The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a lieutenant governor and a 107-member assembly, which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise
Twenty-four seats of the assembly will continue to remain vacant as the seats fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
NEW DELHI :
As Kashmir entered the third week of a clampdown, the Union home ministry on Tuesday took stock of how the region would proceed politically and administratively, with the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act set to take effect on 31 October.
While the region has been grappling with a curfew, a communication shutdown and a heavy security blanket since Article 370 was read down, the Centre has now started preparing for administrative changes when the Reorganization Act takes effect in the two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a lieutenant governor and a 107-member assembly, which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise. Twenty-four seats of the assembly will continue to remain vacant as the seats fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The meeting, chaired by home secretary A.K. Bhalla, was also attended by additional secretary (Jammu and Kashmir division) Gyanesh Kumar.
“A meeting was held with various departments to assess the implementation of central schemes in Jammu and Kashmir, and the steps to be taken to ensure normalcy is restored," said a senior home ministry official, seeking anonymity.
Meanwhile, minister of minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said a team from his department is on a two-day visit to Srinagar to assess the ground reality for the Centre to start development of the region.
He said another team will soon visit Jammu, Leh and Kargil to assess the situation and undertake a preliminary study on the feasibility of various development projects that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is set to lay out in the region, as part of its reintegration initiative.
At the same time, the Centre has been taking a closer look at the political detentions across J&K in the last three weeks. An official familiar with the matter said the Centre is “deciding on what to do with the detainees" before 31 October.
“Over the last one week, there is significant improvement in attendance of teaching staff (in primary and middle schools), we are making our best efforts to improve attendance of students and it is gradually improving," the J&K administration said on Tuesday. It also confirmed that high schools will reopen on Wednesday in some parts of the valley where curfew has been eased. Nearly 4,000 people have been detained across J&K, including former state chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Around 150 detainees have been booked under the Public Safety Act, while the rest under other state laws.
“Many of these detainees, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, have been kept out of the state. It is yet to be decided on how they will be handled," said the official cited above. Local media reports from the valley said that even as the curfew remains stringently imposed and communication is blocked, the ongoing situation has led to a shortage of medicines and other essential supplies. However, this has been vehemently denied, with the home ministry terming them as “baseless".
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