Flawed and Warped Accountability

Flawed and Warped Accountability

As ministers and the minions of the administration scurry and hasten to be seen on TV channels and go through these motions, the prosaic fact is that governance in Kashmir is in shambles. This is perhaps best reflected in the condition of roads, lanes and by-lanes- all potted and dotted by pot holes and dips that amount to mini craters. The condition of the road system makes driving and commuting an arduously unpleasant experience. Vehicle drivers, commuters, pedestrians have to actually negotiate their way around circuitous obstacles. This might be the least of the problems, however. The main consequence of bad roads and their corollaries might lie in the impact on public health. Dust and grime generated by the odious road system leads to public health issues, especially among the vulnerable segments of society- children and the elderly. The administration’s response to these conditions has been to do a patch work of roads and assorted road systems. This, it is pertinent to note, has been done after the Durbar move. The lowers rungs and echelons of the administration has moved into action only after the bureaucracy and the “mainstream” political class moved to the summer capital.  The inference that can be drawn here is that the nature of accountability is warped in Kashmir. That is, components of the administration hold themselves accountable only to the power-political class but not the people. Ideally, accountability must flow sideways, horizontally and vertically. But, in Kashmir, it only flows upwards and that too in a tepid and bland manner. In the process, people suffer in myriad ways.( The condition of the road system is only the most visible aspect or sign of accountability , its warped nature and the overall drift and tenor of governance in Kashmir). The irony is that even the  “mainstream” political class is not sensitive to the plight of the people but it is on these very themes or issues- governance and development- that the “ mainstream” political class seeks votes from people. Vote seeking on prosaic issues is then politicized and employed for/towards other ends. This amounts to what may be termed as  buying of votes which begets  a flawed and warped governance framework. This breed’s corruption, among other things, becomes a matter of logrolling and politics of patronage. The state then becomes an instrument for patronage disbursal and rent seeking. Ultimately, people suffer. The overall conclusion that can be drawn is that the “ mainstream” cannot even deliver on these issues and is a failure in these prosaic dimensions too.

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