The Politics of Deception

Altaf Hussain

POLITICS is the game of deceptions and the inhabitants of District Budgam have become the victims of it yet again. This time, the issue is the U-turn that the administration took in shifting the proposed DRDO 500 bed hospital from Reshipora in Budgam to Khonmoh in Awantipora.The land for this developmental project in the said district had been designated 10 years back. The site was left unutilized over these years leaving land donors in a conundrum with the uncertainty surrounding crude plans. Now, the cock and bull story spiraled around the shifting plans of the project are some technical reasons — that the soil testing report has indicated that the land is unfit for such a project and hence the sumersault.

The district Budgam is popular for its tourist attractions. Even as it has been significantly near to the summer capital, it has invariably been ignored in terms of progress and has as such faced developmental issues. Those incharge and entrusted with the responsibility of the district have ironically been the biggest roadblocks instead of being game-changers. The case of the land meant for the new hospital is a case in point.

One can only wonder, what made the Government change its plan at the eleventh hour? People (land donors) are up in arms against the State Administration for hoodwinking them. They had provided almost 78 kanals of land for the hospital that too free of cost. Instead of rewarding this goodwill gesture, the Admin in turn betrayed them last minute. Upsetting it must be, as time and again the land donors’ hopes were discouraged by successive governments.

It is a grotesque dereliction of duty. Let’s even suppose there are some technical issues behind this administrative flip flop. However, there are still feasible sites in the adjoining areas of Patwav, Paller, Ichgam, Rakhe Arath in the District which are geographically fit for construction. Recently, a high-level delegation led by Divisional commissioner assured land donors of all possible benefits. How can one buy their argument now?

The eleventh hour shift of place intelligibly gives a sense of regional favoritism, a story not too rare in the case of district Budgam which has often been a casualty of such political maneuvers.

This incident should be a wake-up call for people of Budgam especially for Reshipora residents whose land designated decades ago for a hospital, property worth lakhs in the form of poplar trees which were axed for the proposed construction and land-filling went down the drain.

So implausible is this last minute sumersault that some Budgam residents aren’t in the wrong in their speculation that an incognito business group is involved to secure huge dividends at the cost of the livelihood of thousands of land donors.

In absence of responsible supervision (from ministries to magistrates), Budgam constituency continues to suffer from Institutional and structural lapses. It deserves the needful and its equitable share. It is lagging far behind in terms of its Tertiary health care services. As the surge in covid cases in the District is huge, standing 2nd in a row of all other Districts, the 500-bed covid hospital earmarked should come up at the designated place. The Administrative manoeuvre on the horns of a dilemma is discriminatory in nature. This kind of inimical approach may kindly be ceased and a deliberate attempt to let the District Budgam lag behind in development should halt now.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is a Mass communication student at Kashmir University

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