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.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Good Life (for Kashmir's Ministers)

Imagine without federal oversight (as demanded by Azadi seekers) how worse the situation will get!

J-K Spent Rs 9 cr on Ministers’ Pads

Bashaarat Masood (Indian Express)

In the past three years, the National Conference-Congress coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has spent more than Rs nine crore on renovation and facelift of 42 official residences of ministers, legislators and bureaucrats — in brazen violation of its own rules.

Some Rs 3.4 crore have been spent on renovation of 18 official residences in Jammu and about Rs 5.88 crore on 24 houses in Srinagar, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah informed the Assembly on Saturday.

Renovation of the two official residences of Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in Jammu and Srinagar has cost the most — a little over Rs one crore.

This is in violation the government’s November 11, 2009 order that states that a maximum of Rs 18 lakh can be spent to renovate a Cabinet minister’s bungalow over a period of six years.

Rs 15 lakh can be spent on the bungalows of junior ministers and Rs 10 lakh and Rs five lakh respectively on the houses of commissioner secretaries and secretaries to the state government.

In the past three years, the government has also spent Rs 59.51 lakh to renovate the Srinagar bungalow of Medical Education Minister R S Chib and Rs 40.88 lakh, including Rs 17.20 lakh in the current financial year, on Minister of State for Haj and Auqauf Minister Ajaz Khan’s bungalow.

The state government has also spent Rs 18.20 lakh to give a face-lift to the J&K Bank guest house at Zeethyar in Srinagar. The guest house was used by former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad as his official residence.

In Jammu, Rs 27.63 lakh have been spent on the bungalow of Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Rs 20.05 lakh on junior minister Nasir Aslam Wani’s residence, Rs 30.27 on Social Welfare Minister Sakina Itoo’s residence and Rs 31.81 lakh on Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed’s bungalow.

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