The Bold Voice of J&K

Have they any right to hang on even for a moment?

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JAMMU: Jammu is without drinking water for the past three days. People are wondering as to what all is going around and what the people at the helm are doing except generating awareness on FM 92 about judicious use of water when water is nowhere. ‘Nanga Nahayegha Kya Aur Nichodega Kya’!
They say water water everywhere not any drop to drink but this is partially true in this Temple City which has been braving the brunt during fading but humid monsoon days. If reports are to be believed the strike by daily wagers seeking regularisation hit the common man and not the elite segments of politicians and bureaucrats or colonies earmarked for employees. Essentially coming from the common strata of population, the daily wagers thought it prudent to punish fellow brethren only with elite enjoying the facility. If not, who managed the supply to special segment of species? If the service could be operated by regular employees or by evolving any alternate arrangement, the question arises why for VIPs only and not the common masses.
Interestingly, the strike hit the winter capital at a time when the President of India besides Governor and the Chief Minister of the State were in the town for two days. The highly vocal Chief Minister did not speak a word on the crisis like situation, which sparked off protests by the docile people when reports or rumours kept circulating about extension of the strike by another few days. The rumours were neither confirmed nor denied by the dispensation calling itself the government. The administration did not come out with any plan how to tackle the situation either. The so-called Jammu leadership preferred to maintain their branded inertia even as they are going to confront the people who voted them to be ‘somebody’ from ‘nobody’ overnight in the last elections.
One wonders what would have been scenario had the water supply got snapped in the Kashmir Valley. The chronic secessionists and some of their shadows in mainstream camp would not have hesitated in terming the disruption as a sinister move of India to punish Kashmiris. The administration too would have been on tenter-hooks to find out via media to get the service restored. The Chief Minister has set an example of this by remaining stationed in Srinagar two years ago to ensure restoration of power supply which got affected by the heavy snowfall. Jammu is nobody’s concern.
It is surprising how the coalition partners could afford to allow a situation where people are deprived of essential service for three days and that too in an election season. Already having lost their faces, the people are going to punish them as also those who showed apathy to mandate given to them in 2008.
Regularisation of daily wagers is a chronic issue in a pampered state like Jammu and Kashmir which has perhaps high employee-population ratio across the country. Government sector is the only comfortable zone for parasites, who once getting employed treat it a birth right not to work but to avail lifelong benefits. It is a problem created by politicians and unscrupulous bureaucrats who kept employing young people whether there was any need for human resource in a particular department or not. It is beyond any debate that government departments across the State are overstaffed but still politicians keep employing their favourites either for monetary considerations or carving out constituencies. No government has ever bothered to verify the credentials of daily wagers or mechanism adopted for their engagement. They have ruined the future of several generations as the workers engaged two decades ago find their future in limbo due to delays with regard to their regularisation.
Jammu and Kashmir has been going through a peculiar situation for the past two and half decades. The Centre and the State have been justifying recruitment of ‘unwarranted army’ on the premise of containing youth from taking to violence or militancy. This has given lease to unscrupulous politicians to have their supporters and kith accommodating into the government sector, no matter they are required or not. And, these are the politicians who get cheeks to say that ‘Kashmir problem’ has nothing to do with economic deprivation or unemployment, as it is political in nature.
With change of guard in New Delhi, a realistic view of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir is warranted. This should include employee-population ratio also, as the major chunk of budgetary allocations go on wage bill of government servants, leaving paltry amount for development. Had there been any moratorium, as is in vogue in the central services, the enterprising youth would have either taken to self employment or ventured out for greener pastures, as the State has limited scope for corporate sector to grow due to Article 370 and uncertain political and security scenario.

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