Mohammad Farooq Wani
In Kashmir, the use of wetlands for construction purposes has become almost a norm now. Be it the erstwhile Nallah-mar, Dood-Ganga and now Narkara wetland which is just two kilometers away from main Hyderpora with other water-bodies, however, this is no concern for the administration to take care of these. At times, it seems that its own men are associated with the land mafia which include some top officials and politicians. First, the administration itself issues advisories and notifies the land prohibiting constructions near the wetlands but, I wonder how the builders who, in connivance with administration, and the SMC allows these unscrupulous people to start over night earth filling and subsequent constructions. This also speaks volume of the double standards of Mr. Altaf Bukhari for his two controversial press statements apropos to Narakar wetland for IIT and IIM, which appeared in local English dailies recently.
Kashmir has been made a mess by the current BJP-PDP alliance and other vested interests whose double standards have adversely affected the people both economically and by making youth vulnerable. Bypass Hyderpora to Bemina and from Panthachok to Parimpora has become highly commercial but the irony is that they have been allowed to occupy the subways for use of different kind of materials like cars, furniture, timber and old cars for sale. The people have been caught in the middle but no one is ready to listen to their genuine demands and grievances. Even the SMC despite knowing about the mess on the Bypass deliberately wants young kids and students to walk through main road by putting their lives at risk. All this is done to allow influential business tycoons to use motorways for their business purposes. Now, car showrooms have started to sneak in the colonies – especially alongside the Bye pass colonies. In particular, it is “Shah Anwar Colony” which is worst hit. Here, a B.Ed college has started to run primary classes this year.
I wonder, on the one hand, the SMC says that it will not allow opening of business establishments and schools to run in the colonies but, on the other, it shuts eyes while seeing such establishments. This is how the administration, due to rampant corruption, hardly bothers for such issues which even pose a threat to the lives of school going children by allowing 40 seater school buses to ply in the colonies making interior roads jam packed, not to speak of the addition in the pollution levels. The officers in various departments seem to be working with no accountability and have been given free hand to cross every barrier in terms of misdeeds, wrongs and favors in the offices for many reasons
What does the administration want to prove by handcuffing a petty officials for accepting a bribe of 500-1000? What about the big fish(es) who receive kickbacks in lakhs but are not made accountable at any level? This has given rise to corruption in Kashmir. Corruption needs to be stopped at higher levels first. I wonder why gross violations by the influential or those having nexus with Ministers or bureaucrats go unnoticed. This is the reason why the administration has failed to acquire land for the IIM and the IIT as they are in league with the land grabbers who have patronage from the top hierarchy. No minister or bureaucrat can befool the public with press statements: people are intelligent enough to understand their game plan towards Kashmir valley. Similar institutions were sanctioned for Jammu as well but the irony for the administration is that such institutions have long back started functioning in despite the fact that opening of such institutions in both the regions was ordered at the same time.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org