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 20, 2009

Decadent Culture - that too, but it is mostly bad laws that inhibits transparency and liberalization

Mr. Qalander is seeking patrons within state bureaucracy when he should be asking for dismantling of the "License Raj"

‘Decadent industrial culture’ led to Kashmir business downfall: FCIK

Srinagar: The industrial sector in Kashmir has reached to its nadir, owing to what the industrialists and entrepreneurs have termed as the outcome of a “decadent business culture” that persists since decades.

“There are many factors that have contributed towards debacle of the ongoing industrial movement, the cumulative effect of which has led to culmination of a decadent industrial culture,” said Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) President Shakeel Qalander.

Qalander said that the factors still persist while the process of decay has assumed recurring virulent posture, “which needs to be addressed immediately in a right perspective.”

“We have identified eight key factors, which, if not immediately addressed will mask the current industrial segment into a permanent oblivion,” the FCIK President said.
Elaborating, he said that the first generation entrepreneurs taking up entrepreneurship with fervor had no concept of industries here. “They even didn’t get any guidance from the sponsoring authorities who, too were passing through a nascent stage,” he said.

Moreover, Qalander added that the industrial programme, though introduced with alluring elements of incentives, had inherent shortcomings which were initially dormant, “but eventually developed as a virulent impediment in the process of its implementation.”

He revealed that the infrastructural facilities and provisions of basic amenities such as space in the organized industrial estates, road connectivity, electric energy, technology for increased productivity, financial assistance, marketing assistance, and flow of raw-material “were either inadequate or provisions of such facilities were evaded with impracticable conditions enforced by the implementing agencies meant for the growth of industries.”

Another factor which contributed to the downfall of the industry, he said, were “The industrial programs that lacked a real sponsorship assigned to various departments like agriculture, horticulture, industries and commerce for their role got diluted and restricted to unimportant works.”

Adding to the collapse was the imperative coordination that never existed between various organizations and departments involved in the process, which FCIK President said “ultimately led to red-tapism, corruption, nepotism, and favoritism at all levels.”

Qalander said that the remaining chances of continuance of industrial programme received a death blow due turmoil from 1989 and onwards. “The industrial activities got further stagnated, when the strangulated industrial promoters exhausted their reserves and borrowed funds for their sustenance and for meeting up the recurring losses; and in that process got themselves impoverished,” he said.

Qalander said that the performances of implementing agencies came to zilch not to speak of coming to the rescue of industrial programme, “which got reverted back to its primitive stage.”

The FCIK president said that the industrial program incepted in the State was more to achieve dimensional purpose of economic elevation and generation of employment, yet it could not obtain the desired goal owing to these factors.

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