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.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Doctors Point to Half Baked Drug Act

Doctors claim that the true villian is the State Legislature and Bureaucracy that only extended portions of the Indian Drug Act to the State. Yet another example of how the State uses the Article 370 to pass laws with loopholes that breed corruption

Doctors Hit Back at Crack-Down on Private Practice

Mukhtar Ahmed (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: Accusing the government of resorting to unfair and unethical means in its recent crackdown on doctors indulging in private practice of doctors, Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) Saturday termed the crack-down as a an attempt to grab limelight.

“If government is seriously pursuing this cause, then it should enforce the ban in Government Medical College too?” DAK president, Dr. Nasir-ul-Hassan said. “All doctors are bound to work under prescribed, which permits private practice before 10 am and after 4 pm, and we assure the government that doctors from our fraternity shall abide by it,” president said.

Addressing media people at a local hotel here, the DAK president confessed that his organization too was opposed to the private practice by doctors. “But the way government has gone about in its crack-down – the way a policeman was addressing a respected doctor win very derogatory manner, is unethical and totally condemnable.”

Expressing concern over the lack of proper medical facilities and infrastructure in far-flung areas of Kashmir, Dr. Hassan blamed the government for neglecting the peripheral areas, as a result of which, he said, patients are referred to Srinagar for the slightest of ailments.

“The reason for the huge gap in medical facilities in city and rural areas is the bureaucracy as it a huge stumbling block in our initiative of reaching out to every nook and corner of Kashmir,” Dr. Hassan alleged while tangentially training his criticism at the bureaucracy.

It is pertinent to recall that the recent crackdown against the doctors indulging in private practice during hospital hours, was initiated at the behest of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.

DAK president also questioned the selection of current Director of Health Services, Kashmir, to the post. He said, as per rules, the Director of Health department should be from within this department only and not from Medical Education department.

“Government had assured in the State Legislature in 2003 that no doctor from Medical Education shall be brought to head the Health department. However, despite this, out of the last five directors four were from Medical Education department, including the present director,” the DAK president alleged.

He said it is “humiliating for the entire health fraternity as few people have been given illegal access through backdoor entry”.

Earlier, Dr. Mir Mushtaq, DAK spokesperson alleged that the development funds meant for hospitals are being misused and a huge chunk is paid as salaries to the “illegally appointed staff”.

Explaining reasons for the incompletion of the Drug Act in the Valley, Mir regretted that despite the act being formulated some 30 years ago in mainland India, Kashmir is yet to see it in its full light owing to the bureaucratic and lackadaisical approach of the government.

“This lack of interest in implementing the Act on part of the government and its concerned agencies is indeed a big incentive and patronization for the business of fake drugs in Kashmir,” Mir lamented.

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