The trust deficit

LPG is not the problem, trust is

Impressions

BINOO JOSHI

An official spokesman quoted  Union Petroleum Minister  Veerappa Moily  having assured  Jammu and Kashmir’s  Consumer and Public Distribution  Minister Qamar Ali Akhoon that he would look into the plea of the   state  for relaxation in the supply of  LPG  cylinders   after visiting the state. To many, it would seem to be a kind gesture of the union Minister who promptly agreed to visit the state to study the situation with regard to the LPG crisis in this  state, which the country describes as “ Crown of India”.
Mr Moily is  a well read person, and has been in the national politics for decades.. I am sure that he must have read about Jammu and Kashmir too somewhere during his days in the  Indian  politics.  But, I  fail to understand that how such high profile politician  is unaware of the need of the  hilly state like Jammu and Kashmir. The topography and the climatic condition of the state  is not something which would unfold itself  only when someone visits  the state.
Moreover, it  is a common knowledge that Jammu and Kashmir is a tourist state, where tourism is one of the major contributor to the state’s economy. How  will this state  retain its  dream of becoming   destination of destinations for tourists in the country, when its hotels, houseboats, in simple words, hosts would not have the  LPG cylinders to cook food for their guests.
It also brings in the question of trust deficit. The Union Minister should have trusted the state minister and his arguments, and especially when he had  a letter written by Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah. The state’s plea is not imaginary.  It has very strong reasons  for  more supply of the LPG cylinders. Perhaps, many people might not be knowing that one of the reasons for the people living along the LoC  on this side  getting attracted to the other side is the bright light on the other side of the dividing line and unhindered  gas supply to their homes.  For them, the other side of the LoC  is something like a  “ greener pasture”.
Such trust deficit on the political matters has already complicated matters for the state, where  some sections of people are uncertain about their identity. They don’t know where are they and who are they. The political problems have sullied the image of the state and the state’s politicians have been pressing hard for  getting this issue  resolved.  Adding  economic crisis  would  be suicidal. It is as simple as that.
In any case, if at all  Mr Moily undertakes a visit to Jammu and Kashmir,  he would either visit Jammu or Srinagar. I am sure that he would  neither travel to Turtuk nor to Kargil, or for that matter to  other remote areas in the state, where road connectivity during winters is a problem. How would he assess the situation. That’s a critical question.
The Minister should   understand that combination of political and economic woes of the people  can only add fuel to fire. CPI-M leader M Y Tarigami is right in his assessment that  such  a crisis can snowball into something big. That  time, the situation may slip out of hand.  A look back  to the scenario in 1987, when the power crisis, helped the insurgency to gain foothold in Kashmir, the nation had to pay a huge price in all spheres- human lives  were lost, economy shattered and the common man felt helpless.
If “ sky is the limit” words could not be translated into  reality  in the political terms, there is no harm in applying the same phrase for economic  benefits to the people.  There is inbuilt anger in this.  It is not  to suggest by any stretch of imagination  that  other parts of the country or the people living over there should be  treated differently. But at the same time, it is necessary to look at the energy resources of the state. Jammu and Kashmir is not having  coal, fuel  etc  to  cook food.  There should be something  for them to survive. In a state where the temperatures dip to minus 20 degrees Celsius, doing without  cooking gas is  unimaginable.
The Centre has one answer. It should give all the power projects to the state and  then the state would be able to supply some kind of energy to its population. If that option is not  forthcoming then, Centre should  understand that there is no nigger curse than  history repeating itself.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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