It has been two months that the current PDP-BJP coalition government has assumed office. Both parties secured majority in their respective areas of influence, i.e Kashmir and Jammu province respectively, but none could get an outright majority on its own. Both parties scored their electoral victories on the back of big promises, especially the promise of Good governance. The people of J and K State have often suffered, not only because of the disputed legacy of the State, but because of inept and corrupt politicians and administrators. The previous NC-congress coalition also failed miserably in delivering any substantial promises and was shown the exit door during the recent elections. It is early days yet to make any judgement on the performance of the current Govt, but the right time to understand the priorities of this ruling coalition.
The coalition was formed after long discussions and deliberations between the two sides. The PDP, on its part, sold the idea of aligning with BJP on the sole reason that the ruling BJP at the center will let loose its purse strings and hence the State would not have any roadblocks on its way to progress and development. Be that as it may, the developments so far in the State show no match between the stated goals and the Governments own priorities. If one were to see the resolve of this Govt in delivering good governance, all he/ she needs to do is undertake a road journey form Srinagar to Jammu. The dilapidated condition of this road is enough to puncture this Govts claims that it is serious about delivering an efficient rule to the people of the State. This Govt has often said that tourism and its revival in the State remains one of its focus areas. One wonders about the seriousness of these claims if one travels not only on the Jammu-Srinagar highway but other inter district roads in the valley. One can understand the horror of using these roads when one actually travels on them, either using public or private transport.
Not only is the Jammu-Srinagar the only road link connecting Kashmir to the rest of India, it also functions as the backbone for transport not only of people, but also of goods. It is not only important for the tourism sector in the valley, but also in delivering essential goods, like food, vegetables, medicine etc to the valley. Going by the current condition of the road, when the weather is fairly stable, it is not difficult to imagine what kind of horror it will be when there are heavy rains. Such roads not only add to the physical discomfort of people who use these roads regularly, but also add to a lot of wasted time and increased cost of goods in the valley. After all, the transporter will also make good his loss of time using these horrible roads, from the end user, which happens to be the commoner in Kashmir.
The Chief Minster recently said that he wants Gulmarg to be Indias Davos. People in the State, whose interests the Chief Minister is supposedly serving, know the hollowness of this claim. The CM has also recently been seen with Bollywood celebrities, purportedly doing his two bits about the development of tourism in Kashmir. For the people of the whole State, this is not only ironic but reinforces their sense of déjà vu. We as a people know that there is no match to our politicians when it comes to making outlandish claims. But the people who can vote a party to power can equally feel disgusted with bad performance and give them an electoral burial at the election time. Time to take cognizance of the ground realities, Mr CM and not get carried away by your own partys PR.
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