Governor Satya Pal Malik Thursday asserted corruption is “the biggest problem” in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said people in the state have to bribe officials to get their works done.
“During my stay in J&K, I have seen how it takes four months for transfer of a file from one office to the other. This is the level of corruption here,” Malik said.
“Even I have cancelled two contracts involving bribe of Rs 150 crore each. I wouldn’t name the person whose contracts were cancelled. I could have taken a bribe to give a nod to their contracts, but I am happy that I came to J&K with four kurta-pyjamas and I would leave the state with the same number of clothes. My only focus is to end the corruption from this state,” he said.
The Governor said his chief secretary gives five to six jobs to the “victims of militancy-related incidents every week but despite the signing of the job orders by him, the victims don’t get the job orders”.
“They have to pay bribe up to Rs 1 lakh to get their job orders,” he alleged.
The Governor said in the state’s civil secretariat, there are some employees who having the patronage of one or the other party and are staying in the same office for the past more than 15 years “and one cannot guess how they’re looting the state”.
“My chief secretary recently came across two cases wherein bribe was involved. I’ve asked him to order the secretaries to either make the contracts neat and clean or else I will ask the chief vigilance commissioner to probe every case. And if need be, I will also ask the PM to jail at least 5 to 7 people for my personal satisfaction. Otherwise, the chances of improvement in the state are frail,” he said.
Malik also said he met some businessmen and industrialists in Delhi and requested them to invest in J&K but they denied saying there was rampant corruption in the state.
“These businessmen told me that for investing in other states, they need to pay commission up to 3 percent but in Jammu and Kashmir, they’re asked to pay commission up to 12 to 13 percent. They asked me why they would invest in J&K. I felt embarrassed when they told me that chances of setting up industries in the state are poor as there are fixed rates for everything,” the Governor said.
Governor Malik Thursday courted a fresh controversy by accusing the state’s political leaders of wanting to get “youths killed to blackmail Delhi and keep it under pressure”.
Addressing a Kissan Mela here in Akhnoor, the governor also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to give everything that the people of Kashmir demand under the Constitution as he has love and respect for the people of the state.
“The leaders of Jammu and Kashmir want the youths to get killed so that they keep New Delhi under pressure,” Malik said.
“This misconception was cleared by me during the municipal and panchayat polls, and conveyed a message that New Delhi is not to come under pressure. New Delhi will not come under pressure of blackmail now. If bullets will be fired, no bouquets will be sent from here,” he said.
Malik said by killing militants in Kashmir no solution can be found and asked them to return to their mainstream.
“I am not for taking the lives of these children. If they come back, we are ready to do something for them. We are trying to find out some way,” he said.
In a veiled reference to two former chief ministers—Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah—Malik said “political parties have double standards. I am angry with them”.
The NC and the PDP hit back at Malik and questioned his stand on dissolving the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. They termed his action as “unethical”.
Abdullah asked the governor to “focus on his work and stop playing politics”.
“Please stop with the insults & snide remarks Mr Governor. They do not behove a person in your position. It is only my respect for the office you occupy that stops me from repeating what all you told me when we met. @jandkgovernor. Please stop playing politics & focus on your work,” Omar tweeted.
The PDP tweeted, “Not allowing a democratic government to function & talking of panchayat as empowerment of democracy without the participation of people & parties! Dissolving assembly unethically is personal empowerment not boycott.”
About the prospects of the state elections, the governor said it is up to the Election Commission to decide on conducting the polls in the state.