The Bold Voice of J&K

Kashmir floods: Polarised government, parasite employees

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JAMMU: Except for an awkward show of presence by a middle rung political bigwig in an Indian Air Force chopper dropping relief material in Srinagar on Sunday, the Coalition Government seems to have got literally inundated in inertia and confusion. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah presented a brave front since Kashmir got marooned with rest of his team seen nowhere in the worst hit Valley. The floods have exposed the inherent weaknesses of the National Conference -Congress Government, which has proved to be a marriage of convenience rather than commitment. Being poles apart in thoughts and actions, their cohesive façade was torn apart miserably when the Jammu based ministers of the two parties preferred to remain in the winter capital and those hailing from the Valley were to be seen nowhere for six ‘long’ days when the margin between life and death kept narrowing among the marooned residents of Srinagar and its peripheries but for the rescue undertaken and assistance rendered by multiple forces. The ministry   portrayed polarisation of alarming nature. The presence of the local police was not visible anywhere. The civil administration has perhaps bid farewell to, what the State Chief Secretary said, mitigate the sufferings of people. They got a warning to report on duty or face action. The terse message speaks volumes about the government employees’ playing truant at an hour of crisis. That they were asked to report in their offices makes it amply clear that most of them could have resumed duties, which they did not. They will have a number of alibis and may get scot free too, as there has never been accountability in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a state which is pampered from top to bottom, thanks to rebellion character, traits of blackmail and menace of terrorism. Otherwise, how come the Director Health Services would have requisitioned 300 paramedics from outside the State or the intermittent appeals being made by Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences getting ignored by doctors and para-medical staff. So much so the belt force too feels constrained of requisitioning two Armed Police Battalions from Jammu to maintain order. Where is the police?
As if the spectacle of a middle rung political functionary wearing crew harness (a job being carried out by dropping crew) and posing for photo ops with a pleasing smile was not enough, a Congress Minister from Jammu got engaged into issuing instructions to officers of various local agencies, immediately after his arrival in the summer capital, for ‘dewatering of Srinagar city areas through pump sets so that the people do not face any inconvenience due to clogging of water’. What is he talking about? Is the minister so insensitive to appreciate that the people of Srinagar are battling for life in marooned areas and he is talking about ‘convenience and inconvenience’.
The situation in Srinagar is very grim. Nobody actually knows what really has happened in the localities that braved the initial brunt of Jhelum waters when its embankments were breached. According to a report, 43 bodies have been retrieved from the G B Pant Children Hospital, 29 of them adults and 14 children. There are also rumours about floating bodies in the Jhelum. A number of persons have gone missing. These have given rise to rumours and caused panic across the Valley. The mischievous elements are so emboldened that they have been spreading rumours that the multiple agencies were only rescuing non-locals and VIPs. They perhaps want to convey that 1.85 lakh people rescued so far were non-locals. This is height of disinformation campaign launched by vested interests from separatist camps, who are also perpetrating stone pelting.  The government is not coming out with facts and figures. Of course it is not possible at the moment due to obtaining situation; nonetheless there is no harm in making an effort. The political scenario is such where the Chief Minister cannot take bold decisions. The raging criticism has made his task more complex. Otherwise, it is ripe time to rein in the ministers, who have started visiting the areas, holding photo sessions and issuing handouts.
Kashmir is passing through an extra-ordinary situation. The whole nation is concerned about the well being and welfare of the people caught in worst type of natural disaster. Help is coming out only from the agencies, which have been projected as villains during the past over two and half decades. Instead of encouragement for round the clock assistance, the men engaged in rescue operations are getting brickbats.  Those supposed to be shouldering the onerous responsibility are playing truant and showing their backs. The situation needs a serious appraisal.

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