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6 steps to make Kashmir a better place
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 22, 2006 20:56 IST
A study initiated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said growth and poverty are the key issues that need to addressed to make Jammu and Kashmir a better state.
The chairman of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Development of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr C Rangarajan, submitted the report to Dr Singh on Friday.
The committee has stressed the need for quick and speedy implementation of its findings keeping in mind the state's historical, institutional and political situation.
Dr Singh constituted the task force in March 2005.
In its report, the committee has listed six objectives. They are: reconstruction and maintenance of existing physical assets, investment in physical infrastructure -- power and roads, investment in social infrastructure, a conducive environment to attract private investments, balanced regional development and comprehensive fiscal adjustment.
It recommended that the major power projects -- the 390 MW Dulahsti hydroelectric project and the 1020 MW Bursar Storage Scheme -- be transferred to the state administration from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.
The Task Force has also suggested a satellite city around Srinagar to decongest the state capital, which of late has been experiencing heavy traffic and high levels of pollution.
It said the Srinagar airport needed to be modernised and emphasised on the need to complete the rail project in the state at the earliest.
The Task Force identified tourism and horticulture development as the engines of growth for Kashmir.
'Although tourism is picking up, it has yet to reach the pre-militancy levels. The tourism sector's strategy should be to improve the existing infrastructure in a short term and expand the tourist infrastructure in the medium term,' the report said.
On initiatives that need to be taken to boost tourism in the state, the committee noted that there was an urgent need to provide tented accommodation till regular hotel infrastructure can be created.
It also said that existing houseboats, hotels and shikaras need to be renovated and more constructed.