The world knows very well about the popularity of sheikh Abdullah and his government with the kashmiris. The world does not know that it is not-so-popular with the people of Jammu-the Dogras. It is obvious, kashmiri Abdullah wants to reverse the erstwhile Jammu domination of Kashmir by a Kashmir domination of Jammu now. He forgets that the day of domination of anyone by any other is ended. The fact that Jammu is as predominantly Hindu as Kashmir is predominantly Muslim, further complicates matters for all concerned and makes it difficult to find out where provincialism ends and communalism begins.
The best thing for Shaikh Abdullah’s national Conference would have been to invite the Praja Parishad of Jammu—where NC exists only on paper-to join in the arduous task of government. Instead Shaikh Sahib preferred show-boys. Thus representative Jammu was denied a share in the self-government of the State. Jammu feels cheated under the new dispensation of things. And it finds the new dispensation noxious. How noxious, Bharatis do not know.
Transport : Stinky Scandal
In this hill State with not a mile of railway track—the brief Sialkot-Jammu line having been badly mauled and put out of use by the fact of enemy occupation-the one ostensible means of mass travel and transport is the public bus.
In May 1948 transport was “nationalized” in the state. But since nationalization proper would have necessitated compensation to the private transport companies, the Government allowed them to exist but decided that they shall not live. And so it proceeded to starve them of cargo and petrol.
A double Swindle
During the busiest tourist season, private-owned transport companies charge a maximum of Rs 4, ½ per maund of cargo from Jammu to Srinagar. Often it is as low as low as Rs 1½! But the state transport charges a net Rs 6 throughout the year! All this burden is ultimately borne by the consumer and the taxpayer.
Since the transport companies chose to drag on on their deflated earnings rather than wind up and starve, and the Government decided to give them yet another blow. And so by a draconian order it forbade all pre-1945 models from playing on the highways of the state! The companies had to suffer heavy losses by the whole-scale rejection of their cars still in excellent working condition. But the government profiteered in their misery.
With 350 brand-new state trucks and buses charging the usurious Rs 6 per maund and getting all the government stores and supplies to carry, one would expect huge profits for the public exchequer. But would you believe it, this vast and scandalous State Transport has not shown even a one rupee profit! Serious charges of gross embezzlement fill the Jammu air. The whole affair became so much soaked with scandal that the Government was moved to appoint Home Secretary Mr. Agha to inquire into it at the Jammu end. Mr Agha completed(?)… the enquiry in one day but the government suppressed even that, and never published it.
Bakshi becomes a rich man
Transport Director Mr Raina, a non-descript nobody till 1947, lives like a lord, buys a new limousine every year. Transport Minister Bakshi drawing a salary of RS 1000 has sent his son for higher studies of USA where lodging and board charges alone are known to amount to Rs 800 a month! Does Mr Bakshi have any private property?
The chief victims of this stinky scandal are not only the predominantly Hindu transport companies but the predominantly Muslim State population. n