PDP Calls for Protest on Jan 5 Against Power, Gas Crisis

SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said after shrinking elsewhere in the state the ruling National Conference is trying to hold on to Srinagar by adopting a strategy of political isolation and official repression. Addressing a meeting of the party office bearers and prominent workers here the party president Mehbooba Mufti said while the party has landed the state in serious crisis of governance it is engaged in dirty tricks to keep Srinagar as a political hostage to stay in contention for power.

Party leaders Naeem Akhtar, Syed Altaf Bukhari and district president Mohammad Ashraf Mir, MLC also participated in the interaction that discussed the protest program of the party slated for January 5. The party is holding demonstrations at all district headquarters of Kashmir to protest the crisis created by shortage of electricity, gas and rations apart from price rise and victimisation of youth on false charges.

Mehbooba said Srinagar was the worst sufferer of NC misrule and emotional exploitation in the past but it continued to play games with the people of the city and was using all unfair means to prevent a political contest to retain its false monopoly. She said thousands of youth had been framed in false cases and in spite of chief minister ‘s repeated announcements the cases had not been withdrawn. ” Some of these youth are being forced to carry out the dirty tricks of NC to ensure that the youth in general continue to feel alienated and a viable opposition does not emerge and the party continues to pose as the only representative even as it survives primarily on the election boycott.”

Mehbooba said the decades old rule of NC had rendered Srinagar without a democratic voice and whereas rest of the state had achieved the democratic option of choosing their representatives, the boycott politics was promoted by the ruling party to benefit from. She said development process in the city too was guided either by narrow political considerations or the objective of providing contracts to favourite contractors and suppliers with major chunk of funds going into the pockets of politicians. “Even the installation of small amenities like street lights had been politicised. On the one hand the party sold out water and power resources to stay in power and on the other hand it is doling out lights as if these are given from the huge personal assets of NC rulers”. She said it was a pity that even after ruling the state for nearly five decades the discourse of development under NC had not gone beyond street lights which hardly ever have power, lanes, drains and menial jobs.

Mehbooba said power crisis in the state had again reached the level where from the previous coalition had lifted it as a result of reform following years of deterioration under various NC regimes. The inability of the government to streamline gas supply had thrown people back into dark ages and in subzero temperatures people had to remain in queue for days to gather to get a cylinder of LPG, she said. ” Such a state of affairs is not witnessed even in places like Somalia and Afghanistan ” she said. The gas crisis, she said is another anticlimax of Omar Abdullah’s election promise to provide additional subsidy on cooking gas. Contrary to that, not even unsubsidised gas was available in Kashmir, she added.

Referring to the huge unemployment problem Mehbooba said the jobs in government had once again been put on sale. She said in the name of fast tracking of recruitment to nearly 1 lac government jobs a favourite person of rulers had been appointed as a consultant even as he has retired many years back and served for years after retirement under this government. ” This has made the entire process of recruitment suspect as there are enough government officials of integrity available in the institutions responsible for selection to government jobs”  she said and added hundreds of favourites have been appointed after retirement even as the state has more than 6 lac jobless youth.

Mehbooba said the PDP in its capacity as the main voice of people would continue to focus on problems of the citizens who had become victims of worst governance under the present regime. She said much as NC would like the PDP would never compromise on issues concerning the welfare of people and ” NC can remain assured that its dirty tricks would not work in future in the face of greater awareness among people”.

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