By Citizen Journalist
Srinagar: The present administration in Kashmir claims to be honest. But the officials and the ministers cannot see the the mess that has become of Jehangir Chowk, Lal Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Residency Road, Dalgate, Batamaloo or any major intersection in the city. PSA can be slapped on minor boys without batting an eyelid, and repeatedly on that, but the same cops cannot make the public transport drivers to follow the traffic rules, the municipality officials cannot keep footpaths clear for pedestrians, the shopkeepers have a right to occupy half the pavement and all this happens in presence of the officials of law enforcing agencies.
Why has the road outside old assembly complex in Srinagar become yard for Tata Sumos plying to Anantnag? Why has Budshah Bridge become bus stop for buses plying to Batwara and Downtown? Why has Jehangir chowk become a yard for autorickshaws, Tata 407s and Sumos alike? And all this happens right under the nose of those who are supposed to prevent it -- High Court, Assembly, Civil Secretariat and Zonal Police headquarters are less than a kilometre away from this place.
The Government in Summer of 2009 announced construction of a Flyover from Jehangir Chowk to Natipora to ease the traffic congestion on this vital link and the project was to be completed in three years. Less than seven months are left for the intended three years to be completed but the Chief Minister has not even laid the foundation stone for the project so far. He will, and I am sure of that, before he relinquishes office in 2014!!!
The flyover on Panthachowk-Parimpora Bypass is in the works for last nine years -- already five years behind schedule -- and unlikely to be completed even this year, irrespective of peace prevailing or not in the valley.
There are many more problems facing the unfortunate residents of Kashmir in general and Srinagar City in particular but the tasks mentioned above, if accomplished at the earliest, would have made the lives of these very politicians, High Court Judges, top Bureaucrats and Police officers a lot more easier.
Does it need any further elaboration that if these flag bearers of various important institutions of the state have not been able to put their immediate surroundings in order, how they must have fared in areas where they only go for votes once in six years (politicians) or visit when they are appointed as head of a commission to probe a mystery (read the judges) or investigate a gruesome crime (read top police officers)?
I have spent most of my energy in finding fault with the system – and rightly so -- but we as a PEOPLE have also failed. We will have to start with 'I' -- do what is expected of us, not be greedy or seek too much comfort. Why cannot we walk a 200-yard distance to the designated bus stop. Why should we force the transporters to make a bus stop right on the intersection of a busy road. We may not have the powers to remove the footpath vendors but it is within us not to buy anything from them. Why shall they sit on pavements when no one is buying from them?
These are small beginnings I suggest but can go a long way if we, as Kashmiris, want to reclaim our place among the civilized people.