The Awards for “Failure”!

As we celebrate the awards for excellence, we must not forget awards for “failure” also!

My Take

M.ASHRAF

The much publicised award for poverty alleviation bestowed on the J & K State by a media channel makes one think about the definition of poverty taken as the bench mark for the award. After 1947 Kashmir has not been poor in the real sense of the word. Sheikh Abdullah’s revolutionary measure of land to the tiller completely changed the scenario. Whenever one speaks about poverty, the picture of people living in some parts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, Rajasthan, and the Adivasis come to mind. Those are the people really living in poverty or rather below poverty line and cannot afford a daily square meal, not to speak of other amenities! Poverty is a relative term in regard to other people living in the area. In that sense, we cannot say that the bulk of Kashmiris are poor! The valley of Kashmir where cars worth rupees five hundred crore are purchased every year cannot be called poor! In fact, Kashmiris have stopped working manually. Most of these chores are done by Biharis and Bengalis whose population in the valley has now gone beyond half a million. So which poverty has the J & K Government alleviated? Apart from thousands of crores pumped in by Government of India over last 65 years, Kashmir had abundant flow of money from Islamabad. All this money did not necessarily get utilised for the purpose for which it was meant. This money has created a class of nouveau riche that not only flaunts this money but has totally destroyed social and ethical values. Above all else, Kashmir has these days the most corrupt and incompetent administrative set up.
Another amusing award was for the best healthcare. The fact that the healthcare in the state is in shambles has been brought out by the media repeatedly. Getting an award for excellence in healthcare makes one think that the status in some other parts of the country must be something similar to what the people in the dark jungles of Africa used to have in the past! A state where 900 infants died due to the callousness of authorities hardly deserves an award. They should have been facing the criminal courts and paying massive compensation if it was a western country or even some countries of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia.
The first award for failure was announced by the Transparency International when they declared Jammu & Kashmir to be the second most corrupt state in India. By now it must have taken the top slot among the corrupt states? Corruption has been fully legitimatised at all levels. No one feels any compunction in taking or giving a bribe. Ministers with proven charges of corruption continue to be part of the ruling elite with pride and dare anyone to change them! Accountability and Vigilance Commissions are in doldrums. Quite often corruption allegations are probed by commissions of inquiry which most of the time give a clean chit to the accused.
Another field in which the state deserves an award is the environment and ecology. The sad story of the water bodies has been widely circulated. The Dal Lake is in the throes of death in spite of hundreds of crores pumped in to save it. Well, in this case the State is not the only culprit. The people in general and our so called popular leaders are equally guilty. The material greed has made people eat away the Dal Lake slowly over last few decades. The Wullar Lake once claimed to be one of the largest sweet water lakes in Asia is in a sad state, almost getting reduced to a pond due to encroachments and willow cultivation. The condition of Jhelum once proudly called the lifeline of Kashmir is like that of a large sewer. The Green Gold or the lush green forests have been mercilessly cut by the timber smugglers in connivance with the officials and the security agencies. About Mountain Ecology, the less said, the better! The uncontrolled and unregulated pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath has turned this once famous track into a garbage trail and the Supreme Court of India instead of hauling up the State Government for destroying the Mountain Ecology, is directing them to do something more to finish the job of its total destruction.
By the way the City of Srinagar, the famous City of the Sun having a history of over 2,000 years is one of the dirtiest cities in the world. It surely deserves an award! Not only is it often strewn with stinking garbage, facing traffic jams in spite of numerous traffic lights, some working, and some not working but also plagued by the menace of the hordes of stray dogs. One wonders how the Tourism Department welcomes tourists to the so called “Paradise” through this God forsaken city. Dug up roads, incomplete drains, foot-path sellers, encroached roads, and mushroom growth of shopping complexes, total disregard of land use and building bye laws makes it a free for all city. Surely it deserves the award for how things should not be done!
The most important award is for our power system. One of the world’s most potential hydro-power generating areas is suffering from a perennial power famine. Thanks to our rulers they have mortgaged the resources for all future generation not to talk of the present generation! The resources have not only been usurped by the country which holds us as its integral part but to the neighbouring country which claims to be a staunch supporter of our basic rights. It is a pity that our so called leaders did not even protest on the signing of the infamous treaty of Indus Waters but meekly allowed these resources to be exploited at our cost. Thirst for power and material greed had completely blinded them.
It may not be fair to put all these failures on Omar Abdullah as he did not create these but inherited the most of these from his predecessors. However, he could have taken these head on and mitigated the sufferings of the common people. Unfortunately, he seems to be engrossed in the glamour of Tourism and is obsessed with the revocation of AFSPA. It is difficult to understand why our leaders want to improve all the luxurious recreational facilities for the tourists at the cost of providing the basic facilities to the local population? As regards AFSPA it is not going sooner as has been made evident by the Army which refuses to budge. So it would be sensible to at least take the discrepancies in the day to day living of the people head on and give them some visible relief urgently sought by one and all!

(Comments at ashrafmjk@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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