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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Before Inviting Tourists, Please Take Care of the Hosts"

An editorial in the Rising Kashmir speaks about the chronic delusion otherwise called water logging in Srinagar

Srinagar waterlogged: This city urgently needs an integrated deep drainage system

The absence of integrated deep drainage system in Srinagar has led to the flooding of the streets and market places of this city. During past few days the consistent showers have made the life of a city dweller unimaginably difficult as the lanes and by lanes in the residential areas are completely submerged under the rainwater. Not just this, the main roads too have turned into pools of water. In such a situation, calling Srinagar a city is oxymoronic.

While talking to different officers that are working for various government departments related to managing the drainage network of Srinagar it comes to light that only a small portion of city is covered under deep drain network and rest of the areas are left unattended. Further, the dewatering stations that must be established at the terminal of every drainage network are not functional. In this kind of a situation inundation of roads and squares in Srinagar is bound to occur.

One aspect of the functioning of various related department is extremely off putting. The absence of any coherence between the working of these departments is at the bottom of things not improving in this regard. If a slew of departments are supposed to do the networking of deep drains in Srinagar without any proper coordination among them, how can a viable deep drainage system come about in this city? The absence of coordination has been talked about by the people of this state not once or twice, but consistently, as people have been witnessing the wastage of money, that actually belongs to them, when one department lays the road one day and the very next day another department digs it for some other purpose. It has been a salient feature of public works system in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

One simple question that comes to mind is that why can’t government coordinate different departments? In this era of speedy communication why is it difficult to get things done in a coordinated manner? The resources pumped in through various departments can be better utilized if there is a single point application of a project. If it is not possible to put in place another department that can act as an overarching organization, at least any project started by a government department should include works that normally fall under other departments, so that public work becomes a priority and not the official trappings. In case of the deep drainage system government need to integrate the departments first before the network is integrated. It should be the priority of this government to make Srinagar city worth living. Before inviting tourists, please take care of the hosts!

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