Srinagar: Terming peace a pre-requisite for development, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said maintaining tranquillity and harmony in the state was needed for comprehensive progress on socio-economic and political fronts.
"I am time and again making it clear that political issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir require political addressing. Economic measures have their own importance but these cannot resolve matters of political dimensions," Omar said addressing a public meeting at Mujgund on the outskirts of the city.
Omar said his government is determined to carry forward development process with commitment and facilitate internal and external dialogue processes to ensure peace in the state.
He cautioned people about the designs of vested interests who aim at disturbing peace and law and order situation in the State.
"These elements are bent upon to divide the people and disturb the peaceful situation in the State. You have to remain cautious about their attempts and foil their anti-peace designs," he added.
Omar said 2,000 youth of Srinagar city have been recruited under special recruitment drive by the Police Department.
He said that additional block of Lal Ded Hospital is under construction at Rs 40 crores while new maternity hospital in Srinagar has been approved at a cost of Rs 50 crores.
SKIMS is being provided an amount of Rs 720 crore for its expansion and upgradation besides upgrading and improving hospitals and health centres in Srinagar.
Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the 172-metre double-lane bridge over River Jhelum at Mujgund constructed at a cost of Rs 12.20 crores.
The bridge will provide direct connectivity to National Highway (Srinagar-Bandipora) benefiting about two lakh population residing in the areas of Palpora, Tangpora, Bakshipora, Chochan, Takun and other adjoining areas.
Omar said despite the huge financial constraints his government has enhanced salaries of government employees from Rs 6,000 crores in 2008 to Rs 11,500 crores at present.
"In addition to this, Rs 450 crores of arrears and additional DA installments have already been provided to the government employees," he added questioning the reasonability and rationale behind the protests of employees when his government has all along been employee-friendly.
The Chief Minister said financial affairs of the state can be well imagined where the total annual income is Rs 6,500 crores from all sources and the wage bill alone stands at a hefty Rs 11,500 crores.
Rejecting the allegations of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regarding neglect of Srinagar city, Omar said holistic and equitable development of the State is benchmark of his government.
"Along with other areas, the Srinagar district has received equal focus on development front," he said.
The Chief Minister said during the last three years, 10 new bridges have been sanctioned for Srinagar city including those at Dalgate, Mujgund, Zero bridge, Zainakadal, Vethapora, Palpora, Maulana Azad, Malru and Barbarshah involving an expenditure of about Rs 97 crores.
He said Jahangir Chowk Flyover has been approved at a cost of over Rs 250 crores while works involving about Rs 90 crores are being executed in Srinagar under ERA besides projects involving Rs 122 crores launched for the development of roads, bridges and water supply schemes.