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'659 new administrative units in Jammu and Kashmir'

Jammu, Feb 1 : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Saturday the state cabinet had accepted the recommendations of its sub-committee on forming 659 new administrative units in the state.


He was addressing a media conference at his Wazarat Road residence in winter capital Jammu Saturday.

"The recommendations have been accepted by the state cabinet that met here today (Saturday). These have now been sent to the state planning and finance department to work out a roadmap so these recommendations are implemented", the chief minister said.

Omar Abdullah termed the decision to form new administrative units, including new sub-divisions, tehsils, block development offices, naib-tehsil offices, etc. as "historic".

Asked whether his party's relations with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) were now back on an even keel, the chief minister said, "We had never left the UPA. The present coalition government in the state is stronger than the previous one."

Once implemented, Jammu and Kashmir would have 35 new sub-divisions, 135 tehsils and 177 blocks and 301 naiyabats (naib tehsildar offices) and other new administrative units.

Political circles remained abuzz this week with media speculations of an imminent parting of ways between the ruling National Conference (NC) and the Congress parties following a stalemate over the formation of new administrative units in the state.

Omar Abdullah had told the meeting of the cabinet sub-committee Jan 24 that he would have the new administrative units cleared by his government whatever be the cost.

The chief minister had given a week's time, ending Jan 31, to the sub-committee to present its recommendations to the state cabinet.

Congress ministers who are members of the sub-committee had been asserting that the formation of the administrative units was politically motivated since it would come handy for the NC in Muslim majority Valley while the Congress stood to lose in the Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state.

Following intervention by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, the state Congress was asked to include its own areas of political influence in the list of new administrative units.

With today's acceptance of the recommendations presented before it by the cabinet sub-committee, the stalemate over the contentious issue has finally been resolved.

--IANS (Posted on 01-02-2014)

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