The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta chaired a high-level meeting to review the progress of district plans besides ensuing visit of Union Ministers to Jammu and Kashmir.

Administrative Secretaries of departments of Finance, Health & Medical Education, Forest, Ecology & Environment, Industries & Commerce, Youth Services & Sports, School Education, Tribal Affairs, Tourism, besides Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu, and all Deputy Commissioners participated in the meeting.

At the outset, it was informed that as a part of the Government of India’s focussed attention on the development of Jammu and Kashmir, an outreach programme of Union Ministers will commence from 9th September 2021. As such, about 70 Union Ministers may be visiting the Union territory and reviewing various developmental works, besides, interacting with stakeholders over a period of 9 weeks.

The Deputy Commissioners were directed to make arrangements for interactions of the visiting Ministers with members of PRIs/ULBs, various associations, self-help groups, youth clubs, and general public. Besides, they were also asked to include visits to iconic heritage sites and cultural programmes under ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in the tour plan.

The Chief Secretary directed the Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners to submit district-wise progress of works identified during the ‘Back to Village’ programmes in addition to the achievements under district plans for appraisal of the visiting ministers. It was further directed that brief notes on various issues, bottlenecks, achievements and future strategies be also provided to the VIPs during the tour.

Dr. Mehta also reviewed the progress under district plans and observed that the Government has recently announced various initiatives to address bottlenecks in the execution of projects.

The Chief Secretary was apprised about the current status of district-wise tendered works. Showing concern on the slow pace of progress in a few districts, the Chief Secretary directed expeditious tendering of identified works and cautioned against any further delay keeping in consideration the limited working season in Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, directions were also issued to the senior functionaries for immediate resolution of any residual issue related to tendering of works including consequential orders on delegation of powers.

The Chief Secretary also reviewed the implementation of the Forest Rights Act. District administrations were asked to process the cases for vesting of rights on Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers in a time-bound manner. They were also directed to take up conservation of water bodies for implementing directions of the National Green Tribunal.

Regarding the iconic week celebration under ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ from 23rd -29th October 2021, the Chief Secretary directed the district administrations to ensure maximum participation in various cultural activities and mega-events being organized under the aegis of Culture Department.

It was informed that in response to various representations from education institutions quoting improved COVID situation, the Government has allowed reopening of schools and resumption of classroom teaching for 10th and 12th students on half the capacity. The Health Department was asked to regularly conduct RAT tests of school-going children. The School Education Department was asked to remain vigilant to any signs of infection and its spread in schools.

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