J&K: Valley Being Spruced up in Full Swing Ahead of G20 Summit Meetings in May
Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have scaled up work on infrastructure projects and are taking security reviews as part of the preparations for the upcoming G20 summit in the union territory.
Top officials from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday were part of a high-level review meeting convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in New Delhi, a first in the two scheduled meetings that will be chaired by Home Secretary A K Bhalla. Another meeting is scheduled on Thursday which is expected to be led by Home Minister Amit Shah. The review meetings are G20 Working Group on Tourism meeting in Srinagar, annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine and tourist season.
The ministry had invited officials from J&K including LG Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary Dr Arun Mehta, Home Secretary RK Goyal, DGP J&K Police Dilbagh Singh and other senior officials to discuss the preparations and security in the region for the meet.
The G-20 summit meetings are most likely to be held in Srinagar between May 22-25. The summer capital is undergoing a grand makeover under the Smart City project as the ongoing developmental projects are linked to the hosting of the grand summit.
These infra projects include repair and building of roads, creation of new parking slots, organised wiring, creation of new cycling tracks and widening of walkways. The deadlines of various works have been advanced to have them completed ahead of a G20 meeting.
The dignitaries will meet in the capital city of Srinagar and are likely to visit the popular tourist destination of Gulmarg. A senior administrative official told NewsClick that they are expecting around 150 dignitaries for the summit for which elaborate security and other “preparations are in full swing”.
“All the preparations will be completed on time especially on parts and routes which the G20 dignitaries will visit or travel through,” the official said. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Vijay Kumar Bidhuri earlier on Tuesday issued directions to executive agencies carrying out these works to complete them within the set timelines.
The summit will be the first major global event in the region after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A on August 5, 2019. Some including the Masarat Alam led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), however, have opposed the move to hold the meet in Kashmir valley. The group issued a statement that included a protest letter addressed to the G20 nations.
“The situation remains tense and volatile. India's decision to host the G20 summit in Jammu and Kashmir without considering the wishes and aspirations of the people is deeply distressing,” the letter read. The statement from the group comes a day after Pakistan also expressed its objection to hold the meetings in the region they consider as “disputed”.
The G20 meeting is happening at a time when the security agencies have claimed that the militancy is at its lowest since it began in the late 1980s. According to Jammu and Kashmir police, there are only 28 or 29 Kashmiri militants active in the region. The militant attacks have also fallen at significantly lower levels.
The officials claimed that it will be maintaining its strong grip on the situation to thwart any misadventure of militant groups during or ahead of the event, particulars of which were part of the review discussion.
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