We have reason to accuse the Government of meting out step-motherly treatment to Jammu tourism. This is notwithstanding tall claims made by the Tourism Department in the District Development Board meetings which are usually presided by no less a person than the Chief Minister of the State. There is lot of paper work and verbosity put to use in the Board meetings but it turns just damp squib when things are examined on the ground. Be it the Patnitop or Mantalai or Sanasr-Mansar or the Tawi Lake or the Ropeway, take whatever you may, these much trumpeted projects have jumped the time line several times. Their present status does not warrant their completion even in the umpteenth time line fixed year after year. Our contention, based on the history of tourism Development in Jammu region suggests that the Government is least interested in monitoring the progress of these projects. It may be so because the Jammu eldership inside and outside the legislature is imbecile and ineffective. One is tempted to assert that as part of the Coalition Government, Jammu BJP leadership has become more acquiescent and hence unresponsive to the sentiments of their constituencies. This state of affairs is unheard of in a democratic arrangement. An honestly responsible public leadership would put the Government on tenterhooks for not giving equitable treatment to the tourist projects identified for the Jammu reagon. It is not only the paucity of funds that gives a robust pretext to the Government to play truant. The malady lies somewhere deep and that is the canker of discrimination that has been eating into the vital of all successive Governments.
We are again focussing on two or three important projects related to tourism and civic health system. Previously as well, we have touched on these issues and brought to the notice of the Government how it is falling prey to parochial tendency that is no more acceptable. In the cases of Tawi artificial lake, or Jammu Ropeway or Sewerage system, there are clear instructions from the court in a PIL hearing. Yet the Government chooses to give scant attention to court instructions. In his status reports submitted to the court the Government counsel usually does good deal of rambling and circumventing the crux of the issue that invites reprimand from the court.
The court has observed that not even 50 per cent of work has been done on these projects despite passage of a number of years and despite the projects jumping several time lines. What is brewing at the Government level and particularly the Tourism Department level, we fail to understand. Will these projects come out of the maze at any foreseeable time or not is a million dollar question. In every hearing, the State attorney comes out with a new pretext for delayed or deferred or even abandoned work. He brings the onus to the doorsteps of the contactor or to paucity of funds both of which, when considered objectively, are the creation of the Government itself. So many pretexts are made for non-completion of the artificial lake. Sometimes it is said that first the monsoon nullahs disgorging into Tawi have to be treated before the artificial lake is made. Sometimes the Departmental Environment and Ecology or the Jammu Municipal Corporation are held responsible for allowing pollution of the waters of Tawi for which reason it is futile to pursue the project of the lake. We would like to know from authorities what DPR means> Do not the planners take all situations into consideration when they draft the project and work out the estimates? Why the lame excuses at the end of the day? Why should the contractors cry foul for inability of the authorities to release funds in time and thus force him to abandon the work? This all seem bizarre and laden with corrupt practices. The Government know that people in Jammu fully understand why the concerned authorities are soft paddling with these issues and why the Jammu leadership is tongue tied? The Tourist Department must change its infamous attitude towards Jammu tourism, shun discrimination and mete out equitable justice to all the three regions of the State.