C M Sharma
Matching with his professional style of working, Manoj Sinha, the second Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has succinctly spelled out his top most priorities during the simple swearing in ceremony at Srinagar on Friday the 7th of August 2020. His resolve to provide corruption free administration and to push measures for inclusive development and direct dialogue with the people to end menace of terrorism can’t be anything other than welcome. Mr Sinha has raised the expectations of people, particularly amongst the social circles of Jammu division, very high.
All politicians no doubt have the acumen of voicing peoples’ sentiments in public, but their follow up actions generally belie such utterances. It goes to the credit of Manoj Sinha however that he has managed to keep his clean and progressive image intact all along the 38 years of his public life. The seasoned and honest politician from Uttar Pradesh with his “Vikas Purush (man of development)” tag and M.Tech (Civil Engineering) qualification from BHU seems to have brought freshness, technology and versatility to the gubernatorial post in one of the most sensitive regions of India.
Appointment of Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, the predecessor of Shri Manoj Sinha, as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India must have brought much of satisfaction and comfort to him also. He shares the credit with the eloquent Satya Pal Malik, former Governor of undivided J&K State, for near effective control over the terrorists and for speedily clinching and initiating development projects here after J&K and Ladakh became separate centrally administered Union Territories.
In a democratic country like India, it is obvious that political processes can’t remain dormant or in hibernation for long. It is therefore natural to expect that Shri Sinha will spare no effort to let the dialogue process resume, but good care shall have to be exercised in the matter so that the gains of scrapping Article 370/35 A and formation of the two UTs from one state in the interest of public peace and harmony are not lost.
For most of the times, political dispensations in Jammu Kashmir have been accused of being Kashmir centric though the ‘rhetoric and appeasement’ have helped neither the Jammu nor the Kashmir people. After a long time, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the then Chief Minister of J&K State hailing from Jammu region, tried to give a semblance of rational and equitable development to all the three divisions of J&K during his brief tenure of around three years, but the period was marred by the infamous Roshni Act and Amarnath Ji Land row which had obvious implications.
The recent killing spree of Panches, Sarpanches and civilians in recent days by the Pakistan sponsored terrorists has assumed serious dimensions now. Therefore the immediate challenge before Shri Sinha is to restore the confidence of people of Jammu and Kashmir in the security apparatus, especially of the more vulnerable individuals and groups. The nationalist people of Kashmir who are giving a tough fight to the radicals shall also have to be protected at all costs no doubt, but the aspirations of Jammu people for a respectable place in the new political order shall also have to be taken care of.
The social, political, democratic, economic and military strength of the country in this region shall have to be upgraded by the government and asserted to deal with external and internal threats. The misguided and alienated people shall have to be dealt with and weaned away from anti-national stream through a multipronged approach.
Restoration of statehood and elections for the legislative assembly are not the burning issues for the common man yet, but creation of jobs and filling up of vacant posts in government sector is. Employment issues of the local youth shall have to be addressed on fast track basis and the long pending regularization issues of casual labourers and workers in various government departments shall have to be settled quickly and on priority in a transparent manner.
But for the few initiatives and cosmetic touches during the previous couple of years the employment and income generating potential in respect of the following sectors which may be called TERA Sectors has largely remained ignored for long in Jammu region:
Tourism (by developing sports and recreational facilities along the Chenab & Tawi rivers, Mansar, Surinsar, Nandansar, Ranjit Sagar Lake etc., Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, trekking routes, sports) – T,
Environment (including forestry and watershed management, polythene and solid waste management) – E
Reusable power projects (solar and wind energy) – R
Agriculture (including horticulture with special reference to micro irrigation and mechanization facilities in dry lands constituting 74 percent of cultivated area despite of the schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, animal husbandry and dairying, cottage industry and processing/post harvest management units at Farm Gate level) – A
Roads, educational institutions and hospitals are no doubt very important sectors in modern times, but the TERA sectors mentioned above have the potential to generate economy for almost every house hold and facilitate in rational distribution of wealth. These sectors are the essence of a sustainable and thriving economy and can lend a big hand in constructive utilization of human resource for shaping the self reliant ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’.
People of J&K hope that the Vikas Purush will gear up his administrative and technical machinery to establish task forces for respective development of TERA sector components in a Mission Mode for achievement of results within specific timelines.
C M Sharma