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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kashmir's Roads are a Disgrace - CM Reacts

The new Administration seems to be listening

CM forms task force for speedy work of city roads

Jammu: Chief minister (CM) Omar Abdullah has set up a task force headed by Cabinet minister Ali Muhammad Sagar to gear up the work on road projects in Srinagar City.

An official handout said the task force would monitor “acquisition of land and structures and to facilitate removal of other bottlenecks in the construction, up-gradation and improvement of ongoing R&B projects in the summer capital, especially Syed Mirakshah and Khaniyar-Zadibal-Pandach roads.”

Abdullah was reviewing progress of these projects at a high-level meeting which among others was attended by Sagar.

Abdullah said the expansion of twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu calls for a holistic and integrated approach to address the civic demands, upgrading basic amenities and managing traffic and transport.

“A scientific approach is required to be taken to address all issues that have crept in by unbalanced growth and extension of cities during last many years”, he said, adding a policy to correct the wrongs and accommodate justified demands should be put into place to manage the affairs of providing basic amenities to the citizens.

“We have to think of satellite cities for Srinagar and Jammu to accommodate the futuristic civic requirements and the growth of population and economic activities”, he added.

While executing road projects, a realistic approach should be adopted for providing compensation to the affected even as their rehabilitation should be a priority, the CM told R&B officials.

A separate Collector will be exclusively provided for Syed Mirakshah road so that compensation cases could be cleared within shortest possible time and work on road projects is carried forward meticulously.

Earlier, Sagar highlighted the need for early completion of various road projects launched in the City some years back. He said the work on various such projects has either come to the standstill or is going at a snail’s pace.

“The need of hour is that the work on these projects is accelerated to complete these in shortest possible time”, Sagar said, adding ample funds are already available for such projects and there is a need to put in efforts by the concerned agencies to speed up the work.

The meeting among others was attended by financial commissioner, Planning and Development, S. L. Bhat, principal secretary to CM, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, commissioner/secretary, Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, commissioner/ secretary, R&B, Mehboob Iqbal, commissioner/secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Naseema Lanker, chief engineer, R&B, Kashmir, Mohammad Shafi Mir.

The chief engineer, R&B gave detailed status of these road projects and said that Syed Mirakshah Road Project from Dalgate to Zakura is being executed in seven sectors namely Dalgate-Khonekhan, Khonekhan-Rainawari, Rainawari-Saidakadal, Saidakadal-Ashaibagh, Ashaibagh-Hazratbal, Hazratbal-Habak and Habak to Zakura Crossing.

He said Rs 55 crore have been released to R&B Department for the construction of this road project.

● Omar chairs high-level meet
● Cabinet minister Ali Muhammad
● Sagar speaks of snail pace, standstill on road projects
● Is made to head Task Force for monitoring
● Separate collector for Syed Mirakh Shah road compensation cases

(Greater Kashmir)

No comments: