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1st August '2014
Gari ne vayi, asstaan khalaan taheur!

After the debacle in the Parliamentary elections, the present rulers of Kashmir have been announcing a series of so called people friendly measures in spite of the fact that the government treasuries are virtually empty. These actions are best summed up in the typical Kashmiri proverb describing a person who has no rations for himself at home but goes to a shrine distributing the popular Kashmiri cooked yellow rice called taheur! It appears that the ruling party is behaving like a drowning man who tries to catch at straws to save himself. Enhancement of the retirement age of the government employees would have made sense if had been issued few years back. At that time it was alleged that there was no money for such a step. One wonders where from the money has come now when the government is unable even to pay general provident fund of already retired employees. The new employment scheme has been scrapped and the employees instead of being on stipend would now get regular salaries. The new administrative units are going to cost the state something like 500 crores! Chief Minister is planning to announce further sops including reduction in electricity duty even though he has been complaining of lesser revenue in PDD.

There was banner line news recently that the state coffers are empty and the state is going round with a begging bowl! The state plan is yet to be sanctioned by the Planning Commission which is awaiting constitution by the new government in Delhi. By the time the plan is sanctioned, model code of conduct may stop all developmental activity. One fails to understand how various projects including upgradation of schools and so on are announced with an empty treasury? Just before Eid bills worth 2000 crores were pending in different state treasuries. This was one of the main reasons for lesser shopping on the occasion of Eid. There is a slump in sales as reported by many traders. The Gaza killings too have affected the Eid sales.

As a journalist friend tweeted, the two coalition partners after the divorce are having a live-in relationship till elections. This in the present circumstances means complete paralysis of all government activity especially on the development side. The break-up of the two ruling parties will definitely paralyse all activities even though the coalition government was already paralytic. The only possible explanation of spending money with empty coffers can be the belief of the present rulers that they have a very little chance of coming back. Whatever measures they announce will fall on the shoulders of the new incumbents. They would neither be able to implement these orders nor reverse the same! They would be truly caught between the devil and the deep sea!

If Omar Abdullah is really sincere and regrets his failures, the least he could do is to revoke the Disturbed Area Act and the Public Safety Act thereby making both the AFSPA redundant and automatically releasing scores of young so called stone-pelters and other political detainees. People cherish their freedom more than monetary sops. The most Delhi could do is remove him from the chair by imposing Governor’s rule for these last three to four months but the goodwill he will gain will be much more and could pay him in the next elections. But the million dollar question is does he have the courage and sincerity to do so? His flip-flop on AFSPA during last few years shows he does not have both the courage and the willingness to take such a plunge. So the Kashmiri proverb fits him well in every respect!

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