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, March 18, 2012

Laid Back Lifestyle

Proof that wages have gone up so high that outsourcing even at the bottom-most rung pays off

Safaiwala’s Now Outsource Safai

Mudasir Tariq Lone (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: It seems that outsourcing has arrived in Kashmir, that too in a big way. If over the last few years everything from orchard work to farming has been outsourced to labourers from outside the state, now even the Srinagar Municipal Corporation Safaiwala’s (Sweepers) with the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) having joined the race.

Reports from several down town areas especially Khanyaar, Khayaam and outskirts like Zakura, Gulab Bagh, reveal that these Safaiwala’s are hiring migrant labourers to do the jobs that they are supposed to do. The Safaiwalas are reportedly hiring migrant labourers to fill in for them while they work somewhere else. They then adjust by paying lower wages to migrant labourers in promise of a more volume of work.

“It is a win win situation for us. We get our work and money. They get to do another job”, says a migrant labourer who identified himself as Ram Prasad.

As per sources, Labourers mostly migrant workers from Bihar, Bengal and Orissa, have been engaged by these Safaiwala’s in their place, while as it is said that all these Safaiwala’s are doing their own business and some have engaged themselves in different government departments where they are working as volunteers or even as casual labourers.

“These Safaiwals have put these non-local labourers in their place, while as they are performing other activities and at the same time their work is being done, they have mostly put migrant woman labourers for this job. The Safaiwala’s have been given liability and nobody speaks against them. They are earning very well that is why they hire these people,” said Ali Mohammad a local.

However for these non-local labourers this job becomes a way of earning as they say that after removing garbage they can also do some other work and they seem to be satisfied with these Safaiwala’s who pay them on proper time.

“We are cleaning the garbage from the streets in place of the Safai karamchari. It is really a good thing and in our favour; we earn much money during a single day as we are handling two different tasks. During morning hours we collect garbage for the safaiwala’s and after that we move to some other work, the Safaiwala pays me in cash after every week.” said a non-local labourer who was seen collecting garbage from Gulab Bagh area.

When asked one of the labourer that it is illegal to work in place of an employee, he nodded his head while saying, ‘such things are usual in our country and the matter is that the work should be done’

When contacted chief sanitation officer SMC Manzoor Ahmad Turrey said, “We have not received any complaint regarding this matter. We don’t have any migrant Safaiwala’s. I guess these are the rag pickers who get the important things recycled from this garbage and we haven’t noticed these non-local labourers working anywhere in the city.”

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