State on Holiday

The bi-annual holiday of the State began officially on October 27 and technically ended on November 5. In fact, the actual Durbar Move holiday began a week prior to the official closure of offices in...

The bi-annual holiday of the State began officially on October 27 and technically ended on November 5. In fact, the actual Durbar Move holiday began a week prior to the official closure of offices in Srinagar. The Jammu employees were allowed to go in advance after availing a couple of days of casual leave. Usually the employees in secretariat start closing records few days ahead of the formal closing and it takes a couple of days after formal opening in Jammu to get the things "moving". For almost a fortnight all government business comes to a virtual stand still. The famous file noting, "Put up at Jammu" and "Put up at Srinagar" starts appearing almost a week before closure of offices in the two capitals. In this modern digital age of video-conferencing there does not seem any justification of moving a capital for seasonal considerations. It is a luxury which only erstwhile Maharajas could afford. In fact, this exercise apart from giving a long holiday does not serve any other profitable purpose for the Government. It is only a disruption which is deliberately indulged in at a heavy price for the exchequer. It is said that it helps integration. On that consideration we must move the Government for a short while to Ladakh also. In reality it is a luxury which can be easily discarded by giving regional autonomy to different regions. Anyhow, our State has probably the largest number of off days anywhere in the world? We celebrate the important religious holidays of all religions without any discrimination. That is an important aspect of secularism. Number wise, only our official week end holidays add to over a hundred days. In addition we have every Tom, Dick, and Harry giving hartal calls. Sometime back the most credible common excuse to remain off from work was "crack down". Any one could come late or even remain off for a day on this excuse. These are some officially declared and accepted holidays. However, unofficially the State has been on a virtual holiday for last few years especially during the second half of the coalition government. People have come to take things in their stride. The two most important things, time and space, are given the least consideration by us. Punctuality is not a virtue in this part of the world. The total lack of accountability has virtually resulted in a permanent holiday for the administration. Bureaucrats take their own time in disposing off files. It is said that sometimes files are held up with ministers and bureaucrats for months on end. In the secretariat almost every day officers are busy in "meetings". Disposal of cases gets delayed by meetings of bureaucrats, tours of ministers and last but not the least by absence of "grease" to allow smooth movement of files. People now demand proverbial "greasing of palms" most brazenly. There are now known scales for getting various jobs done. There is a special "fee" for casual, temporary, and permanent appointments. Transfers to lucrative posts have an altogether different scale. Corruption has seeped into the blood stream of the people and one would have to subject everyone to a dialysis to get rid of it. All this has happened because our political as well as administrative bosses seem to be on a long holiday. They are relaxed and take things quite leisurely. Be it the environmental conservation of Dal Lake, making of River Jhelum navigable or even making of Srinagar Airport functional as an International Airport. Everything moves at a leisurely pace making one believe that the State is on an extended holiday!

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