‘Unemployment, price hike have shaken people’
Says need to bridge gap between public-bureaucracy
JAMMU, Dec 3: Claiming that Governor’s or Lt Governor’s Rule is no match to the elected popular Government in the democracy, former J&K Chief Minister and senior All India Congress Committee leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad today urged the Union Government to restore Statehood to the Jammu and Kashmir and announce Assembly elections immediately after winters.
Addressing a large public rally at Rajouri today, Azad said the Governor or the Lt Governor may be very good, sincere and effective but he has to work under the directions and command of the Central Government. The bureaucracy runs the administration under him. Their prime job is to work in the Secretariat or their respective offices. But an elected public representative mostly remains within the public, listening to their grievances and projecting the same with the concerned officers for immediate redressal.
Referring to the sufferings of the general public, especially from Rajouri-Poonch districts, Azad said there is lack of contact between the bureaucracy and general public. Most of the officers are inaccessible to the public. Under such circumstances, they are eagerly looking ahead for an elected democratic Government. He said any form of Government cannot be better than an elected popular Government and the BJP Govt at the Centre must hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir after completing Delimitation process immediately and restoring Statehood to it.
The AICC leader criticized the present Government for the development deficit in J&K and alleged that it has immensely suffered after abrogation of Article 370. The general public suffered due to bandhs and protests. The political leaders were detained and now allowed to meet or visit public for long. Then COVID and lock downs stalled all the political and other activities.
Azad regretted that all the political activities remained suspended in J&K for the last about three years. It was in fact a turmoil period and public sufferings have immensely increased. Just for the last few weeks the political rallies and activities are being allowed. The people are coming out openly with their grievances and problems as he found during his visits to many parts of Kashmir and Jammu region. The most common thing which the public projected every where, is the lack of access to the administration and communication gap between the bureaucracy and public. The majority people in J&K want return of popular government and Statehood, he remarked.
Azad expressed serious concern over increase in rate of unemployment in J&K and said that there is no private sector as a result of which both unemployed youths and skilled and non- skilled workers are squarely dependent on Government jobs and other Govt sponsored developmental works, but unfortunately neither jobs are being created nor any developmental work is taking place. He said the unemployment in J&K has increased all time high from 4 % to 22% at present. The educated youth is frustrated due to very less job opportunities. There is urgent need to secure jobs as well as land of the locals, Azad maintained.
He said the ever increasing inflation and price rise of petrol, diesel, cooking gas, pulses, meat, vegetables, cooking oil etc has made the lives of poor people pitiable. The poor and lower middle class families are unable to sustain themselves. Due to COVID, many people have already lost their jobs and work and trying hard to feed their families, on the other hand uncontrolled price rise has made their life further horrible. The Government must be liberal while imposing taxes and it must reduce tax on the fuel and other essential commodities for the public welfare.
Azad urged upon the Delimitation Commission to complete the process of ongoing delimitation of the Assembly constituencies on war footing as it has already consumed much time to finish its task. After that the Prime Minister and Home Minister must honour their promise of restoring Statehood to J&K. And with this, Centre may declare elections immediately after coming winters, Azad added.
“ I am convinced that there will be no growth and development in the region in the absence of an elected Government. The present Government must realize this fact. The much hyped development by the ruling regime in J&K is mere on papers, on ground nothing is visible,” Azad regretted.
Azad congratulated the people from the twin districts of Pir Pranjal for having cordial relationship with the Army and security forces. He said the people of this belt have suffered badly due to militancy and they are facing it boldly in close coordination with the Armed forces by remaining on the fore front. He also referred to the ceasefire violations along the LoC and losses suffered by the border people. He said people of this region, specially Paharis and Gujjars should have strong bonds and they should not fall prey to the petty politics being played by political parties. He also cautioned the people to remain vigilant from the politics of hatred and exploitation on the basis of religion being played by some politicians.
Senior Congress leaders Shabir Ahmed Khan (DCC president), Sain Abdul Rashid, president Municipal Committee Thannamandi Shakeel Mir and DDC Member Qayoom Mir also spoke on the occasion.