Where is my share of Paris
Nowhere in sight. But where has it gone?
It was in February 1987 when the people in Kashmir were promised Paris like facilities in Srinagar. The promise was made by the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, and the basis of his optimism was the uninterrupted funding for the development in Jammu and Kashmir by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Centre had already announced Rs. 1000 crore for the development projects in the state. It was a dream that, Farooq vowed, could be translated into a pleasant reality with the help of the Congress government at the Centre. Hence, he justified pre-poll alliance with Congress.
That was an election time. It was a pre-poll commitment. Farooq had promised wider roads, underground power cables and uninterrupted power supply, 24 –hour running water to each and every household in the Valley. Srinagar, in particular, was supposed to have almost everything that it would have asked for under the sun. His promise was greeted with loud cheers.
“Please remember that we have entered into a pre-poll alliance with Congress for the development of Kashmir and this alliance should percolate to the grassroots,” he used to tell the audience, which would not react, except for those in the front rows, raising slogans National Conference Zindaabd. (Long live National Conference). Farooq was also president of the National Conference. Congress zindabad was missing.
The history has its own way of writing itself. It was not scripted the way, Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah wanted. Its twists and turns were out, when the NC-Congress alliance won more than a two-thirds majority in the Assembly elections. Most of the groups were on one side, Muslim United Front ) MUF). Abdul Gani Lone and his Peoples Conference and late Ghulam Muhammad Shah’s Awami National Conference, that time known as NC (Khalida). Khalida is elder sister of Farooq Abdullah, who is currently union minister for new and renewable energy minister in the union cabinet.
National Conference had on its side Congress, and Awami Action Committee of late Mirwaiz Moulana Farooq. His son Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, currently the Chairman of the faction ridden Hurriyat Conference, has declared himself against elections. He sees that the elections don’t reflect anything.
Change the calendar. Enter 2004, two years after, the 2002 elections in which the National Conference lost elections, or to be fair to the party, refused to enter into alliance with independents and did not form the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs. 24,000 crore plan under , what is now known as Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan.. That time Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Peoples' Democratic Party was heading the state government, in alliance with Congress.
Omar Abdullah, until he became Chief Minister in January 2009, would invariably ask: “What happened to those Rs. 24,000 crore”. Now he doesn’t ask this question. Not even once, in the last four years. Because the answer is that, in reality this 24,000 was for the already announced for the centrally sponsored schemes and whatever the state government got, was diverted to the state projects.
The Centre, particularly Congress, has its own way of puzzling the people of Jammu and Kashmir- combining the Centre-run projects and a little bit here and there.
This was just a backgrounder. Srinagar is reeling under severe winter, as it has to. The dream of Srinagar becoming Paris, remains unrealized. National Conference and Congress alliance were in power until January 19, 1990; National Conference was in power on its own from 1996-2002, PDP- Congress alliance was in power from 2002-2005, Congress-PDP from 2005 to 2008. And now again National Conference – Congress alliance in power since 2009. Omar Abdullah is Chief Minister for six years.
Militancy had its own role to play in putting hurdles in this dream becoming a reality. Instead, they hit at the infrastructure, thus putting back the issues of governance. The Government’s success or failure was judged by the fact how much militancy was in control, or out of control of it. Now, when few signs of the normalcy, although not completely- have surfaced, that dream is still unrealized. The people are not getting power, nor there are wide roads, traffic snarls have become order of the day. One may be right in asking: “Where is my share of Paris”? It is nowhere in sight even in dreams.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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