Good governance remains confined to statements
JAMMU, Jan 1: Though several new commitments are likely to be made in the Governor’s Address to Joint Session of Legislature tomorrow morning yet State Government has failed to honour numerous announcements made in the Governor’s Address of past two years. This has put a serious question mark on the performance of the PDP-BJP Coalition Government, which otherwise is making tall claims about being the entirely different dispensation the State has ever witnessed.
The Governor’s Address is drafted by the Government itself and is approved by the State Cabinet in its special meeting generally convened few days prior to the commencement of the Budget Session. The implementation of all the announcements in the Governor’s Address is the responsibility of the concerned departments and Government is required to ensure proper follow-up action that too in a time bound manner so as to ensure good governance.
However, during the detailed exercise carried out by EXCELSIOR it came to the fore that several commitments made in the Governor’s Address to the Joint Session of Legislature on January 2, 2017 and on May 25, 2016 have yet not been implemented by the PDP-BJP Coalition Government thereby undermining the importance of the Legislature.
As far as Governor’s Address of January 2, 2017 is concerned, it was mentioned that State Government was seriously pursuing the project of development of Tawi River Front on the pattern of Sabarmati River in Gujarat and a pilot project of approximately 3.5 kilometer of the river stretch has been identified to be taken up in the first phase.
However, there is no progress on this project despite lapse of one year and Housing and Urban Development Department is still groping in dark vis-à-vis source of funding even for the first phase of the project. Astonishingly, during the past one year the Ministers and MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party came up with numerous statements mentioning that work on the project will begin shortly.
Similarly, it was mentioned in the Governor’s Address that out of the five Medical Colleges sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare construction work was in progress at Anantnag, Baramulla and Rajouri and for the Medical Colleges at Doda and Kathua the work will begin soon. Moreover, it was mentioned that funding for the Cancer Institute at Government Medical College will be secured from the Government of India shortly.
Neither work could be started on Doda and Kathua Medical Colleges during the past one year nor proper sanction obtained from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for Cancer Institute at Jammu. Even after the lapse of one year nobody in the Government is in a position to specify the time-frame for start of work on Medical Colleges as well as Cancer Institute. In this way, these announcements have failed to become reality.
Augmentation of water supply to Jammu city from River Chenab was also one of the announcements in the Governor’s Address and it was mentioned that Union Ministry of Urban Development has been approached for obtaining funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). However, till date the Government has not received any commitment about financial assistance for the project and major parts of Jammu city continue to reel under shortage of drinking water.
As far as conservation of historic monuments is concerned, it was announced that Government will take up 50 listed structures for conservation and restoration. But for want of sufficient financial assistance the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums is finding it difficult to honour the announcement made by the Governor.
What to talk of taking up of 50 listed monuments for conservation even the restoration work of historic Mubarak Mandi Complex is going on at a snail’s pace thereby exposing the non-serious approach of the PDP-BJP Government towards rich heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.
Similar is the fate of announcement regarding establishing high standard sports infrastructure in every district and making sports an important element of education. This is notwithstanding the fact that even committees at provincial level were constituted by the General Administration Department for creation of indoor halls in each and every district of the State by utilizing the funds available under Prime Minister’s Development Package.
The announcement regarding start of Information Technology and IT enabled services in 220 schools across the State has also failed to become reality due to lack of seriousness on the part of the concerned authorities.
What to talk of announcements made in Governor’s Address 2017 numerous commitments of Governor’s Address 2016 have also failed to become reality despite lapse of one and half year.
In 2016 Governor’s Address it was announced that to promote the health standards of women and provide basic and critical gynecological care to women every district will have a model maternity hospital. However, there is no major development in this regard till date. What to talk of new model maternity hospitals even the existing hospitals at the district level are short of facilities required for gynecological care of the womenfolk.
It was also mentioned that Government was committed to effectively implement the Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA) in order to empower the people and also make the Government machinery accountable in every manner.
There are still several lacunas in the effective implementation of this landmark legislation despite the fact that implementation of this Act in letter and spirit has also remained the concern of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Moreover, during the past one and half year no step has been initiated to bring more services under the purview of this Act although necessity of same was highlighted by the Chief Minister in numerous meetings with the Administrative Secretaries.
In 2016 Governor’s Address it was also mentioned that to preserve environmental heritage three eco-battalions will be created to help in protecting the ecology and environment of the State. However, even spade work in this regard has not been conducted till date.
Similarly, no major step has been initiated vis-a-vis announcement about encouraging public private partnership in the technical education. There are several more commitments which have remained on the papers till date.