In the backdrop of alleged targeted killings of minorities and the subsequent crackdown on militants, Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha said the new administration had changed “regressive” laws to boost the economy in the union territory, especially concerning farmers.
In an exclusive interview to Anand Narasimhan, managing editor in CNN-News18, Sinha said the figures were proof of development in the UT since the abrogation of article 370 two years ago. He gave the example of saffron farming in Kashmir.
“We have achieved the target of doubling the income of farmers here. They earn three times now. Earlier, permission had to be taken from the revenue minister to apply for small things. We changed it. There was also a law that farmers who had less than four kanals were not allowed to do plantation. We ended that as well. We have changed many regressive laws, which were against farmers,” the L-G said.
Sinha further said the administration had introduced high density plantation that had improved the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. “We gave compensation to farmers who suffered losses during floods,” he added.
Talking about other social indicators, he said child death ratio in the Valley had also improved by leaps and bounds. “In 2015-16, child death ratio was 23.1 per cent. We have reduced it to 9.5% in 2020,” he added.
The Narendra Modi-led government allotted Rs 46,900 crore for roads, and that was reflecting in the density of national highways is now about 2200 km, Sinha said. “Back in 2014, it wasn’t as much even after including Ladakh. There used to be seven national highways, including Ladakh. Now there are 11, excluding Ladakh. The PM allotted Rs 46,900 crore in the road sector,” he added.
In September, the road transport ministry had announced that Jammu and Kashmir was soon to get all-weather road connectivity with some traffic flow being possible as early as this winter. This will be possible due to the key strategic Zoji La tunnel project, which will help with the development of J&K as well as Ladakh.
At present, connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil is cut off by road for at least six months due to intense snowfall on the Zoji La pass, 15 km from Sonamarg. After the construction of the tunnel, distance between Srinagar and Ladakh will not only be reduced from 40 km to 13 km from Baltal to Minamarg, but it will also reduce travel time by 90 minutes.