People want to get rid of ‘UT Raj’, eagerly waiting for popular Govt in J&K: Azad

Senior AICC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing large public rally at Gandoh on Tuesday. —Excelsior/ Rafi Choudhary
Senior AICC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing large public rally at Gandoh on Tuesday. —Excelsior/ Rafi Choudhary

‘Break walls of hatred raised by vested interests’

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Dec 21: Former Union Minister and All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that majority of the people in J&K want to get rid of the ‘UT Raj’ and are eagerly waiting for an elected popular Government in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Addressing a large public rally at his home town Gandoh in Bhalessa area of Bhaderwah Sub Division in district Doda today, Azad said after the developments of August 5, 2019, there is see change in Jammu and Kashmir. It is not that J&K now which was during his Chief Ministership or earlier. There is see change in the system of governance.
“Change for the sake of development and public welfare and prosperity is always welcome. But things have gone to reverse gear after the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K. There is no accountability, no body to listen to the public grievances. The development works have stalled and work culture is missing. There is none to listen to the agitating employees, daily wagers, poor people, traders, educated unemployed youth and those residing in the remote and far flung areas,” Azad regretted.
He said the Governor and the Lt Governor Rule in the UT has brought only miseries for the people in the Jammu and Kashmir. The people were shown ‘green pastures’ and given hollow and false assurances, claiming massive development, employment opportunities, Industrialisation with huge investment from outside, but all these tall claims proved to be total bundle of lies. There are no doctors in hospitals specially in rural areas. The staff also remains absent and there is no check on them by senior officers. The people here are feeling duped.
The AICC leader claimed that he has been visiting every nook and corner of J&K and meeting different people for the last two weeks and he has found that sufferings of the people have aggravated. He is here in J&K to establish contact with public and know about their issues. “But the truth is that they are fed up of the ‘UT Raj’ and want to get rid of it. They infact, are eagerly waiting for an elected popular Government in Jammu and Kashmir,” Azad asserted.
Referring to the missing link between the public and bureaucracy and neglect of the people hailing from rural and far flung areas, Azad said bureaucrats in UT administration are habitual of often visiting big airports or big Railway stations and cities. They usually prefer to stay inside their AC rooms and do not want to come out of their comfort zones. They seems to have little concern for the poor and hapless people residing in remote and far-flung areas like Bhalessa, Tuli Bana, Tangdhar, Gurez and many other remote pockets of the J&K. There are no public representatives to project their issues and it has generated a big gap.
After the change, the place of MLAs and Ministers has been taken by the bureaucrats in UT and they are hardly available to the public. Even middle rung officers are not accessible to the general public. The trust deficit has developed among the masses. Due to suspension of many development projects, the poor people are not getting work under MGNREGA or other Government Schemes.
Azad maintained that during Cong regime, when he was Chief Minister in J&K, there was work culture of double and triple-shifts. The people used to get works under MGNREGA as well but now no works under MGNREGA are available to the poor people. Only ruling party workers are being given favours and preference. It seems others don’t have right to work or food.
A Government or the head of State should not differentiate between the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or any other community. For him/ her every one should be treated equally. But it is unfortunate that not only in J&K, but in entire country the new trend has begun for the last some years. For development and welfare purpose all communities should be treated equally and this is what a real government or any religion suggests, Azad added. .
Without naming BJP or any other party, Azad said some people are creating hatred among communities by playing religious card. They are exploiting people on the name of religion and region for petty political gains. This is dangerous proposition in the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir. The people must break the walls of hatred to fail their designs. The work/development should be the criteria for seeking votes, he remarked.
Azad said the people should discard those people who failed to ensure development in their respective constituencies, provide roads, schools, hospitals, required staff in various offices and project burning issues of their people/voters. He said going by the past experience of 4-5 years, the people would definitely show place to such public representatives in next assembly elections.
Referring to Roshni Act, the senior Congress leader said that his Government had provided land rights to the poor and landless people. And under Land to the Tillers’ law in the past as well many poor families were benefitted. But this Government has started snatching lands from them. Instead of providing any relief to the people after Covid pandemic, the poor people are being harassed and victimised. At the same time he advised the people to wear masks as Covid has not gone as yet and follow SOPs.
Senior party leaders GM Saroori, Abdul Majid Wani, Viqar Rasool and Sham Lal Bhagat also addressed the gathering.