council of Ministers pay a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, with the objective of disseminating information about the importance of the Centre’s policies for the overall development of the Union Territory and its people along with the steps taken by the government particularly in the past five months after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions and bifurcation of erstwhile state.“There will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar,” sources said. “Union minister Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas of Reasi district on 19 January, while on the same day her cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal will be in Srinagar.”Whereas Reddy will be in Ganderbal on January 22 and Manigam on January 23, Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on January 24. VK Singh is scheduled to visit Tikri in Udhampur on January 20 while Kiren Rijiju will go to Suchetgarh in Jammu on January 21.Similarly Union ministers RK Singh will visit Khellani in Doda district and Shripad Nayak will hold a meeting at SKICC in Srinagar. Besides them, Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Pralhad Joshi, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Jitendra Singh are among the other ministers who will visit different districts during the period.“The schedule for the visit of the ministers will also be discussed and inalized at a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers on January 17,” the sources told KNO.This will be the second round of visit by the Union ministers to Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state on August 5.BJP J&K UT spokesman while welcoming the initiative said that the people would understand development mode of Centre and the benefits of being in a UT as the Cabinet ministers will explain to the people and the district administrations in many districts in Kashmir. “This was the need of the hour,” he said. (KNO)