Authorities – mere concepts

Multiple departments, offices and authorities to look after the sole objective of development of towns, cities etc may result in not reaping of desired ends and over it, creating additional authorities could result in creating more confusion especially when they are not structurally organised and when the concept of development is not elaborated. Harping on mere development without specifications of areas, priorities, achievable goals along with timeframes, targeted societal groups and the like often lead to an element of uncertainty and incertitude. In the momentary heat of finding a particular town or a city not ”developed” on expected lines has no solution in creating additional authorities but the ones already in place to look after development need to be properly energised , organised and empowered suitably. The assessment of their performance as also the levels of the support base from the Government must be an important and inalienable constituent of development process.
Distribution of a particular assignment even if on a continuous basis among different departments and authorities leads to multiplicity of approaches and solutions which very often may clash inter-se and could prove contrary to the planning and pattern of the other stake holders resulting in divergent approaches and solutions to the same problem. That is what a responsive and well organised administration should look into , prevent and thus reorganise its limited resources in order to obtain the optimum results from existing arrangements. However, if it was up to the discretion of the Government to declare any area to be a ”local area” for purposes of developing it and therefore appointing a Development Authority of a town or a city whatever under the Jammu and Kashmir development Act 1970 , it should be backed by and duly ensured that such an Authority was created and provided with the requisite infrastructure as well, so as to make, plan and implement various development schemes, formulate Master Plans etc for their respective areas. That invariably means providing all logistics to such an authority.
Earlier, there were such Development Authorities for a few towns only but the UT Government, only a few months ago, decided to appoint such Development Authorities to have more towns of Jammu region as well as of Kashmir valley getting properly focused on development . In the entire process, however, Housing and Urban Development Department , under the circumstances, is required to shoulder more responsibilities but it is seen that in vital areas like raising proper structure of the concerned Development Authorities, it has not come up to the desired expectations as no staff is provided to the newly created Development Authorities hence the process of development of the areas cannot take off. Here , it is pertinent to note as to whether the department concerned has been specifically told about the nuts and bolts of how staff could be provided, from where and whether siphoned from other departments where in excess or to have fresh recruitments made and the like. Obviously, in the absence of these preliminaries about the issue being clear and precise, pillorying the Housing and Urban Department will not be fair unless there are other reasons.
Who , therefore, is to apportion blame for the newly created Development Authorities remaining more in the air than on the ground just like the Tourism Development Authorities created some time back with a lot of gusto, enthusiasm and lot of tourism promotion agenda which sooner were found plagued with various problems to the extent of deciding winding them up. Common problems of mundane development are proper roads, water supply, proper electricity, sanitation, disposal of sewerage and other basic amenities. In this connection, however, without reasonable number of committed , dedicated and well trained staff and professionals , no department or any Authority can function nor held accountable for non-performance. In the instant case, what is required is to have the entire concept and conceiving of appointment of Development Authorities of additional towns of Jammu and Kashmir relooked into and devising cogent and pointed solutions to the issue impeding functioning thereof.