Can J&K LG Administration correct the wrongs of District Reoganisations done by Elected Govts?
In a democratic republic like India District administrative unit (District) is in general taken into consideration for over all broader prospective planning and allocation of plan finds. In view of the policies that existed after establishment of local democratic governments in India till 2018 as regards creation of new district administrative units in J&K it will not be wrong to say that keeping ‘plan allocation & related deeds’ in view the areas falling in Jammu Division of J&K would surely have possibly remained under more of disadvantage and it was so . Just for an idea sake it would be appropriate to quote here that including the areas illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1947/48 the then Jammu province had 5 district administrative units ( Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Mirpur) and two Jagirs (Poonch, almost like the level of a district, and of Chenani) where as the Kashmir province ( excluding Ladakh & frontier areas Gilgit /Baltistan) had only 3 District Administrative units.( Anantnag,Baramulla,Muzaffarabad ). After 1947, for active administration, the unoccupied areas of J&K excluding Mirpur District of Jammu province & a very small part of Poonch Jagir were reorganized into 6 six District Administrative units of Jammu Division ( Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda,Rajouri and Poonch) ; the 2 remaining districts of Anantnag & Baramulla were reorganized as only 3 districts of Anantnag, Srinagar & Baramulla in Kashmir Division and ofcourse Ladakh too was a district of Kashmir Division. So upto 1978 there were 6 districts in Jammu Division and in Kashmir Division there were only 3 Districts of Kashmir Valley in Kashmir Division.
But the reorganizations of district administrative units as were done by National Conference Government in 1979 (SRO 306 of 6/6/1979 ) and Congress -PDP Government in 2006-07 ( (SRO 185 of 22 May 2007 ) which would fail any independent logical test since 3 districts of Kashmir valley in Kashmir Division had been in 1979 increased to 6 and then again in 2007 from 6 to 10 where as the then 6 existing districts of Jammu Division had not been increased further in 1979 and it was only in 2007 that districts were increased and that too only from 6 to 10.
To have a rational view of the need that emerged after 2007 for carving out more new districts in the state of Jammu & Kashmir for correcting the wrongs done by the SRO 185 of 22 May 2007 where in a district like Rajouri with 7 Tehsils was not split in more districts where as in Kashmir Division a new district like that of Shopian with only one Tehsil was carved out.
In this regard for adopting a fair approach to apply corrections now worth satisfying the people of the areas that feel neglected it would be better to also see the number of Tehsils and Niyabats that were there in the 10 Districts of Kashmir Valley and 10 districts of Jammu Division before the issue of order No. Rev(s)169 of 18-07-2014 for creating more Tehsils. In 2006-07 for instance Rajouri District of Jammu Region already had 7 Tehsils spread over 2630 sq km( Census 2011 data) but this district was not split in more districts where as in Kashmir valley districts like i. Ganderbal with 3 tehsils and 258 sq km area ( 2011 census) ii. Shopian with only 1 tehsil and just an area of *312 sq Km (Census 2011 data) (iii) Bandipora with 3 tehsils and area of just 345 sq km (iv) Kulgan with 3 tehsils and are of just 410 sq km ( census 2011) were created. ( * different areas have been mentioned at different times / in different reports/ sites and actual area may be different but surely not much. There seems enough scope for raising the number of districts in Jammu Division from 10 to 15 or so but keeping only 10 in Kashmir Division taking leads from the size & status of existing districts in Kashmir Valley. It was expected in 2015 that BJP-PDP popular / elected Government would apply the corrections but no any step was taken in that direction.
To be continued
(The author is a Sr Journalist & analyst of J&K Affairs. [email protected]).