Governance at doorsteps

In the desk book of political science a Deputy Commissioner, the head of the district administration is called the eyes, the ears and the hands of the Government. His opinion, his decisions and his policy or advice carry the big weight with the Government in all administrative matters. They do not need to be briefed on their powers and authority but in a popular Government their role comes under direct or indirect scrutiny with the cabinet, the legislature and with the people at large. This is the reason why a DC is usually the chairperson of the District Development Board that meets annually or even at more times in a year.
The Chief Minister has recently addressed a meeting of the District Commissioners of Kashmir valley. Obviously, a meeting in which besides the DCs, the top bureaucracy and police echelons are present carries much weight as far as the developmental projects and programmes of each district are concerned. The Chief Minister was briefed on numerous projects underway in different districts some of these completed and some still in the process of completion. Evidently, an assessment of all major projects in different districts came under purview. It is customary on the part of the Chief Minister to issue advanced instructions to the DCs particularly in emphasizing upon them that projects underway in their respective districts should be expeditiously pursue and completed in time. These instructions were particularly relevant to the centrally sponsored schemes in the valley. The Chief Minister has emphasized upon the DCs to respond to the grievances of the people with an improved mechanism. It has been seen that the number of public grievances is increasing rapidly and the huge pendency makes it almost impossible for any Government to do justice to the deserving.
It will be recalled that former Chief Minister late Bakshi Hulas Muhammad had fixed Saturdays for hearing public grievances. Thousands of aggrieved persons flocked to his “durbar” and he patiently listened to them. He is said to have done more of good governance through public durbars than through passing on files. We would suggest that all Ministers of different ranks, MLAs and MLCs should fix days to meet people in their respective constituencies, listen to the grievances of the people and facilitate resolution of their problems. Why only DCs should be asked to travel to far off places in their districts and make an assessment of the presence of Government there. Even the Chief Minister should also fix one day in a fortnight to hold public durbar and have first hand information on the current situation in the State. While we appreciate that the DCs have been asked to bring administration to the doorsteps of the people, we strongly recommend that elected representatives of the people of all ranks and status should meet with the people of respective constituencies at least twice in a fortnight.
We appreciate Chief Minister’s concerns about the development of the State. By enquiring about various projects and their progress in different districts, she has conveyed a message to the DCs and other administrative officers that they are answerable to her and to the people. This is one of the good methods of maintaining sustained interest is numerous developmental projects. However, accountability is also of great importance. Not only the DCs or the Divisional Commissioners have to be made answerable, even the departmental secretaries and commissioners, too, need to be reminded of their responsibilities in expeditious disposal of long of short pending cases closely related to developmental activities.

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