The present hype of DDC elections coupled with the formation of a new alliances by some political parties should not, in any form, stand in the way of development of the newly formed union territory of Jammu & Kashmir in all respects, after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. Holding of these elections by the government is a welcome step and participation of the people in these elections in large numbers speaks of the urge of the people to have development of Jammu & Kashmir their first priority. It has been observed that people’s participation in these elections have been remarkable both in the Jammu division and Kashmir division. It signifies that the people of Jammu & Kashmir want development on all fronts which has received a serious setback for long now. With the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, as it is more specifically being referred to for the expected better and broader development of J&K, when the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir has suffered a lot of set-back on the development planks of all sorts, for obvious reasons of political instability in Jammu and Kashmir, giving enough occasion to the terror organisations in the state abetted by their mentors across the border to exploit such a situation for their nefarious designs of disturbing the peace in this part of India. All the political parties now need to ensure, in the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, that while it is their constitutional right to fight elections and make alliances, let it help the developmental process and status in Jammu and Kashmir. Probably Jammu division has suffered a lot on this count as it was always kept on loose pages of government planning and development, by various governments till date, for one reason or the other, when the reasons are cogently known.KASHMIR:Tourism sector, one of the main economic corridor to sustain the living and earning of a sizeable section of the people of the valley is totally in shambles in Kashmir. Biggest damage has occurred to the tourist industry of Kashmir due to terrorism, which was proudly known as the most lucrative economic support to total economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir and people involved with it. A major chunk of the population of the valley, mostly dependent upon the tourism related trade and commerce, particularly hoteliers, the house-boat owners, the tour and taxi operators, the handicraft sector personnel, carpet industry related working hands, their workers and the like are the worst hit for last decades now. Similarly the horticulture sector of Kashmir has received a serious setback, when the apple of valley which was earlier, a symbolic mini gold product of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir across the country, which is now not the case, due to an apathy caused by the circumstances towards the horticulture development and its produce. So is the case with other delicious fruits varieties of Kashmir. Similarly, the agriculture sector and its produce, is hemmed at the old stage, where it was before the onslaught of terrorism. No visible improvement has been made in the sphere of the agriculture produce, by improving its yield both qualitatively and quantitatively. These debacles in such productive sectors of our day to day living have a direct bearing to repeated shut downs and civil curfews imposed unceremoniously by the secessionist forces and elements. The water bodies and rivers have shrunk, for want of proper care and strengthening by the maintenance agencies of the government. Jhelum the elegant river passing though the mid of the Srinagar city is now getting reduced to just a stream with the encroachments on its embankments. The Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, the Wullar Lake, known for their magnanimity of ecological brilliance and the bestowment of the spiritual serenity upon the people of Kashmir, are now getting reduced to the status of big ponds. The tourists across the world who would proudly visit these lakes are feeling saddened about their extinction, much more than the people of the valley. Whichever small industries, be it in the private sector or government sector, that were operative prior to the onslaught of terrorism are now almost freakish in their production and operation. Hindustan Machine Tools (watch factory) a public sector undertaking had to wind up. This has equally happened to some telecom industrial units too. This is what terrorism has given to the people of Kashmir. Alas, somebody understands it in the political culture prevailing around.Then befell the another fury of nature on Kashmir, in the shape of unheard of floods in the valley some years back, which caused extreme devastation, when such a malefic spectacle has not been heard of before. It was never seen or heard of that the Jhelum ( Vyeth) has risen so high and terrible that it would enter the places in main heart of the city like Lal Chowk, Jawahir Nagar, Rajbagh and the like, above all did not spare the seat of power of the King ( Civil Secretariat ) as also the seat of power of Justice ( High Court Complex), not to speak of other places of equal government importance. In fact no place cognitive in nature in public domain or as per public concern has been spared by this furry of Jhelum (Vyeth). Did this flood furry of Jhelum (Vyeth) was trying to locate and trace most of its aboriginal residents and its worshipers, viz, Kashmiri Pandits, who would take its care of piety and worthiness, but could not locate or find them? It ironically occurred in the posh areas of the Srinagar City known as Civil Lines. Why have Kashmiri Pandits been driven out of Kashmir? Is there any answer to it? Was Jhelum (Vyeth) so angry, that it had to resort to such serious punitive measures? This all happened during the spate of terrorism in the Valley. Probably the Jhelum (Vyeth) was now in enough anger to tolerate it. The damages caused by such floods and immediate steps to be taken for its prevention in future and the remedies thereof need to be analyzed and applied on ground now on priority basis. It thus revolves around the fact that Kashmir needs rebuilding.JAMMU:Jammu and its people have suffered adversely due to the terrorism for no fault of theirs. With the infusion of terrorism in Kashmir valley, the position of Jammu division too became vulnerable for no fault of the people of Jammu. It spread to border regions of Jammu mostly in the Doda belt. Its vulnerable impact on the economy of Jammu has been sizeable. Lot of population from Kashmir migrated to Jammu with the onslaught of terrorism in Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits migrated in a sizeable number to Jammu. So is the case with some Kashmiri Muslims and Sikhs too. Jammu people gave all of them shelter without any riddance, sometimes at the cost of their own comforts. In fact due this extra influx of people from other regions, Jammu should have been given more priority in its development and allotted more funds for development of Jammu. As against this, a continuous discriminatory stand was adopted towards Jammu. It has otherwise a long back history, when due to the garnering of majority seats in the legislative assembly, through irrelevant reasoning, no person other than that from Kashmir could become the chief minister of J&K. That is how the administrative set up of the authority of power took a shape, which ultimately led to regional imbalance between the regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. By an approximate estimation the region of Jammu got only 30 percent share in the administrative set up of the state, when Kashmir got about 70 percent representation in such services. At the level of the civil secretariat manning the whole administration of the state, hardly 30 to 40 percent officers of the levels of secretaries and below could find a place, when the rest would come from Kashmir only. So was the case with the cabinet ministers. The same attitude of discrimination was adopted in all the development sectors like road sector, irrigation facility sector, urban and rural electrification sector, power generation sectors, education sector both technical and non- technical, public health sectors, medical services sectors, agriculture and horticulture sectors, housing and urban development sector, etc. Regional imbalances in all these sectors are still visible between Kashmir and Jammu, if a true and an honest study is made in this regard. The apportionment of funds received from the Government of India for development schemes and projects were the sole legacies and priorities of Kashmir alone, with a brazen neglect of Jammu in this behalf. Same has been the case with the tourism sector. Jammu has a tremendous potential for tourism development and has abundant charming tourist’s spots which could be exploited for the development s of the tourism sector in Jammu. Just a max factor was added to Jammu in this regard like Patni Top tourist spot, when huge funds under central government schemes for tourism were utilised only in Kashmir. There are numerous such portraits of discriminations against Jammu and its people, when all such incidents cannot be mentioned here for want of space. The latest actions of high handedness of the rulers from Kashmir with people of Jammu, has come to surface, when J&K’s Roshni act allegedly appears to have been misused to change demography of Jammu. It is a big courage and grace on the part of the people of Jammu who have pocked all such indignations so for, with a conspicuous silence. Jammu needs development on all fronts, particularly when the new Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act-2019, has now come into existence, making the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir a union territory now, separating Ladakh from it. It should equally remove all the regional imbalances between the divisions of Kashmir & Jammu. Should still the people of Jammu remain calm and continue to suffer? Probably they will not. Let the ruling political powers in Delhi feel the pulse of the people of Jammu now and rectify all previous acts of hypocritical discriminations against them and ensure their equal and proper participation in the governance of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, ensuring a rapid and a fruitful development of Jammu region as a whole, which has a vast area under its command and is spread in hilly and border belts as well. Let prudence prevail over ruling masters, before Jammu asks for a separate union territory. Let the writing on the wall be read with utmost caution. Equally the politicians of Kashmir, of whichever party they belong to, should now concentrate on the development of Kashmir first and think of other political issues after wards, before Kashmir gets isolated as a paradise on earth without a sky. Alienation of Ladakh is the example. Let no more regions get detached from the famous Kashmir, the ‘Heaven on Earth’, as it is called as per the famous verbosity.(The author is a chartered consultant civil engineer who loves his mother land the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir very much)
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