Good Bye Kashmir; Hello Jammu!

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For Mantri’s, It’s Already Darbar Move

SRINAGAR: For ministers of ruling PDP and BJP combine, it’s already Darbar move.  Most of the ministers have locked their office chambers in the civil secretariat, Srinagar and have flown to Jammu, perhaps to be in a relaxed mood ahead of opening of Durbar in the winter capital.

According to reporters who visited the Secretariat on Friday there was hardly any minister present.  “Civil secretariat is working without ministers. Barring a few ministers, a majority of them prefer to remain out of office,” one of the government official said.

He said that visitors, who are allowed entry into the secretariat after 1 pm, hardly get an opportunity to meet ministers and get their grievances redressed. “It is an unprecedented scenario witnessed this time in the civil secretariat. The chambers of ministers are seen either closed or visitors waiting for hours in vain,”

The visitors alleged that instead of meeting people in the civil secretariat, most of the ministers try to avoid people and stay away from the civil secretariat. “Industries and Commerce Minister, Education Minister and the Revenue Minister haven’t visited the civil secretariat. We have been told by the officials that they are on tours to various parts of the state,” one of the visitor said.

Sources in various departments within the Secretariat said this is perhaps for the first time in years, that ministers continue to stay away from the offices and have hardly attended for a couple of days or at the most three or four days during the last over three weeks.

Several visitors complained that though some ministers stay in their offices till afternoon but when it is time to meet visitors, they either leave the civil secretariat or call a meeting of officers so that they don’t have to face the public and listen to their grievances.

“I had reached Srinagar around 11 am and waited till 1 pm to get an entry into the civil secretariat. An official of the Education Department forwarded my file but once I reached the office of the education Minister, he was not there,” said Imran Ahmad, a resident of Baramullah.

People alleged that BJP ministers are currently away from Srinagar and are not expected to be back now.

Truant ministers is hardly a new phenomenon but what is amazing is the lackadaisical and cavalier attitude of ministers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir at a time when the state is in the midst of political uncertainty and deep problems-both political and governance related. The political class of the state then does not really care about people; all they care about is office and the spoils of office. Given that they are in power and may enjoy immunity from criticism and accountability, but what about the call of conscience and pledge to serve people? People – whom  elected representatives pledge to serve- are left high and dry because of the non availability of ministers. The vacuum that is created leads to misery, despair and problems for people- especially poorer segments of society who cannot afford to go to Jammu. Politicians and ministers here appear to bank on short public memory. Come election time, the very same ministers will plead for votes and promise the moon to people. But alas, the irony is that the very same people who have to run pillar to post to access public officials and ministers will indeed for them! 

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