'Footprints of security forces being reduced in J&K'
Jammu: The presence of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir is being reduced gradually following an improvement in situation in the past few years, Governor NN Vohra on Thursday said, noting that the restoration of normalcy is bringing the state back on the path of development.
Listing out various initiatives taken by the state government, Vohra, in his Budget address to the joint session of state Legislature, said incidents of violence in the state have progressively declined in the past two years.
The 26-day-long Budget session of state Assembly began today with the joint address of the Governor.
"Terror-related incidents have decreased from 188 in 2011 to 118 in 2012, marking a decline of 73 percent", Vohra said.
"Similarly, 31 civilian deaths in 2011 came down to 15 in 2012 and against 33 security personnel who lost their lives in 2011, only 14 were killed in 2012," he said, appreciating the security forces for their efforts in this regard.
"Our police and security forces have exhibited passions and professionalism in discharging their duties in trying circumstances without any faltering in respecting and protecting the rights of people," he said.
On the issue of human rights violations in the state, Vohra said the government is "seriously concerned" on the matter.
He said the state government has lived upto the expectations of the people and every segment of society has benefitted from restoration of peaceful environment.
On tourism, considered to be one of the pillars of state economy, the Governor said in past couple of years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a record influx of both foreign and domestic travellers amid revival of normalcy in the Valley.
While about nine lakh tourists, including 32,000 foreigners, visited the state in 2011, the number of the domestic tourists grew to 12.20 lakh in 2012 with an increase of 16 percent in foreign tourist arrivals, Vohra said.
Similarly, 6.21 lakh persons from different parts of the country undertook Amarnath pilgrimage in 2012 and number of pilgrims paying obeisance at the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi crossed the one crore mark, the Governor added.
During last four years, the Centre sanctioned 79 tourist destination and circuit development projects worth Rs 366.33 crore, and 60 of them have so far been completed, Vohra said in his address.
Referring to the cross-LoC trade started in 2008 as part of the confidence building measures (CBMs), Vohra said to facilitate business activities, permanent infrastructure has been established on fast track basis at Trade Facilitation Centre at Salamabad (Uri), Chakan-Da-Bagh (Poonch).