Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday welcomed resumption of talks between India and Pakistan and said dialogue was the only platform to address issues and find an amicable solution to problems.
"Gun has never been and will never be the answer to the problems," Omar said after inaugurating a bridge on Sukhnag at Arizal, 40 kms from Srinagar in Budgam district.
However, he said talks between the two countries should be put on fast-track. The Chief Minister said his government would take initiative for resumption of internal talks between the Centre and the separatists so that all issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir could be addressed.
"Strengthening of both external and internal channels of talks to achieve permanent peace and tranquillity in the subcontinent is the need of the hour", he said and called for a sustained dialogue in this regard.
Omar said everyone wants to get rid of the gun culture and live in a conducive and peaceful atmosphere, adding Pakistan itself is presently facing the atrocities due to this.
The CM asserted that local police will gradually take over prime responsibility of maintaining law-and-order in the state, replacing paramilitary forces from this duty.
However, he did not set a time frame for such an exercise. "This has already been discussed with the Union Home
Minister, during his recent visit to the state and he has also given clear indication in this regard," the Omar said.
Referring to development of far-flung areas of the state, he said his government has flagged this sector as a priority one and measures are afoot to bring about a healthy change in the development scenario in rural areas.
"Fortunately we have two former chief ministers of the state, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, holding important portfolios of Central ministries. One can revolutionise our health sector and the other can tap our state's energy sector by providing power projects up to 25 MWs in rural areas," he said.
The CM said the state government is working with the Union Health Ministry on a proposal to double the staff in rural areas having difficult terrain. The doctors and paramedical staff posted there would be provided remunerative incentives including payment of allowances which would almost double their salaries.