BSP candidate says nothing changed post abrogation of Art 370

Sanjeev K Sharma
When I was a child, a Minister used to visit our area and promised employment to all but today I can see many youths in Kishtwar and other parts of the region working in shops even for Rs. 5000 per month while many others doing other petty jobs like that of a labourer to earn something for their livelihood.

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These were the words of Amit Kumar Bhagat, 28, BSP candidate from Udhampur-Kathua(U-K) Lok Sabha (LS) Constituency who is contesting Parliamentary elections for the first time.
Interacting exclusively with the Excelsior, Bhagat, a resident of Pochhal in Kishtwar who is an Arts graduate from University of Jammu claimed that he is active in social works for the last seven years and he has a brother also who is district BSP president for Kishtwar while his two sisters are teachers at some private school in Kishtwar and his father is a farmer and mother is housewife.
On changes in his area post-abrogation of Article 370, he said: “Behanji (BSP national president Mayawati) supported abrogation of Article 370 as she wanted that all the Central laws should be implemented in J&K and the poor should get all the facilities like reservation etc but today even rich and well off are getting benefits of weaker sections so where the poor will go.”
He said that even after the abrogation of Article 370 there is lot of bungling and J&K has got nothing as expected and even the much talked of Minimum Wages Act is seen nowhere.
“If I win these elections I will work for resolving the issues of youth like unemployment problem,” he said adding that there are seven hydel power projects in Chenab valley which have not given any job to the local youths.
“My another priority will be that these projects should give free electricity to the entire of Jammu region,” the BSP leader said.
He informed that issues of Special Police Officers (SPOs) and daily wagers are also in his list.
“These casual employees working in Government sectors should be given some money on retirement along with pension benefits,” Bhagat further said.
He claimed that only those who gave 40-50 years to National Conference (NC) and Congress enjoyed the fruits of development rest all suffered discrimination and apathy.
“On winning the first work I will do is to ensure that an SPO on retirement gets at least Rs. 10 lakh with Rs. 6000-7000 as monthly pension and presently they are not given anything despite giving prime time of their lives to the Police Department,” he said.
The BSP candidate also said that if Ministers, Parliamentarians and Legislators get pensions for working only for five years then why not the SPOs get the same.
“Similarly, daily wagers work throughout the day but never get timely salaries and they are also not regularized. So far they only received false assurances,” he said claiming that corruption is at its peak in U-K Constituency and poor people have no say anywhere while a Government employee is overburdened and instead of mandatory eight hours, they are being forced to work for 15-16 hours.
“There is no proper transfer policy in the Government sector here and a non-influential employee continues to stay in hilly and remote areas for years together while those with some political and other support enjoys prized postings as there is no fairness,” Amit Bhagat said.
He claimed that schemes of the Union Government like RMSA etc have failed to give any benefit to the poor despite they being highly qualified while the new procedure of recruitments of Agniveers in Army leaves the youth to risk their lives for four years and then they will have to survive without any source of income.
“Big projects which come here only extend benefits to bigwigs like contractors and other rich people selectively while a poor neither gets some contracts nor any other employment though our lands are taken and our mountains are cut for such projects and we remain languishing in poverty,” he maintained adding: “School remain shut here for most of the time and the teachers get salaries while staying at home and they mostly remain busy in politics.”
Bhagat also said that the power projects in Chenab valley hire the vehicles of influential people who even receive payments for doing nothing and if some poor raises voice against all such wrongdoings, he is attacked.
“The trade unionists at the power projects get money from leaders as well as from the companies and they have a number of FIRs registered against them but no one dares to arrest them and these trade union leaders misguide the poor and all the administrative system here has collapsed,” he continued.
The BSP candidate also claimed that so far the power projects in Chenab valley never provided any facility under Corporate Social Responsibility to the areas affected by their working.
“There is no rehabilitation, no resettlement, no school and no medical facility from these projects while they earn in billions and are surrounded by extremely poor localities,” he said.
“Loans are very much in talks these days but the reality is that if a farmer takes some loan and fails to repay it then the administration seals his land and house while influential people get loans and leave the country and no one touches them,” Bhagat further said adding that Goods and Service Tax has broken the back of small traders.
He said that if he wins the LS elections he will get the loans of poor and farmers waived off.
On road accidents in Chenab valley, the BSP leader held Police and Traffic cops responsible to some extent.
“The road construction is still not complete here and the concerned authorities have given the contract to some influential person who works as per his personal interests and convenience and all the waste is thrown into Chenab,” he continued.
Bhagat also said that women should be given justice and domestic violence should end.
“I visited many remote areas like Nagseni, Dachchan, Tregam etc where people still live in mud houses which gets damaged during snowfall and still there are many homes which neither have Jal (water) nor Nal (tap),” Bhagat said.
He said that his party fully supports him for the issues he is contesting LS elections and in this regard BSP central coordinator, Raja Ram visited Kishtwar recently for campaigning in his favour.
“Apart from that we organized 48 public meetings and two Jan Sabhas in Kathua and similar programmes in Udhampur also and we had general programmes in Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts too,” Bhagat said.
“BSP workers are busy in every block to ensure my victory. I only want Roti, Kapra, Makan (food, cloth, house), survival with dignity, employment and justice for all,” he maintained adding: “Many mothers, sisters and youth are with me and I can easily secure 4.5 to 5 lakh votes in these elections as I remained active for the last seven years for my society and gave my whole time to my society while the two popular contesting candidates here never showed their face to anyone here and they also remained Ministers and Parliamentarians despite which the Constituency lacks developments.”