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Omar kicks off mass contact at terrorism's transit point

July 26, 2010 18:09 IST
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday kickstarted his 'meet the public' programme in which he talked to a cross-section of people in Kangan and made on-the-spot decisions including developing Sonamarg as an all-year tourist destination.

Accompanied by a host of bureaucrats, Omar arrived in Kangan and spoke to the local people, enquiring about the difficulties being faced by them.

The chief minister had announced recently that he would begin 'Awami Mulaqat' series of meetings with the general public at sub-division level and began with Kangan, an assembly constituency which sees the highest voter turnout but is notorious for being a transit area for terrorists coming from north Kashmir to central and southern parts of the valley.

The state has been witnessing unrest spearheaded by hardline separatists.

Omar assured the people that though the state was passing through a difficult phase, this would be overcome by the dedication of the people. "I want every citizen to have a vested interest in peace and development," he said.

He faced several questions ranging from lack of a playground for children and a college to developing Sonamarg as a tourist destination which can be accessed throughout the year.

Omar assured the people of Kangan that he had taken up the issue of construction of a tunnel from Gangan Gir to Sonamarg so that the area receives tourists all through the year. Generally the area, which is famous for its glaciers and trout fish farm, remains cut off during winter due to heavy snowfall.

The chief minister said his government will take urgent steps to meet this demand of the people which would help them in receiving tourists even during the winters.

People also spoke about a small tribe of Pakhtoons in the area and demanded the status of Other Backward Classes for them.

Omar also reviewed the work on a bridge which will connect nearly 10,000 people of a village to the main town.

The citizens of the area also demanded the setting up of more educational institutes, especially for girls.

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