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, April 15, 2012

Srinagar Welcomes You - Please Stay Indoors

Welcome to the dysfunctional city

Welcome to Our City

Sameer Showkin Lone (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar:The dilapidated footpaths and water logged roadsides of city center, Lal Chowk, speak volumes over the misappropriation of the government money.

Such is the condition of footpaths at various parts, like Zaina Kadal, Residency road, Batamaloo market that most of the times pedestrians avoid to walk over these footpaths and use roads. This not only leads to traffic mess but also results in accidents.

The apathy is that state government has failed even to renovate few meter long footpath of historic Amira Kadal, which experiences a heavy flow of commuters.

“The footpaths are in dilapidated conditions. It is highly risky for older people to walk over it and one never knows when an untoward incident will be faced,” said a group of locals.

They added, Srinagar has become victim to the political rivalry which both the major political parties National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are playing over it. This tussle has resulted in getting summer capital neglected.

“We have the same drainage system which was constructed in 1930’s. Even the traffic has witnessed a manifold increase over the years, but unfortunately the city has the same roads which were 60 years ago,” believes noted historian Fida Hasnain.

Several people are of the opinion that Srinagar will not witness a major developmental fillip unless political parties instead of blaming each other, only to gain vote bank, will with full dedication and honesty uplift this city, which was also listed as the fourth dirtiest city of India.

The political parties often blame each other of ignoring this summer capital but when a thorough look at the ground facts is taken into account Srinagar has always been overlooked if compared with winter capital Jammu.

“The way government is paying special attention and diverting funds towards Jammu, this winter capital will soon acquire the status of a metropolitan city. And continuous negligence and government’s indifference will only see us going back to 19th century, where we will be plying horse carts on our dilapidated roads,” said disappointed Muhammad Ashraf Wangnoo, a local.

It is important to mention here that JKCCC has recently accused state government of diverting funds worth Rs 150 crores to Jammu which was meant for Valley.

Drainage concern:
The present drainage system is such that it does not drain out the rain water which results in water pools along the road sides. The rain water accumulated from last couple of days in Lal Chowk is yet to be drained out, which is affecting the businesses.

“The rain water will not automatically get flushed out as the drainage system is not of that standard,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, who has displayed flowers on the footpath.

The flower vendors said due to the accumulated rain water they have to lose a good number of customers as well. “This rain water lasts for several days and nobody from authorities bothers to flush it out. The SMC has gadgets to do this job but they hardly bother for this.”

Official Speak:
Despite the fact that State Municipal Corporation (SMC) has four sucking machines to suck the overflowed water from the roads, but the accumulated rain water in Lal chowk is yet to be flushed out.

Chief Sanitation Officer Manzoor Ahmad said the accumulated water can’t be sucked by using sucker machines near the Biscoe School and its vicinity.

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