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.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

War on Corruption: Chief Minister is all talk and no action

The Daily Etalaat reports on how the Jihad on corruption in J&K is not backed by government action

Srinagar, April 12: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reiterated his claims on the so called Jihad against corruption in a public meeting held at Ganderbal on Thursday claiming that he knew everything.“If I open this Pandora’s Box, half of J&K would go to jail,” Azad said.

But going through records, it becomes evident that Azad’s much touted Jihad against corruption is falling flat.As the state’s only anti-corruption body, the State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) has been making efforts to net the corrupt officials and bureaucrats, lack of action on part of Azad government is making this whole exercise useless, sources said.

The SVO during 2007 registered 81 cases of corruption. On the other hand the Azad led government has so for failed to take tough action against these corrupt officials, particularly the big fish. Instead these officials were rewarded with promotions and plum postings .

Here is the sample.

Ghulam Nabi Bodha: Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal

2006: Bodha was Director Social Welfare when in 2006, Vigilance Organization registered a case (FIR No 5/06) against him for purchase of sub-standard non-nutritional items on exorbitant rates in connivance with SICOP during 2004-05. The case is still with SVO.

2007: A year later, on April 4, 2007 Bodha was not only reinstated but was also given a better position and appointed as Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal.

Mohammad Aslam Laigaroo: Vice Chairman, Srinagar Development Authority with an additional charge of Managing Director State Forest Corporation

1995: Vigilance Organization registers a case of disproportionate assets (FIR No 2895) worth rupees 56 lakh against Laigaroo. The case is pending in the High Court. Despite it, Laigaroo, who was suspended earlier was reinstated and given the plum postings in the administration as Vice Chairman, Srinagar Development Authority with an additional charge of Managing Director State Forest Corporation.Nazir Ahmad Shah: Chief Engineer R&B (suspended)

2005: Vigilance Organization registers two cases (FIR No 26/05 and 27/05) against Shah, the then Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings, Sopore for purchase of material on highly exorbitant rates in R&B Division Sopore.

2006: Shah was promoted as Chief Engineer, R&B, Kashmir. But he was not lucky as only six months later he was trapped and arrested by Vigilance sleuths while accepting bribe of rupees 30000 from a contractor (FIR No 18/07). He was suspended again.

Ghulam Hyder Bhat and Bashir Ahmad:

2007: Vigilance organization registers cases (FIR No 2/07) against Bhat, the then Director, Agriculture Kashmir and Bashir Ahmad, the then Joint Director, Agriculture Kashmir. They were accused of indulging in corrupt practices in the purchase of seed and the irrigation pumps, however, no action was taken.

2008: Ghulam Hyder Bhat retired as Director Agriculture (Kashmir) on March 31, 2008, while as Bashir Ahmad was posted as Joint Director, Agriculture, Jammu.

Ajit Kumar (Senior Bureaucrat, Now Retired).

Ajit Kumar was one of the senior bureaucrats who served in the state bureaucracy. His name figured in the infamous jute scam. The SVO registered a case but no action was taken by the state government against him. Even after the registration of the case against him by the SVO, Ajit Kumar enjoyed certain plum postings. He has now retired. The case is still pending.

The state government’s failure to take action against them and other corrupt officials caught by the SVO has lead to a sense of demoralization and dejection among some of the vigilance officials, said an SVO official, wishing anonymity.“We work hard and honestly but when the government doen’t take action, it is frustrating,” he said.

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