Srinagar, Oct 23 : Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday expressed condolences with the families who lost their dear ones in the Kulgam explosion and announced relief of Rs 5 lakh for each bereaved family.
Addressing a media conference in Srinagar, Rajnath Singh said, "We are saddened by the loss of lives in this incident.
"Monetary relief can never be an alternative to life. I express condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in the explosion".
The Home Minister appealed to people not to visit sites of gunfights unless these are declared safe.
"Security forces had left the place when the people gathered there. While security forces are taking all possible precautions, I again appeal to people not to visit places where gunfights have taken place," he said.
The Home Minister expressed satisfaction over the successful completion of urban local bodies elections in the state.
"These polls were conducted in a fair and transparent manner. No violence happened anywhere during these polls.
"People in Jammu, Ladakh and some areas of the Valley participated in large numbers in these polls. I am hopeful that more and more people in the Valley will come forward to participate in the forthcoming panchayat polls".
He appealed to all political parties to take part in the panchayat polls as these are the only means to take democracy to the grassroots level.
"Through devolution of powers to the grassroots level, our intention is to make the panchayats self-reliant as all development funds will devolve to these villge bodies. Panches and sarpanches will thus be able to spend these funds for the development of their areas," he added.
Answering a question on resumption of the dialogue process with Pakistan, the Home Minister reiterated that terror and talks cannot go together.
He said India is at present the fastest growing economy in the world and that soon the country would be among the five top economies of the World.
"This has unnerved some powers who are trying to retard our growth through terrorism", he said.
"Pakistan has done nothing positive to prove that they are not supporting terrorism in India. I again reiterate that terror and talks cannot go together", he asserted.
Rajnath Singh said during the four months the state has been under the governor's rule, there have been some positive changes.
"Stone-pelting incidents have come down and I have been told that militant recruitments have also declined in the Valley", he said.
He said all efforts are being made to improve the situation in the state and these efforts will continue till the situation fully improves.
He said Rs 350 crore are being spent to restore the famous Dal Lake to its pristine glory.
"Once this lake is restored to its glory, many other things will also change", he said.
The Home Minister also spoke about various schemes to constructively engage the local youth.
He also spoke about building better roads in border areas like Drass, Gurez, Keran, Machil and Tangdhar for which he said a developmental plan is being prepared.