Approximately one month back when the worst floods in the memory of people hit Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the state government was found missing completely. It was not there at the time when needed most. It woke up just to give excuses about the failure of state machinery to meet the crisis. And now when it has come to taking funds from the central government, it has started behaving desperate and hyperactive.
Though every state government’s head is entitled to ask for funds for its people, but how J&K Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah’s asked for it needs specific mention. Omar’s tweet (4th in a row on the issue) on 28 September read as “I have no doubt that given @PMO India pointed reference to helping flood victims of Kashmir in @UNGA address we will get support”. So, does it mean Omar was unsure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help before his statement in UN General Assembly (UNGA)? Or was it that Modi’s concern for the victims of flood was not visible before his statement in UNGA? Omar’s tweet read as if hope for PM’s help only rose after his statement in UNGA; as if till now the PM has not done enough. Everyone is aware that from the beginning of the calamity, central government has given all possible help to the flood-affected victims. And not only Modi assured all possible help to the flood victims, but he himself monitored the situation and ensured swift actions.
Let’s now take a look at an incident which occurred a few days before Omar’s tweet. There were reports that the Omar governmentfaced huge embarrassment in front of the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, when he visited Valley along with his team. According to well placed sources, during a high level meeting, which was attended by Omar, when Gadkari asked the J&K officials to show him the damage assessment report, in absence of damage assessment so far, the State officials failed to present a correct report. Taking strong exception of the state government’s laxity for not assessing the damage and its failure to activate men and machinery even after so many days, Gadkari instructed his team members to take the charge of the damage assessment in the State.
Birth Anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh
Jammu-Kashmir People's Forum commemorated the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh in Delhi on September 28. Around 150 people attended the function. Speaking on the occasion Director Jammu- Kashmir Study Centre Shri Ashutosh said it was due to the tireless efforts of Maharaja Hari Singh that Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India today.
The irony is that on one hand Omar is tweeting like other than him no one else cares for the Valley people and on the other hand, machinery of the state has failed to do the basic homework it was required to do after so many days. It reflects that the CM is taking only twitter as its karmbhoomi, as the head of the government, but not the state.
It is important to remember here that the Valley people do not doubt PM Modi but they’ve little faith in the government of the state. Till now many demonstrations demanding the handling of relief work by central government have taken place. According to a survey by a reputed NGO, Jammu and Kashmir is the second most corrupt state in the country. In the state, politicians have compiled huge assets by misuse of their power. And it is the level of corruption in the state that has played a huge role in the defeat of ruling coalition in the Lok Sabha election. Today, corruption stricken people in the state only wait for the time when the corrupt will start meeting the fate similar to J Jayalalithaa.
Meanwhile, as per an estimate by J&K government around one lakh houses were destroyed in the floods and 1.25 lakhs were partially damaged. Government of J&K is seeking Rs 5 Lakh compensation for fully damaged and Rs 2 Lakh compensation for partially damaged houses from centre. Government is also seeking ex-gratia relief of Rs 7 Lakh for dead. Overall, the government is estimating damage worth Rs 25,000 crore to the Government and public infrastructure (excluding the business losses).
Arvind ( The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Centre, New Delhi)