No room for complacency
Government has to take the battle of power on its merit
COMMENT BY HASSAN ZAINAGIREE
Kashmir is rising from the slumber of servitude and indifference. They no longer want to be robbed of rights, denied of justice. It is rising with a renewed vigour and determination, to script its destiny with its own hands and exert its authority. The tide is sweeping across the political, economic and cultural landscape of Kashmir. Even the ruling regime and 'mainstream' political class are responding to the change that is unfolding. The sacrifice is showing its effect. The world attends to Kashmir in the changing scenario, the pro-accession parties are finding it extremely difficult to remain or be seen, dyed in all-India colors. because of the compulsion, though not conviction, a transformation in behavioural process is quite discernible. And welcome too.
Unlike the recent past, the temptation to jump over some crumbs of power from New Delhi - though still tantalizing - do not make that class go, hundred percent, in synch with the Centre. What happened from 2008-2010 has brought a significant change. Not that power-seeking political groups have ceased to act as political crutches of Delhi to prop up its 'national interests' at the critical time-they religiously continue to do that. They have learnt to adapt themselves to the situation that makes them accountable to growing vibrant civil society and well educated young generation having access to social-networking sites - a generation that has been witness to 'miracles of democracy' (to buy a phrase from Mani Shankar ayar) themselves. The bitter memories of which have gone too deep. Both PDP and National Conference have recently raised the pitch in declaring that the accession is not 'final' but 'conditional'. Both are stating openly that Kashmir is a 'political dispute' and should be 'settled through peaceful negotiations'. Pro-resistant camp rejects it as 'duplicitous stand by political stooges of India', nonetheless, whatever the motives, this renewed assertion of Delhi's confidantes, give further impetus and weight to the disputable and international character of Kashmir problem.
The latest stand by Omer Abdullah-led coalition government of Congress and NC on state's water resources is another stride in that "home-grown" assertion. needless to mention that on this issue political parties of different ideologies and persuasion, including pro-resistance forces, civil society and media, all have been on the same page. That Delhi, at this time, proffered to keep its hands off and didn't choke the government at Srinagar and let its own Party high-profile cabinet minister Taj Mohiudin play as helmsman conveys two significant messages. One, it is becoming restless to the growing alienation and criticism it has to face from all corners in Kashmir on state's resources (mainly water) exploited by Delhi. Two, and perhaps more importantly, in conniving at state government's action (belated though) against "hydro-tusker", the NHPC , Delhi tries to showcase its benign face, thinking that it will help in changing the public perception who continue to sniff "imperialistic" traits on her. Delhi believes that Kashmiris can be weaned off the pro-movement fold and what they are doing may help in healing the wounds it inflicted on people for the last two decades.
It is heartening that after persistent efforts of the state the NHPC has agreed to pay water usage charges amounting to Rs. 150 crores to state government. This was stated by the State Irrigation Minister Taj Mohudin. This will be the first time when the sate facing huge economic crisis will get some benefits from its water resources. True the amount of 150 crores is insignificant as compared to the trillions of rupees the NHPC has earned in exploiting state's water resources. Nonetheless, that is a good beginning and will herald economic boom for the state. Government has maintained that implementation of the law would help the state realize Rs. 913 crore as water usage charges for this fiscal year which comes out to be 25 % of state's total resources base.
Law , ethics and new emerging situation all are on the side of the state government. Scripting its seal of legitimacy to the state's authority of asking the NHPC to pay water usage charges, under J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, it enacted on November 11, 2010 , the State High Court on May 26, in its significant judgement, directed the Corporation to pay water resources charges to J&K government for exploiting state's water resources for generating electricity. NHPC has moved the High Court aganist the government order. The usage charges due to NHPC since the Act came into force have accumulated to more than 150 crores for four projects-Salal, Dulhasti, Uri and Sewa.
It was because of the interim relief (directive) of the High Court that forced NHPC to deposit Rs. `150 crores, but despite the depositions made by the Corporation, state government can't use it till the final out come of the writ petition. the Court directed that 'the amount raised through various bills should be deposited with respondents (state govt) who shall maintain a separate account in this behalf. the deposits so made shall be subjected to the final outcome of the writ petition'.
That is where the government, instead of becoming complacent, has to prepare herself for a legal battle. Apart from embarking on legal path, a sustained campaign on political level has to be initiated. Taj Mohudin's meeting with state Governor seeking his help in restoring power projects under BOOT system is highly appreciable. He has been a guiding force in behind the state's efforts to expose the East India company attitude of NHPC and the accomplicing role of various governments from 1975 onwards. We congratulate him for his courage and resolve.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 23 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 24 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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