Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

2/6/09

Misplaced priorities of myopic Kashmiri officials

Although I had intended to write about the proposed gondola project last month, I could not find enough motivation to sit down and write about it till now. Today, my everyday commute gave me the motivation to finally sit down and jot down my rant about it and protest that the government has its priorities all mixed up. My daily routine of walking upto the bus stop made me traverse through small islands of rotting garbage floating in puddles of melting slush that could be considered small lakes by themselves. I had to slug through these mini-ponds by trying to hop on small rocks and bricks while struggling to balance myself so I didn't fall into the filthy mess, which was a mix of raw sewage and freshly melted snow - the result of a clogged-up drain.

There I was trying to hop and balance while crossing this puddle in my freshly washed and ironed clothes on my way to the university when I lost my balance attempting to make the final leap. The last brick was not firmly in place, and I fell nose-down into this nasty concoction of human waste and freshly melted snow; all the while being stared by the omnipresent stray dogs who were reclining under the awnings of the nearby shops, only to get annoyed and scurry away because my fall splashed them with freezing water and interrupted their morning siesta, and how can I not mention the ubiquitous watchful eyes of the CRP personnel entertaining themselves by listening to Indian songs being played on their cheap radios in their bukhari-warmed bunkers and giggling away like little school kids while witnessing my predicament.

This made me realize, does anybody in the government have functioning brains?

How would a cable-car gondola project over the Dal Lake, which is going to cost no less than a few hundred crores from start to finish, be a tourist attraction when the dilapidated civic conditions in Kashmir will perhaps make these tourists tread through filth and cesspools? The only thing the gondola might assist the tourists in is that they'll be able to see the heaps of garbage and puddles of sewage from a much higher elevation!

If the government's sole aim is to attract tourists such as yatris; then they need not worry. The yatris will be here whether the government left Kashmir to the dogs or not (pun intended). However; if the government wishes to attract paying tourists who spend their holidays in Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, or Goa, then they have to use common sense and clean up Kashmir. There is no secret science to the fact that people who have money and want to spend it wisely will prefer travelling to a clean and hygienic city, and definitely not somewhere where they'll spend their short vacation just to be able to see Kashmir's garbage, filth and a selection of the world's finest breeds of stray-dogs while sitting in a gondola cruising over the old-city!

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9 comments:

  1. That was a funny write up Koshur :) But feeling sorry for you.

    What you probably don't realize (or realized but didn't bother to mention) is that all these public sector undertakings will be arranged for by internal dealings with the bidders. If there are several hundreds of crores being spent on an idiotic project like this, it means some private friend of a minister is going to fill his pockets with some good load of cash.

    Boring projects like sanitation or cleanliness will not offer that much of profits for the interested parties. The expenses are well worked out, and any pilfering of funds is at the risk of being exposed in an audit process. In contrast, bulky projects like the gondola cable-car will present avenues to a thick margin of profit (and usually these projects are allocated for a single-bidder with no competition).

    This is the nasty predicament if people don't participate in politics. You can call it corruption. But I will call it the inevitable consequence of the laziness and disinterest of the general population in issues that concern everyone.

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  2. well said Ray!
    it all boils down to lucrative government contracts for the chosen few. Kashmir could go to hell-they could care less. Those are the enemies of all.

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  3. There are two reasons why the Gondola Project was so beautifully portrayed and splashed across the newspapers:

    Azad had Tulips (nothing amazing that he was known as Naba Tulip) and the Haj Center.

    Omar needs to have something too- a project which looks ambitious is always the best one. In sometime, we will see renewed activity about the lost TRC. That would be another monument to his honor.

    Second, we Kashmiris tend to be flicker minded at times, and an exciting news puts to rest any storms that are brewing within us. The next morning people discussed Gondola in Kandurwaans and will continue to do so, as news trickles in now and then.

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  4. K
    sounds plausible. America needs wars in foreign lands to keep their public preoccupied so they dont complain about their local troubles.

    Similarly, theyre trying to sway kashmiris by these silly projects to deflect focus on other issues..

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  5. Koshur,

    Kashmiris are not only the owners of Kashmir but are also responsible for whatever goes on in Kashmir. There needs to be more participation in politics and more demands for accountability from the administration.

    Politics means not just organizing rallies or shouting for Azadi. It doesn't end with that. Boring issues of everyday life have to be scrutinized as well.

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  6. Ray,

    If it werent for the watchful eye of the IB people keeping track of who comes and leaves the homes of our hurriyat leaders, I would have sat down and conveyed my thoughts to Mirwaiz. I would have suggested that he form a "shadow cabinet" along the same lines that some western opposition parties have where they assign a person to a particular ministry, for instance, the 'shadow' rural development minister, shadow education minister, shadow tourism minister so on and so forth - basically the hurriyat forms a cabinet with shadow ministers for each and every department of the puppet government. These 'shadow ministers' scrutinize every policy, actions and moves of the real ministers (in our case, the puppet ministers) like the 'malakilmot'. They will also encourage whistleblowers and conscientious public servants to divulge any wrongdoings by bringing it to the attention of the shadow minister. The only goal of the shadow minister is to emphasize that he will be a better minister than the current ones and the primary goal is to make the ministry of the puppet ministers a hell so they are forced to quit under the constant scrutiny.

    That will also highlight the fact that the hurriyat is ready to assume governance once the ultimate goal is achieved

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  7. I have been thinking of this parallel govt for quite a sometime.......Koshur, I want to talk to you in detail....can you drop an email to me at ajaztam@hotmail.com.....we will then talk over phone.....

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  8. Koshur

    A shadow parliament or a shadow government is a brilliant idea, and it actually works in many democratic countries. It also helps in raising awareness amongst the youth.

    In fact, this shadow parliament can be maintained on a website (such as the KashmirForum, more vamped up, preferably in Kashmiri language) And these sessions can be scrutinized by all citizens.

    If thinking people of the Hurriyat actually contribute to such a thing, they would contribute immensely to the betterment of Kashmir. It will also be a good training ground for a future Hurriyat government, if and when they decide to contest in elections.

    About Indian sleuths spying on the Hurriyat visitors, remember that the best defence against an authoritarian rule is to bring more publicity upon oneself. Anyway, I wish you good luck :)

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  9. Kashmir is major tourist place during a north India tour. Kashmir has many beautiful tourist places like: srinagar, gulmarg and ladakh. Of these, Srinagar is must visit place during kashmir tour and kashmir holiday package.

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