Editorial | A systemic failure

Greater Kashmir

In the overall architecture of governance if things have to work smoothly, all organs must work to the optimal. If any of the parts has a problem it affects the overall functioning of the system, and leads to multiple failures. Unfortunately in our part of the land the failures are many, and ever increasing. This sometimes gives you the feeling that nothing will change, and things are doomed to spiral down into the depths of dysfunctioning. Now take the case of the departments that are assigned with the task of undertaking development projects – constructing building, laying roads, giving us new bridges, or providing us the services of supplying water, electricity and other basic commodities. Though the rule books are upto date, and we have everything written down to ensure efficient functioning of the departments, but on ground the situation is on the contrary. We have almost all the projects getting delayed by huge margins of time. We have the design and content of the buildings and other stuff always under question.

We have the public utility side of the projects always staring in the eye, posing some tough questions. Worst of it all, we have none to be held responsible and get answers to our questions from. You talk of the top brass and they pass on the buck to the lower staff. You talk to the ground staff, and they put the blame on higher officials. In this blame game we have learnt to live with the system that is functioning in an inefficient way. It is in this dysfunctional state of affairs that the contractors find themselves badly stuck. The matter has now been in news for quite a while, and delegation after delegation from the contractors is meeting the higher ups to get the problem solved. The works that have already been executed have not been paid for. This is bound to affect the economy of the persons and the firms involved, and also create a discouraging atmosphere. For those at the helm it is extremely important to understand that once a business cycle is broken, it is hard to get the things back on track. It is not just the question of receiving payment later than it is due, but a problem of throwing a business into a downward spiral. Many businesses never recover, and most of them are hurt permanently. If the development work has to go on, and if firms involved in this sector are to work with interest and professional attitude, it is extremely important that payments are released in time.