Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Government finally takes action to halt culture of massive corruption in SRTC - Postscript to the story posted on 28 November 2007

(Apropos to the investigative reporting by Ahmed Ali Fayyaz that was posted on the Blog on November 28, 2007, the Government concedes to the rot in SRTC.)

Govt wakes up to SRTC ‘death’

Cancels 143 Illegal Appointments Made In 2007


Srinagar Jan 4: State government on Friday cancelled the appointments ordered in the State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) during last year. “It is hereby ordered that the appointments/engagements made in SRTC on consolidated basis during 2007 in violation of prescribed procedure are cancelled with immediate effect,” an order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) reads. The order (No. 1515-GAD of 2007) mentions cancellation of 143 appointments made in the corporation in 2007. The appointments, according to many SRTC employees, were made in brazen violation of rules and regulations. The employees have been protesting against the appointments for the past many months, seeking their cancellation.

“From past one year we’ve been protesting against the illegal appointments; finally the government admitted its fault. The cancellation of illegal appointments would surely end severe financial crisis plaguing the corporation,” said an SRTC employee, Muhammad Ramzan.

Another employee, Noor Muhammad said, “It is not our hobby to raise protests, but we wanted to expose the rot.” According to SRTC sources there’re myriad reasons that have turned the corporation into a proverbial white elephant. The issue of illegal appointments is one.

The other major reason for SRTC’s downfall is plying of buses on non-profitable routes. “Dozens of our buses operate on the recommendations of many MLAs and ministers in their non-descript constituencies,” the sources said. “If we ply some of those buses on other routes, we’ll end up as gainers.”

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