Kashmir’s economic potential should be tapped, interlocutors told

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JAMMU - The three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday got a taste of a traditional Kashmiri breakfast and also a new suggestion - that “economic self-sufficiency” is the way forward for the state.

At a breakfast meeting with the interlocutors, Agriculture Minister and president of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party (Nationalist) Ghulam Hassan Mir said the real solution to Kashmir crisis lies in the economic self-sufficiency of the state.

Journalist Dileep Padganokar, academician Radha Kumar and economist M.M. Ansari, the three interlocutors appointed by the central govenment, were told about the economic potential of Kashmir, including in horticulture, agriculture, minerals, handicrafts, water resources and power generation besides tourism.

The tapping of economic potential would give a new confidence to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they would look for competition in the economic world rather than freezing themselves into the mindset of conflict, lack of opportunities and a shrinking economic base that is adding to the frustration of the youth and they tend to get exploited, Mir told interlocutors.

Once the windows of opportunity open and they have work, they would move away from the paths of violence and agitation, Mir told IANS. This is what I told interlocutors, he said.

Mir said there is a problem, there is a history to it, but the problem has been aggravated by the excessive use of politics and the focus has never been on the economic aspects.

“The political problems’ solution lies in strengthening our economy, he said.

Last year saw unrest in the Kashmir Valley, with over 100 people killed during clashes between stone-pelting protsters and security forces. The interlocutors are speaking to a wide spectrum of people to help solve the crisis.

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