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, June 29, 2009

Demanding Rights Without Accepting Responsibilities

Kashmiris complain about lack of power, but are not willing to pay for it either

J&K govt fails to meet power tariff collection targets

Ishfaq Naseem (Indian Express)

A month before the Jammu and Kashmir government will present the annual budget at Srinagar, the State government review of the power collection targets has found that the there has been a shortfall in the collection of tariff by over Rs 200 crore by the close of last financial year.

According to sources, before finalizing the budget a Jammu and Kashmir Finance department review has revealed that the collection of power tariff targets have not been met. The assessment of the tariff collection targets in state was taken up late as after the Jammu and Kashmir government led by Omar Abdullah took over in the state it presented an interim budget in March this year to get the authorisation of the assembly to spend Rs 9,503 crores till the end of August this year.

According to Finance department officials from the target of Rs 850 crores kept for the last financial year, Jammu and Kashmir power development department has only collected the tariff of Rs 633 crore by 31 March 2009. According to officials the targets were kept in the last year's budget with the government presenting a separate power project last year in which it gave a grim picture of power sector reforms and also the deficit in the collection of targets. “The collection of tariff in the power sector was a constant worry as the targets have not been met,” said, a top official of the state's Finance department, adding that the government will further build a pressure on the Power Development department (PDD) so that the tariff collection picks up.

Officials however also add that while the targets have not bee met in the collection of tariff, Jammu and Kashmir government has asked the Centre to continue provide the annual power reform grant of Rs 1300 crore for the next six years to upgrade the power distribution system in the state. Centre had started providing the power sector reform grants to Jammu and Kashmir government from 2006 which was to last for only three years.

However last year nearly Rs 1000 crore were not released to the state as it showed also poor performance in checking the transmission and distribution losses. Commissioner Secretary, Power, Sundeep K Nayak, admitted that the targets were not met last year. He however said that in this financial year government was aiming to perk up the annual revenue collection. “We were aiming at increasing the revenue collection in the state. The shortfall in the revenue collection targets has been mostly due to the fact that people didn’t pay the revenue,” he added.

Officials in the PDD said that the government has recently issued a circular fixing the revenue collection targets and even asking the staff of the PDD to take measures to reduce the transmission and distribution losses.

No comments: