Starving Projects

It is recess period. Most of the bureaucracy basking under the sun of the centre rule has been enjoying paid holidays ever since the state was placed under the governor’s rule. The appointment of N.N...

It is recess period. Most of the bureaucracy basking under the sun of the centre rule has been enjoying paid holidays ever since the state was placed under the governor's rule. The appointment of N.N. Vohra a retired civil servant as Governor of the state was seen a good changeover. It was believed that he would exorcise the ghost of communalism, chauvinism and parochialism from the state bureaucracy. The ghost that rose from the grave like prince of wallachai in Bram Stoker's Novel during the agitation in Jammu over Amarnath Shrine Board is not only hovering over the administration but has virtually taken it over with many officers known for their fanatic and extremist ideas at the keel. The pampered bureaucrats with a shove from some communalists organization in the capital have not only been isolating local bureaucracy and pushing them towards desperation but have also vitiated the atmosphere within the four walls of the civil secretariat. It has been but for spoiled atmosphere in the state that most of the development works in Kashmir valley have been brought to a grinding halt. It is not only construction of roads and drains that was in full swing before the imposition of the governors rule that has been stopped but most of the prestigious projects started in during the past few years in Kashmir valley have been starved for funds. The classical example in this regard can be various projects under the department of culture. The state government responding to the demands of various cultural associations, writers' organization and media had created a separate department of culture for preserving heritage of the state, promoting culture and languages of the state. It was expected that the department would focus on building of infrastructure for the promotion of culture in Kashmir valley which has been ignored in the past. It is a known fact that the only theatre / hall for cultural activities is the Tagore Hall which was constructed by the last Prime Minister of the State, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad in late fifties. Since then, no theatre, auditorium or hall worth mention has been constructed in Kashmir as against this many modern, spacious and sophisticated halls and auditoriums were built in Jammu. It is a known fact that the Jammu University which as compared to Kashmir University is very young with liberal assistance from the University Grants Commission and other central agencies has built a sound infrastructure for promotion of cultural and sports activities in Jammu. The only major library in Srinagar was built hundred and four years back by the feudal ruler Maharaja Partap Singh, since then not a single library worth mention has been constructed in the state of Srinagar. The authorities are fully aware that this hundred years old that has developed vertical and horizontal fissures and has been declared as unsafe can crumble any moment. The state government long before had decided to house this great treasure of Kashmir heritage in a new building on the Maulana Azad Road. The foundation stone was laid in 2003 and it was expected to be completed within one year but so far even plinth has not been laid. The governor had decided to release sixty percent of this cost of the construction
during the current financial year but what is ironic that not ten percent of the total cost involved has been released so far. The fate of this cultural centre which was trumpeted as replica of India International Centre in New Delhi holds true of all other projects in the state. The projects in Kashmir are made to suffer by the biased bureaucracy in the state first the funds are not released by people at the top for the first four months of the financial year under one or the other pretext and then they are diverted to projects in Jammu on the alibi that working season is over. It is high time for the Governor to assess the performance of the bureaucracy and ensure the development projects in Kashmir are not starved for funds.

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