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, May 6, 2009

Corruption in Kashmir is More Serious Than Economic Downturn

The Chanber of Commerce finally bares the truth

CCIK for transparency in utilization of funds

Rabia Noor (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir (CCIK) has called for greater scrutiny and transparency in the utilization of central funds being issued from time to time for different handicraft schemes in Kashmir.

President CCIK Muzaffar Khan while expressing serious concern over what he said the misappropriation of the huge funds released by the centre for different handicraft schemes in Kashmir, said a foolproof mechanism needed to be devised to check the misuse of such funds in future.

“Huge funds in the past have been released and are being released from time to time for uplift of various trade segments in Kashmir, but it is unfortunate that such funds have not been spent on the schemes they were meant for,” he alleged.

Khan told Greater Kashmir there were many issues confronting the trade in Kashmir that were “more severe than the economic meltdown.”

“We are suffering more because of the things that don’t have any connection with the economic recession, although the economic downturn has affected every segment of business everywhere,” he said.

He said some “wrong” policies and “lack” implementations have caused huge distress to the state economy.

He said the central government for past many years had been allotting funds to some traders’ bodies who claim to work for the uplift of the trade. “But it is unfortunate that these organizations have not utilized these funds in a proper way,” he said.

He said there were various policies and schemes for the artisans and weavers of Kashmir but the benefits have not reached to them.

Senior vice-president CCIK Muhammad Afzal Parray said under some schemes extended to Kashmir, the local artisans were supposed to be taken to trade fairs and exhibitions held in foreign countries for the live demonstration of their crafts. “Although the funds were released under these schemes, the local weavers and artisans were never taken on such exhibitions,” he said.

He said many a time in absence of any local artisan or weaver at the international trade fairs like in Global Village Fair held in Dubai, the art and crafts of Amritsar, Rajasthan, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Saharanpur and other places were sold in the name of Kashmir.

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