KSCDS Aghast At Mishandling Of LPG Crisis

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Blames Govt For Bringing Humiliation To State People 

SRINAGAR – The Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies Monday lambasted the National Conference-led coalition government for what it termed as its “wrong approach and gross mishandling of LPG issue that instead of bringing relief to the people has brought humiliation and dishonor to them at the hands of various authorities of the central government as well as the oil companies.”

In a daylong conference at the north Kashmir town of Baramulah with Prof Hameedah Nayeem in chair, the KCSDS members accused the state government of portraying entire Kashmiri society as beggars while making repeated appeals for increase of subsidized LPG cap during their meetings with the prime minister and other ministers, whose contradictory statements have only added to the humiliation of the Kashmiri society.

The KCSDS blamed the centre for being insensitive to the ground realities of the hilly state of Jammu and Kashmir “ever since they had tied forcible nuptial knot with the state in 1947.” Had it not been so, the planners in New Delhi without any reminders ought to have known about the variation in energy consumed in Kashmir vis-a-vis any other state in plains. “This is not for the first time that the principle of equal opportunity has been violated but was a routine with J&K state so far as its growth and development is concerned,” it said. 

“The continued discrimination with the state on growth and development had resulted in huge trade deficit, growing unemployment, dependence on central devolutions and imports,” the KCSDS said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir as an independent entity was self reliant till 1947 with balance of trade three times advantageous to it but now its trade deficit had reached Rs 33,000 crore out of total inter-state trade of Rs 40,000 crore. 

Because of insufficient financial support from the government of India, KCSDS said, successive state governments had failed to invest in areas that could have generated enough resources. “In fact the super imposed state governments as well as the central governments, over past 65 years, have miserably failed to plan for state’s growth and development in consonance with, and matching, the growing demands from the society,” it said. 

The KCSDS said the state had borne enormous losses on account of plunder of its water, mineral and forest resources. “Had the rulers paid serious attention towards harnessing the hydro-power potential of the state during past 65 years, our annual revenue generation from only this sector today would have been around Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 100,000 crore,” it said, adding that instead of benefiting from its water resources, the successive governments had allowed their plunder by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation growing on the profits earned from JK projects alone. 

“The present dispensation despite their tall claims has failed to remove the illegal and unconstitutional occupation of NHPC over four major power projects that can fetch the state around Rs 5,000 crore annually” the KCSDS said, adding that out of this revenue the state could afford to subsidize Rs 500 crore to weaker sections on LPG cylinders and there would have been no need to go with a begging bowl to the central ministers.

The local civil society members appreciated the role of KCSDS in taking up the issues of public interest and exposing the governments on their failures. They assured the organization of their absolute support whenever required. The conference also deliberated on various other issues and it was decided to hold round table conferences and expert group meetings on some of the vital issues, including misuse of the agricultural land. 

The conference was attended by noted industrialist and social activist, Shakeel Qalander, former president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Mubeen Shah, Advocate Irfan Hafiz, writer Z G Muhammad, besides a cross section of society from Baramullah and its adjoining areas. (KNS) 

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