NC, Cong avert split over admin units

Farooq, Cong leaders act to save alliance

 In the backdrop of rising tensions between coalition partners National Conference and Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, a crucial meeting of the cabinet sub committee was held in Jammu on Wednesday to diffuse the crisis. 

The sub-committee has been formulated to look into the demands of creation of new administrative units in the state, which has become a bone of contention between the alliance parties. 

Official sources said the sub  committee meeting chaired by senior Congress leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand discussed in detail various issues to be taken under consideration while deciding creation of new administrative units in different regions and sub regions of the state.  

Three National Conference ministers Mohammad Akbar Lone, Mir Saifullah and Ajay Sadhotra attended the meeting.

“The meeting decided that regional imbalance, area discrimination particularly in hilly and tough terrains as well as issues left unattended by the Ganai Committee would be taken under deliberation before finalising the report,” said an official.

Final report

The committee is expected to present its final report before the next cabinet meeting scheduled on February 1.

Tara Chand said all the members agreed to accommodate each others’ viewpoint over the issue.

“The sub committee will meet again on January 31 at 11 am in Jammu to give finishing touches to the report,” he added.

Sources said immediately after the meeting Tara Chand flew to the capital to convey details to the Congress high command. 

“After attending the meeting, senior NC leader and Law Minister Mir Saifullah also left for Delhi reportedly to brief party patron Farooq Abdullah,” said the official. The latest meeting, sources said, was held after the intervention of the Congress high command and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah as the five-year-old coalition was on the brink of a split after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah threatened to resign. 

“Farooq asked Omar to continue even as a certain leaders of the NC insisted on quitting the coalition after the Pathribal verdict and Congress’ reluctance to accept the Ganai Committee report on creation of new administrative units,” said the official.

Sources said the matter was resolved after a late evening meeting at the residence of Congress General Secretary and in-charge of the party’s Kashmir affairs, Ambika Soni, on Tuesday. 

Sources said that the sub committee, during its visits across the state, received a demand for creation of 2,133 additional administrative units in addition to the creation of 955 units recommended by the Mushtaq Ganai committee. The state has 2,103 existing administrative units at present.

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