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12th MArch '2014
Dacoits, not thieves!
 

Name calling does not behove someone claiming to be a leader of the masses. It was very unfortunate for a Kashmiri himself to call his fellow countrymennot only thieves but the big thieves. A thief is a person who in the stealth of the night very quietly climbs a wall or a pipe and steals without raising any noise or commotion. All the time he is trembling lest he be caught. This demeaning title was prompted by the allegations of power theft at the consumer level by tampering of energy meters. There has been an oft repeated allegation that the revenues earned by the power development department are far less than the power supplied by them to consumers. The main reason given is the massive loss of power in the distribution system attributed to bye-passing of the meters recording the supply of energy to the consumers. Allegedly the service lines are hooked on the main supply lines bye-passing the energy meters during the night. It is also alleged that most of the consumers in unmetered areas paying a flat rate have loads much more than declared loads for which they are charged. In both the cases, the theft is not possible without the active connivance of the officials of the power development department. It is alleged that the concerned linemen know of these thefts and receive a monthly payment for keeping their eyes closed. This fact is supposed to be known to the higher ups not only in the power development department but to the members of thethe ruling class also. Some power engineers have alleged that they receive continuous telephone calls and summons from some ministers and politicians especially in the down town area to ignore these violations as the people concerned are their vote banks.

Let us accept the fact that there is power theft in Kashmir. Let us concede that in this regard Kashmiris are thieves. How much is the amount of power theft? A couple of hundred crores? However, the so called leaders alleging Kashmiris to be power thieves have themselves not only mortgaged the entire water resources of Kashmir but have virtually sold these against hard cash pay offs going into thousands of crores. Any hydroelectric project conceived and built in recent time has allegations of pay offs to these leaders. In fact, almost all the major projects being run by NHPC have been handed over to them by the same so called popular leaders. The original agreement of 50% free power by NHPC was reduced to 12% only by the same people thereby causing loss of thousands of crores to the state exchequer. The allegations of pay offs run into hundreds of crores. Pointing out these payoffs in Rattle project made a top financial executive lose his job. After having intentionally handed over these projects against pay offs these people have the cheek to demand the return of the same knowing very well that such possibility is remote.

These pay offs and scams have not only been in the power systems but almost everywhere.From Sports to education, land, medical and so on. There is not a single department or a project in which massive scams have not been reported. Some have been unearthed and some remain still hidden. The notorious political scam involving membership of the state legislature and the state cabinet cost a poor fellow his life. In spite of a virtually broad daylight murder the involved person got a clean chit. It would be too lenient to call these peoplethieves. They should rather be labelled as dacoits. A dacoit unlike a thief robs you in the broad daylight. He kicks open the door of your house and enters with a gun in hand. Demands all your valuables including the cash and goes away firing shots in the air! Such actions are known as day light robberies. If one recounts all these incidents of the looting of Kashmir’s resources and then sharing of the booty, the story may fill a couple of volumes. There have been many interesting sidelights to this loot. It is alleged that one marriage almost broke when the wife instead of putting the pay off money in a joint account put the entire amount in her personal account. The sports scam involving the game of cricket is still under investigation. So Kashmiris are not only “Chors” and “Mahachors” but also “Dakus” which epithet had not been spoken about by the name caller as he had probably reserved the same for his own self?

 
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