Grievances redressal through ‘Mulaqaat’

That residents of many villages situated within 0 to 6 kilometres from the International Border (IB) may not get a feeling that their fate is that of facing neglect and run down, the initiative of ”Mulaqaat Programme” of mass contact and redressing of their long grievances can only be welcome with expectations to yield encouraging results. It may be recalled that through oversight, inadvertently, wilfully or whatever reason, the residents of these villages had been denied the benefits of reservation of 3 per cent last year which in fact is granted to them for obtaining Government jobs, admission in professional institutions and post graduate courses and the like exactly on the pattern of people living along the Line of Control (LoC). The ‘Mulaqaat Programme’ is all set to provide them due justice in the sense of their inclusion in the reservation list. The prospective beneficiaries are from as many as 43 villages, who now stand ”counted”, included and duly considered. If ‘windows’ and opportunities are reiteration of the Government stand about the stress being laid on public grievances redressing system and to make the same function on participative basis where interaction, face to face, was the direct mode of making the mechanism workable in a swift and foolproof manner. More of similar initiatives were not only going to give a new meaning on the ground about the procedure of redressing grievances and problems which in ordinary course cannot be attended to let alone resolved but create lot of confidence and trust in the administrative mechanism of the Government. It is beyond comprehension as to how Social Welfare Department while declaring 508 villages in the districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua as areas adjoining the International Border and even making amendments in Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules 2005 could exclude the concerned 43 villages. Had an aggrieved person in the Mulaqaat Programme initiated by the Lieutenant Governor last year not made startling revelations about his village not being included in the reservation list though falling in the eligibility criteria in terms of location, the entire matter would have perhaps been swept under the carpet and over years perhaps having become too difficult to settle. It is highly commendable that the Lieutenant Governor took due notice of the lapse and asked the concerned department to take suitable action in the matter. More scrutiny and going deep into the issue brought out that not one but 43 villages were left out. It is imperative that a proper survey and cross checking of the data collected in such sensitive matters was done to ensure that such mistakes of greater ramifications did not take place. The left out 43 villages with a total population of 1.22 lakh would have perhaps in the absence of the “Mulaqaat Programme” been deprived of their legitimate right which having now been resolved raises few questions about the working of the Social Welfare Department and an absence of maintaining a proper record of relevant data and updated figures with relevant details. We highly appreciate such innovative and people friendly drives whereby interaction between the executive – the top hierarchy of administration and the people take place and issues settled on the spot. Perhaps, the cue was taken from the encouraging results of the phases of “Back to Villages” drive of the UT Administration when the administrative officers visited villages, stayed overnight, listened to the grievances of the people, took stock of the ongoing projects and in most of the cases, accorded sanctions and took other decisions that were due for quite a long time. Under such type of lapses as happened with the 43 villages, it is important that confirmation reports are obtained from the respective district authorities and the Social Welfare Department respectively that not a single village under their jurisdiction had remained bereft of the reservation benefit of 3 percent. What we expect now is issuing of formal orders speedily to the above effect so as to restore more confidence in the village dwellers in the system.