Proceedings of Legislative Assembly on 19th Feb.

66

Question Hour in LA
Rs. 44.52 cr Sopore Mini Secretariat project under consideration, land identified: Ajaz
JAMMU : Minister of State for Revenue, Mr. Ajaz Ahmed Khan today informed the House that for construction of Mini Secretariat at Sopore a detailed project report of Rs.44.52 crore has been submitted to Planning and Development Department for approval by District Development Commissioner, Baramulla, adding that further action in the matter would be taken once the DPR is approved and funds are earmarked.
Replying to a question by Haji Mohammad Ashraf, the Minister informed that 62 kanals of land have been identified in the estate Baghat(Cooperative Bagh) Sopore for construction of Mini Secretariat and same land would be acquired after DPR is approved.
Production of 9000 MWs power during 12th, 13th Plan envisaged: Vikar
178 habitations covered under RGGVY in Darhal
Minister of State for Power, Mr. Vikar Rasool today informed the House that for expeditious development of hydro-electric power projects, the Government has laid down an implementation frame work for hydel projects in the State in various modes.
Replying to a question by Ch. Zulfikar Ali, Mr. Vikar said that the J&K State Hydro-Electric Projects Development Policy 2011 has been notified to encourage private sector participation. He said with the implementation of the policy, a road map envisaging addition of around 9000 MWs during the 12th and 13th Plan has been drawn up to increase the generation capacity. He said this comprises 14 projects in State sector with capacity of 6250 MW(including 3CVPPPL projects of 2220 MWs ), five projects in Central sector of 1679 MWs capacity and 38 IPP projects of 1226 MW capacity.
The Minister said that 200 habitations would be provided electricity in Darhal Constituency under RGGVY, adding that the power works in 178 habitations in the constituency have been completed and the augmentation of one receiving station from 3.15 MVA to 6.3 MVA has been completed in the area.
He said a power tariff of Rs. 14.19 crore have been realized against power expenditure of Rs. 36.68 crore in the Darhal constituency during last fiscal and department has noticed 57.40% transmission and distribution losses in the area.
The Minister said that State Level Standing Committee has recommended all districts of the State to the Center for approval and sanctioned of RGGVY-II for upgradation of power infrastructure.
Dr. Shafi Ahmed Wani raised supplementary and demanded upgradation of power infrastructure in Beerwa under RGGVY.
Rs. 3.97 cr expended on horticulture in Poonch: Bhalla
Minister for Horticulture, Housing and Culture, Mr. Raman Bhalla informed the House that funds to the tune of Rs. 4.07 crore has been released for development of horticulture in Poonch district during last two fiscals under Center and State sponsored schemes, adding that against which Rs. 3.97 crore has been expended on different horticulture activities in the district during the said period.
Replying to a question by Mr. Aijaz Ahmed Jan, the Minister informed that development of fruit and vegetable market at Poonch would be completed within two years. He said the development works of Apni Mandi at Mandi are almost completed.
The Minister said that an amount of Rs. 19.80 lakh has been provided as subsidy for purchase of tractors to 23 beneficiaries of the district.
Mr. A. R. Veeri and Mr. M. Y Tarigami raised supplementaries and demanded development of horticulture by the strict implementation of different schemes for overall benefit of fruit growers.
196 hectares covered under command area project in Sangrama: Mir
Rs. 56.71 cr Ningli-Amargarh project under consideration
Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir today informed the House that at present 196 hectares of land in 10 villages including Tangwari Balla, Tangwari Pyeen, Kalantra Balla, Burzoowachan, Shiekhpora, Kalantra Payeen, Kakowthal, Moongam Harshnov, Kawachak and Durhama of Sangrama Constituency are covered under Ferozpora-Tangmarg command area development project and so far 50 hectares of land have been covered by expending Rs. 8.90 lakh in these villages.
Replying to a question of Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari raised by Peerzada Mansoor Hussain in the house, the Minister said that another Ningli-Amargarh project for Rs. 56.71 crore has been formulated recently and is under active consideration of State and Central Governments for implementation.
The Agriculture Minister informed that since 2009, 13 projects including Ranbir Canal, Doda, Rajouri, Gool Sanghaldan, New Partap Canal, Ahaji Beerwah, Ferozpora-Tangmarg, Tongri Canal, Sonawari, Ganderbal, Vaishow, Uri, Narvaw and Kargil under command area development have been taken up in the State.
Rs.259.45 cr earned from hoarding in Srinagar, Jammu cities: Jora
Replying to a question by Mr. Yashpual Kundal, Minister for Urban Development and Urban Local Bodies, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora informed the House that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation privatized the hoardings in Srinagar city in 2006 and since then the corporation has earned revenue of Rs. 4.43 crore. He said the Jammu Municipal corporation has given the advertisement rights of hoardings to M/S Selvel Media Services Private Limited for advertising within municipal limits after charging the requisite license fee which has been to the tune of Rs. 255.02 crore during the last two years.
Mr. Harsh Dev Singh raised supplementary to the question.

 

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House passes grants of Agri, Hotri, Flori Deptts

Seed replacement ratio increased, apple, cherry, mango brought under crop insurance: Mir

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          Jammu: Maintaining that agriculture is one of the vital sectors responsible for State’s economy, Minister for Agriculture Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir has said that Government has accorded focused attention to further strengthen this sector by evolving new and innovative measures. For this purpose he said the Government has earmarked a whooping Rs. 100 crore for various agricultural projects under NABARD.

The Minister was replying to the Demand of Grants of Agriculture Production, Horticulture, and Floriculture Departments in the Legislative Assembly today.

The Minister said that enhancing production and productivity of food grains is the thrust area for the Government to make the State self-reliant and several measures have been taken by the Government in this regard. He said seed replacement has been given special impetus so that the Government can provide quality seeds to the farmers, adding that the seed replacement rate which was earlier as minimal as 10 per cent has become more than the national average for wheat and oats, whileas for rice the seed replacement rate has increased to more than 25 per cent. The step is aimed to increase the productivity and to make the State self reliant in food items, he added.

To make the agriculture sector more profitable and attractive for the youth of the State, the Minister said that efforts have already been made for mechanization in the sector to woo youth to adopt this sector as a profession. He said the younger generation is shying away from this profession and are mostly choosing the Government jobs, but agriculture is the richest sector which can bring more prosperity for the youth and they can contribute to the State in improving the economy as well. The advanced mechanization in agriculture and diversification of crops will be made another thrust area and farmers will be educated to adopt cash crops, he said.

Owing to the importance of this sector, the Minister said in the history of State agriculture, this sector has been kept totally tax free to facilitate the farmers community to infuse technological innovations for enhancing productivity. The Government has also taken important measures for making easy agriculture credit facility to the farmers at low interest rate at the time of need, he said and added that 4 lakh Kissan Credit Cards (KCCs) have been issued and an amount of Rs. 1300 crore has been disbursed among the KCC holders during the current fiscal.

Highlighting the importance of Saffron, the Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is the only State in the country which produces this precious commodity and to promote this sector the Government has launched an exclusive National Saffron Mission with an objective to introduce latest agriculture techniques for enhancing its quality production and marketability. This has helped the saffron growers to bring more areas under Saffron cultivation.

On the development of horticulture sector, the Minister said that several initiatives have been taken by the Government during the past couple of years. He said to handle the post harvesting management; the Government has increased the cold storage capacity for the fresh fruits in the State. With the help of private players 20,000 tonnes capacity CA Store has been developed for the facility of fruit growers he said adding main fruit and vegetable markets have been upgraded with modern facilities.

On Crop Insurance, the Minister said that Government is keen to bring all important crops under the insurance cover to safeguard the interests of farmers. The Government has succeeded to bring three fruit crops namely, apple, cherry and mango under the Insurance cover on pilot basis. This will be great help to the farmers, said the Minister.

Mr. Mir said Floriculture is also one of the main components of State’s economy and Government has given special thrust to promote this sector on commercial lines. During the past some years the State has produced large variety of quality flowers and met the domestic requirement, besides supplied to the other States. He said the Government provides handsome subsidy to the farmers to promote floriculture and there is tremendous response, said the Minister.

The Minister further said that Sericulture and Agro Industries have also shown upward trends during the past some years. The Government has taken several steps to improve their functioning as well.

Listing the achievements of Sericulture Department, the Minister said during the year 2008-09 the Department’s total turnover was Rs. 4 crore, but this rose to Rs. 20 crore during the previous fiscal. The Government has also fixed the support price of cocoon at Rs. 500 per kg as against Rs. 200 per kg. During the past some years, the people have shown great interest in this sector and more and more beneficiaries are approaching the department for availing the benefits he added.

Earlier, the Minister moved a Demand for Grant of a sum of Rs.1224.03 crore to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2015for the departments under his charge.

21 Members took part in discussion on demand of grants including Prof. Gharu Ram Bhagat, Mr. Mohammad Sharief Niaz, Mr. Rachpal Singh, Mr. A. R. Veeri, Hakeem Yaseen, Mr. Harshdev Singh, Mrs. Indu Pawar, Mr. Charanjit Singh, Mr. Abdul Razak Zawoora, Mr. M. Y. Tarigami, Mr. Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Mr. Mohammad Irfan Shah, Dr.Shafi Ahmad Wani, Mr Sukh Nandan Kumar, Mr. T. Namgyal, Syed Bashir Ahmad, Er. Abdul Rashid, Mr. Ashok Kumar, Mr. Abdul Gani Malik, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain and Mr. Balwant Singh Mankotia.

Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.

The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.

 

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House passes grants of Animal & Sheep Husbandry Deptts

2 Liquid Nitrogen plants being set, 28000 animals to be insured: Gurezi

JAMMU – Minister of State for Animal and Sheep Husbandry, Mr. Nazir Ahmad Gurezi today said that keeping in view the primary importance of livestock in the State’s economy, the Government has rolled out a comprehensive policy with focus on genetic up-gradation of indigenous livestock.

The Minister was replying to the discussion on the Demand of Grants for the Departments of Animal and Sheep Husbandry in Legislative Assembly today.

The Minister said that the contribution of late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah will be remembered for ever for the vision he had for strengthening and creating infrastructure under Animal and Sheep sectors.

Listing the achievements registered during the last fiscal, the Minister informed that two Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) Plants have been approved for the State, one each at Jammu and Kashmir. He said this will minimize expenditure on the import of liquid nitrogen and save public exchequer. He said 19th livestock census and breed survey has now been completed in the State, adding that a target of 28000 animals has been fixed to be brought under Livestock Insurance Scheme (LIS).

The Minister said that Artificial Insemination registered increase of 67% from 2007-08 to 2012-13 and corresponding increase of 48% in the induction of Cross breed calves annually from 2007-2008. He said this translates to induction of 1.18 lakh CB female calves on an average annually. The Milk production in the State has crossed 20 lakh MTs annually, ending 2012-13 as against 15.48 lakh MT in 2007-08.

Mr. Gurezi said that due to the sustained efforts of the Government there is an increase in last five years of 37% in production of day old chicks in Government hatcheries. He said National Animal Disease Reporting System has been launched at district, division and State level with a Central Monitoring Unit for prompt reporting and feedback through 158 nodes adding that this will ensure online reporting of diseases.

Referring to employment generation, the Minister said that the Department has introduced various employment generation schemes like Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS), Venture Capital Fund Scheme for Poultry Development, Establishment of Sheep and Goat units under National Mission for Protein Supplements, Mini Sheep Farm, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Integrated Development of Small Ruminants and Rabbits (IDSRR). He said 3138 dairy units under DEDS have been established with disbursement of Rs. 26.701 crore as subsidy.

Under Pashmina Development Programme for Ladakh region, the Minister said that Rs. 43.25 crores were provided. He said the project work is under progress and would be extended to some areas of Kargil district where Pashmina goats are reared.

Mr. Gurezi said that two tankers of 5000 litres capacity each have been procured for transportation of liquid nitrogen to State. He said that two silos of 3000 litres each for Jammu and Kashmir divisions have also been procured for storage of liquid nitrogen. The Minister said that Bulk Milk Coolers of 5000 litres and 2000 litres capacity are being procured for dairy development through Dairy Cooperative Societies.

Referring to the employee friendly steps taken by the Government, the Minister said that 109 posts of Veterinary Assistant Surgeons identified for direct recruitment, 658 posts referred to SSRB, 785 Class IV appointments were made and 1319 officials promoted through Departmental Promotion Committee.

Earlier, the Minister moved a Demand for Grant of a sum of Rs.391.54 crore to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2015 for the departments under his charge.

21 Members took part in discussion on demand of grants including Prof. Gharu Ram Bhagat, Mr. Mohammad Sharief Niaz, Mr. Rachpal Singh, Mr. A. R. Veeri, Hakeem Yaseen, Mr. Harshdev Singh, Mrs. Indu Pawar, Mr. Charanjit Singh, Mr. Abdul Razak Zawoora, Mr. M. Y. Tarigami, Mr. Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Mr. Mohammad Irfan Shah, Dr.Shafi Ahmad Wani, Mr Sukh Nandan Kumar, Mr. T. Namgyal, Syed Bashir Ahmad, Er. Abdul Rashid, Mr. Ashok Kumar, Mr. Abdul Gani Malik, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain and Mr. Balwant Singh Mankotia.

Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.

The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.

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Mir rules out shifting of horticulture faculty from Wadoora College

            JAMMU – Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir today assured the House that the Horticulture Faculty will not be shifted from Agriculture College Wadoora, Sopore to SKUAST, Kashmir. He said he has already spoken to the authorities of SKUAST Srinagar to maintain the status-quo in the matter in view of the demand of the students of the college and people of the North Kashmir.

The Minister was reacting to the point raised in the House by Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ganai after the Question Hour.

 

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House passes grants of Fisheries Department

Fish production touches 20,000 ton, Mansabal feed mill ready: Dr. Manohar

          JAMMU: Minister of State for Fisheries, Finance and Planning, Dr. Manohar Lal Sharma has     said that fish production has reached 19.95 thousand tones during current year while 14000 license fishermen are earning their livelihood and the sector has vast potential of employment. He said that a modern Trout feed mill has been established at a cost of Rs. 10 crore at Manasbal, Kashmir to cater to the demand of Trout feed on no profit and no loss basis.

The Minister was replying to the discussion on the demand of Grants for the Fisheries Department in the House today.

Dr. Sharma said that fast growing species ROHU, CATLA, MRIGAL, COMMON CARP, GRASS CARP and SILVER CARP are cultured all over the State. He said 42 Government Trout Fish farms/hatcheries and 19 Carp Fish farms are functioning in the State.

The Minister said that 400 lakh of Carp Fish Seed and on crore Trout Ova are being produced and provided on subsidized rates to farmers. He said that 891 carp units and 343 Trout Units have been established in private sector under RKVY/NMPS. He said that an assistance of Rs. 2.40 lakh/unit for a Trout unit and Rs. 1.50 lakh/unit for Carps is provided to the private fish farmers under RKVY/NMPS.

Dr. Sharma said that the Fisheries Department has successfully launched schemes of privatization of fish culture under Prime Minister’s Package/RKVY/NMPS schemes, adding that 1049 units have been established under these schemes up to ending March, 2013 in the State. He said this has led to the creation of employment avenues for the un-employed youth besides propagation of fish culture in the private sector.

Earlier, the Minister moved a Demand for Grant of a sum of Rs. 64.35 crore to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year endingMarch 31, 2015 for the departments under his charge.

19 Members took part in discussion on demand of grants including Nasir Aslam Wani, Rafi Ahmed Mir, Krishan Chander, Lal Chand, Nizam-ud-din Bhat, Mohammad Sharief Niaz, Balwant Singh Mankotia, Jugal Kishore, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Charanjit Singh, Prof Chaman Lal, Javed Mustafa Mir, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Ashok Kumar, Haji Mohammad Ashraf, Ashok Khajuria, Er Abdul Rashid, Syed Bashir Ahmed and Yashpal Kundal.

Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.

The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.

 

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House passes grants for Tourism

Mubarak Mandi ropeway takes shape, CM to lay foundation by the month end

Mir envisages 5% annual increase in tourist influx  

          JAMMU :- Decks have been cleared for the start of work on the Mubarak Mandi- Bahu Fort Cable car project in Jammu which is expected to give Tourism activities in Jammu a boost. All impediments for laying of the Project have been resolved and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is expected to lay the foundation of the project by the end of the current month.

This was disclosed by Minister for Tourism, Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Mir while replying to the discussion of Demand of Grants for the Tourism Department in the House today.

Describing Tourism is the 4th important and vital sector of State’s economy and employment generation, the Minister said a vigorous promotional and publicity campaign has been launched in length and breadth of the State to attract more tourists. He said the tourist influx which was just 40,000 in 2008 has increased to 1.10 crore last year , which include 12 lakh tourists who visited  Kashmir Valley, 1.35 lakh tourist to Ladakh, 3.50 lakh Amarnath ji yatra pilgrims and above 94 lakh Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims. He said 98% of the total arrivals comprised domestic tourists including visitors from Gujrat, Ahmadabad, Mumbai, Kolkotta, Tamilnadu and 2% foreigh tourists.

Mr. Mir dispelled the notion that the State Government was particular about attracting foreign tourists only. He said tourism department along with the representatives of all stakeholders including members of travel, tour, hoteleers etc. conducted whirlwind tour to various potential areas all over the country to attract tourists to the State after several interactive sessions and other promotional campaigns including road shows, tourism marts etc..

The Tourism Minister said that the government with the assistance of central government has embarked upon a ambitious plan to train about 25,000 youth of the State in various tourism related activities to create skilled manpower for the tourism industry adding that 5000 such skilled  youth have been trained so far in the State.

The Minister attributed tourist revival in the State to peace dividend adding that the people of the State deserve appreciation for their contribution in bringing the tourism industry back on rails. He said the State Tourism department has fixed a target to ensure 5% growth in the sector with each passing year, for which he urged for maintaining peace and tranquillity in the State.

Enumerating measures taken by the Government for promotion of tourism in the State, Mr. Mir said that as many as 22 tourism development Authorities have been set up in various potential areas of the State to bring virgin tourist spots on the tourism map of the country, besides creating world class tourist related infrastructure at various tourist spots.

The Tourism Minister said that government is encouraging Private Public Partnership (PPP) under the tourism sector adding that in this regard incentive rules have been modified. He said Rs. one crore outright capital subsidy on setting up of prestigious tourism unit involving cost more than Rs. 25 crore would be given to the intending stakeholders. He said a subsidy upto Rs. 7 lakh would be provided to those who intends to purchase adventure equipments and tourist coaches whileas Rs. 2 lakh for conversion of houses into paying guest houses.

Mr. Mir thanked the Central Government for providing liberal financial assistance for development of tourism in the State adding that so far Rs. 409.48 crore have been sanctioned by the Centre for the construction and development of 87 tourism projects in the State against which Rs. 223.70 crore have been released by the Centre and work on these projects is at different stages of completion.

The Minister said that exploring Golf Tourism Potential in the State is on focussed attention of the government adding that it is for the first in the history of J&K that Golf Development Authority was created to promote this game in the State .He said development of Pahalgam and 1st Phase at Sidhra Golf Courses have been completed whereas the Gulmarg Golf Course has been upgraded. In addition work on development of Leh Golf Course is in full swing and Kashmir Golf Course is being revamped for resuming Golf activities.

The Minister said that Kungdoori-Marysholder Ski Chair Lift Gulmarg and Makdoom Sahib Chair Car Project have already been commissioned adding that Cable Car Corporation has earned revenue Rs. 35.84 crore during last 10 months of current fiscal by Gandola riding at Gulmarg.  He said Government is also considering laying of Cable car  at the shrine of Hazrat Zainuddin Wali (RA) at Aishmuqam.

The Minister said that JKTDC has earned Rs. 36.42 crore during last fiscal and Rs. 39 crore is expected to earn by the corporation during this financial year. He said reconstruction of Pahalgam Club building as convention complex is in advance stage of completion while as re-construction of Budshah Hotel has been completed and construction work on budgeted hotels at Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Yousmarg, Cheshmashahi are under construction.

19 Members took part in discussion on demand of grants including Nasir Aslam Wani, Rafi Ahmed Mir, Krishan Chander, Lal Chand, Nizam-ud-din Bhat, Mohammad Sharief Naiz, Balwant Singh Mankotia, Jugal Kishore, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Charanjit Singh, Chaman Lal, Javed Mustafa Mir, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Ashok Kumar, Haji Mohammad Ashraf, Ashok Khajuria, Er Abdul Rashid, Syed Bashir Ahmed and Yashpual Kundal.

Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.

The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.

Earlier, the Minister moved Demand for Grants of a sum of Rs.338.19 crore to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2015 for the departments under his charge.

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House passes grants of Forests Department

73 lakh saplings targeted for plantation coming season: Altaf

Govt. taking steps to curb smuggling

          JAMMU : Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmed has said that Jammu and Kashmir is full of fauna and flora and the Government has taken reformative steps for its conservation, adding that it is our collective responsibility to work for this. He said with certain firm measures, the Government has succeeded in curbing timber smuggling in the State.

The Minister was replying to the demand of grants for the Forests Department in the House today.

The Minister said that under CAMPA programme about Rs. 55 crore are being utilized for development of forests in the State and a number of works have been completed. He said monitoring mechanism has been intensified across the State while chain fencing is undertaken to conserve forest land in Jammu to avoid encroachment of forest areas.

He said that 73 lakh plants are targeted to be planted during coming season in the State. He said 54 lakh Conifer saplings have been raised in departmental nurseries which would be distributed among the farmers of the State.

The Minister said 18 lakh cft of timber was provided to the needy consumers on concessional rates during the current fiscal. He said that the functioning of forest department was streamlined and more transparency and accountability brought in the system, adding that vacant posts of various categories have been filled. He said 40 new posts of DFOs  have recently been filled and process of recruitment of 450 Forest Guards is in progress.

Mian Altaf said that 4 new Forest Divisions are being created to further strengthen the network of department. He said the department has issued forest clearance for several road projects besides ropeway of Mubarak Mandi and Zojila Tunnel.

Mian Altaf said the ex-gratia relief for the victims of man-animal conflicts has been increased to Rs. 3 lakh, adding that several measures were taken to check the incidents. He said, however, 27 persons died in such incidents besides 328 persons injured in Kashmir division.

The Minister said that conservation of Asia’s largest Wullar Lake is being carried out at a cost of Rs. 120 crore, adding that for the purpose Rs. 12 crore were expended this fiscal, while as tenders for Rs. 24 crore for executing various conservation works of the lake have been floated.

Earlier, the Minister moved a Demand for Grant of a sum of Rs. 657.33 crore to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2015 for the departments under his charge.

19 Members took part in discussion on demand of grants including Nasir Aslam Wani, Rafi Ahmed Mir, Krishan Chander, Lal Chand, Nizam-ud-din Bhat, Mohammad Sharief Niaz, Balwant Singh Mankotia, Jugal Kishore, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Charanjit Singh, Prof Chaman Lal, Javed Mustafa Mir, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Ashok Kumar, Haji Mohammad Ashraf, Ashok Khajuria, Er Abdul Rashid, Syed Bashir Ahmed and Yashpal Kundal.

Later, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.

The House passed the Grants by a voice vote.