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J&K gets over special state tag, gears up to attract investors

IANS | January 18, 2022 12:48 PM

NEW DELHI: The historic Real Estate Summit organised by Jammu and Kashmir Government in the last week of December, 2021 in Jammu, opened up the Union Territory for the investors from across the country.

The summit was held with the broader goals of ensuring economic prosperity, employment opportunities and financial strengthening of the local business groups. It witnessed investment agreements to the tune of Rs 18, 300 crore.

It's for the first time in the past 70-years that J&K has received such huge investment proposals. Till August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and divided it into two Union Territories -- no outsider was eligible to invest in J&K due to it being a so-called special state.

The special state tag deprived J&K of benefits and the opportunities for seven decades. But during the past two years things have changed as the erstwhile princely state has started welcoming the investors with open arms and mind.

The J&K is all set to transform into a vibrant industrial ecosystem, which in the coming years would house the offices of big companies as the Union Territory is all set to receive massive investment. Opportunities have already started knocking at the doors of common citizens and they are out to grab these.

Development holds the key to transform the lives of people. The present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir has embarked on a mission to take the Union Territory to new heights and improve the living standards of a common man. The decisions that are being taken are aimed at bringing J&K at par with the other parts of the country.

The Real Estate Summit in Jammu was held to send a message that any Indian citizen can buy land in J&K. In the summit 39 MoUs were signed. These included investments in the residential, commercial, infrastructure and film sectors. The next such summitis slated to be held in Srinagar in May this year.

Kashmir-based political parties cornered

The Real Estate Summit triggered sharp reactions from the Kashmir-based political parties. These formations termed it as a move to "put up the Union Territory for sale". These parties claimed that J&Ks special status was "illegally revoked to dehumanise, dispossess & disempower the only Muslim majority state in India and to change its demography".

It's unfortunate that the traditional politicians tried to give a communal colour to a sincere move envisaged to empower the common people of J&K. Attracting investors to a place which did not witness any development for the past 70-years is not putting it up for sale. Nor is it a move to disempower or dispossess the people. These parties were a part of power politics since 1947 but they never made an attempt to integrate J&K with rest of the country. They are unable to digest the fact that the Himalayan region is witnessing an unprecedented development in all the spheres.

The separatists sold illusions and dreams and kept on telling the people that would get so-called 'Azadi', while the mainstream politicians despite enjoying all the privileges and benefits kept on harping about Kashmir being a problem.

The Centre's decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir has solved all the problems once for all and has put the Union Territory on the path of peace, prosperity and development. The leaders who despite getting multiple chances to do the same are finding it hard to acknowledge that J&K is transforming from a separatist state into a super state.

The leaders who are still opposing the development should understand that when they were in power they should have focused on creating opportunities for a common man rather than raising the issues which didn't fall in their domain.

J&K's special status is history and it won't comeback. Denizens of the Union Territory have endorsed the Centre's August 5, 2019, decision and are happy as their sufferings have been mitigated during the past two years.

Outsiders willing to invest

The investment proposals received by the J&K Government are an indication that outsiders are willing to invest in Jammu and Kashmir as they see the UT as a place having a tremendous potential. Besides the national investors, foreigners too are showing interest to set up ventures in J&K. Well known business groups at the Dubai Expo at the beginning this year inked Memorandums of Understanding worth Rs 17, 000 crore with the J&K government.

National and multi-national companies coming forward to invest in the Himalayan region is good news for the people of J&K. The efforts of the Central and UT governments are paying the dividends. The place which was out of bounds for any kind of investment for the past seven decades has started attracting big players and once they are in, it would create a plethora of opportunities for a common man in J&K.

Grapes are sour

The ones who are criticising the government moves are "finding the grapes sour" as they had not even imagined that Jammu and Kashmir would change so fast and pace of development will bury all the so-called issues associated with Kashmir. They have been left with nothing to sell. Sooner or later the politicians will have to approach people to seek votes as the UT cannot remain without a legislative assembly for long. The ones who are claiming that they will get everything back have understood that no one in J&K wants anything back. The common man has realized that the so-called special status kept him deprived of benefits and opportunities for 70 years. And the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done a big favour to the people of J&K by revoking the Article 370 -- temporary provision of the Indian Constitution.

The Union Territory has got the wings and has already started flying. New investments in vital sectors will make the J&K people rich and put the erstwhile princely state in a position to compete with the world. The welcome change in J&K is hurting only that section of people, who till August 5, 2019, were treated as VIPs, the common man has realized that he was misled by the ones who projected themselves as the "saviours and protectors" of his rights. He seems least interested in the slogans being raised by the disgruntled politicians as the common man has realized that the future lies in development and not slogans.

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