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.

(Feedback at binoojoshi61@gmail.com)

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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