Why water ‘denied’ to citizens?

Shiban Khaibri
” Water is life’s matter and matrix , mother and medium ; there is no life without water.”
A few pertinent questions which the UT Administration must reply. Whether supplying potable piped water comes under essential services in Jammu and Kashmir or not? Whether those for any cause, reason or demand , if at all believed to cause disruption or having caused disruption in the immediate past in the supplying of water, need to go in an introspection and that also immediately or not? While those employees connected with Jal Shakti (PHE) Department having genuine problems and demands, have in principle, all the support from the public , who gives licence to anybody to agitate for fulfilment of demands by not reporting for duties to attend to such a vital and essential service like supplying life sustaining water and perhaps, at least to agree ”opening ” the water supplying knobs for the parching public ? What is the hierarchy in management of the PHE doing in ameliorating the plight of the public in those areas where water supply is adversely affected ? Where are the press statements of the higher authorities of the Jal Shakti Department and other public connect modes to suggest contingency plans if any, alternatives etc to meet the water ”crises” in water deficient areas? If the UT Administration is not in a position to resolve various problems afflicting the PHE Department including those of the agitating aggrieved employees, why should the public be held to virtual ransom and denied supply of potable water for days at a stretch ?
Slight rains in Jammu and we are told that water filtering plants have collapsed, why and how long are we supposed to put up with this alibi put forth by the concerned department? Just a bit of torrential rains, a strong breeze etc even causing disruptions in water and electricity supply lays bare all tall claims of the Government in respect of any ”real” development having taken place at least in critical areas like water, power and roads.. In simple parlance, without mincing words, a hungry man needs food , a thirsty soul wants water , a commuter needs ditches and potholes free roads, what he or she has got to do with the Government claiming that Jammu and Kashmir is on fast track of development and for example has received hundreds of investment offers of billions of Rupees and there are hundreds of languishing projects now completed and that new projects undertaken for the ”benefit” of the public when on the ground , no perceptible change is ”seen” or felt ?
We are not concerned or bothered with the problems of the Administration / Government , we are concerned only with how our – the peoples’ plight — is addressed. The political leaders of different political parties , who this time are not in the Government , are fast losing their connect with the people as they are least bothered to know the real problems of the people during their ”lean” period of present politicking . They, thus, are unwittingly offering open platform to new “experimenters” in politics and promisors of lavishly giving freebies and possibly promising the moon and even turn out to be ”beyond” the moon. “Conventional” political leaders can be expected only at the election time but they shall have to face the ire of the public this time and answer many questions put by the aggrieved people . People have now grown increasingly wise, more alert and conscious of their rights and no emotive slogans or appeals can work any wonders in the void.
It may not be out of context that , for example, no leader visited this writer’s residential colony or those colonies parching for a drop of water to at least get acquainted with as to how we were feeling without water supply for over one and a half week at a stretch and getting a few drops only after a break of eight to ten days otherwise in a scenario already existing and taken as the fait accompli of having ”Darshan” of water barely for an hour for just three days in a week. Therefore, in the melee, amidst the mess and confusion , there is a scramble for requisitioning of private water tanks at exorbitant rates and not everyone is in a position to frequently afford and arrange water like that, what in that scenario the UT administration is doing is all not known ? Whether they in fact are in know of the stark reality that there are various areas doing without water supply from the Jal Shakti Department for days together?
Sorry , still after70 years , the problem of Sadak, Bijli and Paani continues to elude the aspirations of the people who cannot derive satisfaction from empty rhetoric , speeches and claims made at different events by the Government. The public simply wants performance , the public wants delivery of services and quite fast , the public wants resolution of ”created” problems , the public wants to be heard , the public wants to share the difficulties they face on day to day basis , public wants to avail of the facilities of airing their grievances from a platform created for the purpose which in fact is non-existent — how that could be done and by whom is none of our problem , it is administration’s. Those authorities who cannot perform due to whatever reason must please better quit to pave the way for others willing to perform and serve the people. People want basic amenities of life – water, power and reasonably good roads- other important requirements may be treated as ”luxuries” hence non availability thereof notwithstanding .
If the virtual scourge of ”Daily wages” employment in Jammu and Kashmir is not discussed , if an absence of a workable, robust , proper and relevant Personnel Policy is not touched depicting the well established norms for recruitment, promotions, transfers, superannuation, disciplinary proceedings, service conduct rules, VRS and other schemes related to Government employees in Jammu and Kashmir, various ills besides hardships of the aggrieved employees cannot be properly understood and aptly addressed.
What is this Daily Wage depicting in respect of an employee ”languishing” for years together as a “Daily wager” but neither being confirmed , which the UT administration having its terminology of being ”regularised” nor asked to ” go” or being sacked after a few months or even after so many years, is a puzzle of its own kind. These daily wagers are on agitation for over two months now and each time they resort to newer modes of (peaceful) protests, no immediate end to their plight seems in the offing. How these “Daily Wagers” were indiscriminately ”adjusted” in various (the then state) departments is well known all in the absence of a regular recruitment process . That , however, is the ”thing of the past” and the problem needs resolution which the UT Government should do on priority basis. They, are in fact, the arms and the inalienable part of the concerned departments , regularising them would make them good performers and they could even be held accountable and responsible for any dereliction of duty . When someone comes on roads to agitate , think that he or she is desperately driven towards that recourse. Resolution of problems and no measure of their mortification should be the response. In the meantime reverting to water, the old saying that “one could live without love but not without water”, therefore, water supply needs to be restored at the earliest lest resorting to coming on roads cannot be wholly written off just to be heard by the administration.