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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

FROM NEGLECT TO REGRESS: Industrial Estate, Barzulla

Yet another proof that things only go from bad to worse in Kashmir

Barzulla industrial estate in shambles

Srinagar: For prosperity of the industrial sector, state government’s Industrial Policy 2004 promises “improved infrastructure and support services, with emphasis on regular and uninterrupted power supply”. But exactly the opposite seems to be taking place at Industrial Estate Barzulla, which is oldest in the Valley, and nearest to the City centre.

Established in 1959, the estate caters to some 50 industrial units with hundreds of workers on-rolls. The estate is, however, yet to get drinking water supply even though it lies in the posh Sanat Nagar suburb. Besides, sheds housing the factories haven’t been repaired for years while power supply remains erratic. But well the dilapidated of roads first.


Blacktopping of the estate roads was done some three decades ago. Since then, the unit-holders say, no repairs were made, despite repeated appeals.

Finally, failing to pool resources, the authorities adopted a novel solution: Instead of blacktopping, they recently “repaired” the macadamized roads using black-cutting and stone dust, which is a comparatively cheap and obsolete alternative.

The road “repairs” proved detrimental.

“Till now there were only potholes but now billows of dust have added to our woes,” said Mukhtar Yusuf, secretary general of the association of the unit holders.

“It’s seems the authorities lack commonsense, or they deliberately want to put us on a reverse gear. Otherwise where else does it happen in the world that boulders replace blacktopping?” Yusuf argued.

Pleading the primitive type of road repairs, officials said they were running short of money.

“We though something is better than nothing and so made the repairs,” they said adding proposal has been sent for macadamization as well.


In 2007, firefighters had a tough time extinguishing blazes fuming out of a factory at the industrial estate as there was no source of water.

In fact, the estate is yet to get even drinking water facility.

Ironically, even though pipes were laid a few years ago, they rusted even before being connected to the main supply line running outside.

The unit holders had voiced complaint against the Small Scale Industrial Development Corporation (SICOP), accusing the project executing agency of using sub-standard material.

Official sources said even though an inquiry was ordered into the laying of water supply lines, the findings were never made public.

And so the estate is yet to get drinking water supply than to talk any water point for firefighting.


Work on drainage was started around two years ago but is yet not complete due to slow pace of work.

On this front, however, there was no shortage of funds.

The sources said the SICOP was given Rs 40 odd lakh for the work.

“But they worked on snail pace and the project is yet not complete,” said some unit holders while pointing towards an uncovered drain.


In stark contrast of the industrial policy, the estate doesn’t get the uninterrupted supply.

This has badly affected work at units like steel fabrication plants and a printing press.

“We can’t use gensets for doing steel fabrication work like welding. So when ever the power goes off, our business suffers,” explained a unit holder adding that they face power cuts for a couple of ours everyday.


Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) is all fire against the successive regimes accusing them of “victimizing the Kashmir Inc”.

“Unless the government sheds its negative approach towards Kashmir Inc and adopts a healthy policy, our industries will continue to suffer,” said Syed Shakeel Qalander, president FCIK.

Referring to his recent meeting with chairman Finance Commission, Qalander recalled: “I told them that our industrial sector gives a look of graveyard for the want of funds.”

He said when industrial estate Barzulla, which is too close to the Airport road frequented by VIPs, was in shambles, the plight of the estates elsewhere could only be imagined.


An official with directorate of Industries and Commerce, Kashmir said there was shortage of resources, which affect development of the industrial sector.

“We have many plans for improvement but we lack money. Still we’ll try our best,” said the official requesting not to be named.

(Greater Kashmir)

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