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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"World Looking for Mars, We are Still in Dark Ages"

Proof that community related issues are of no concern to Kashmiris

In 2012, Srinagar Has no Bus Stop

Shafat Farooq (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: The lofty claims of the state government that it will make the Srinagar city one of the finest in India may be a distant dream even for the residents of Srinagar as even in the 21st century this summer capital is without the bus stops.

Though in the past the government had taken initiatives to construct the bus stops here in the Srinagar city alone, but the bizarre schemes of the successive regimes produced nothing till date.

Srinagar city has a population of over 13lacs and over the years the population of private vehicles plying on the streets of city has grown tremendously, but to the utter shock of the commuters the city has no bus stops resultantly adding to the day to day traffic woes in the city.

A cursory look at the bus stop system of the Srinagar city presents a gloomy picture of this city. Although the city has near about 50 bus stops but majority of them have either been captured by the road side vendors or the bus stops are lying unattended at many places.

“Commuters are forced to wait for buses while standing on the roadside under severe weather conditions during the summer season due to the absence of bus stops,” said a resident of civil lines Manan Syed.

“In the past, many bus stops were constructed in the civil lines and the downtown but the municipal authorities never bothered to maintain or to repair them subsequently. The problem here is that there exists no such culture to board a bus at a bus stop, people have to be educated first about their use,” Manan added.

Although the Srinagar Municipal Corporation had constructed many bus-stops across the city, but due to its negligence, the commuters could not take advantage from them. Sheds of various bus stops set up on different routes, are either broken down or have holes in them.

At Dalgate two bus stops were erected five years ago, not by the municipal authorities but by CRPF, today these bus stops have become the haven for the non-state beggars and some mentally retard persons who have erected the make shift tents with these bus stops.

“The passengers, including women, students and old-age citizens have to stay for long under these broken sheds. Commuters have to wait on footpath or by standing on the roadside for the transport due to the absence of proper bus stops or sheds. And in the summer season and after monsoon rains, it becomes very difficult for the commuters to wait without sheds,” Sarwar Hussain, a commuter waiting at Regal Chowk for public transport, said.

Asking the authorities to talk less and do more on the ground, Kashmir’s veteran poet and President Valley Citizen Council, Zareef Ahmed Zareef said the district administration should wakeup and ‘fulfil their otherwise hollow slogans’

“Municipal authorities have to look over such issues. The government is totally responsible for this grim picture of the city,” Zareef said.

Zareef in his typical style while mocking at the government said, the “West is planning to conquer Mars after having landed on the moon but we in Kashmiri still dream about having better footpaths.”

The residents of the downtown said due to the non-availability of the bus stops, the downtown witness’s heavy traffic jam every other day.

They said the commuters are forced to wait for passenger buses on the roadside due to which traffic jam occurs frequently.

“The drivers of the passenger buses stop their vehicles where ever they want, even some times in the midst of the road due to which many vehicles are forced to line in a queue resulting in a traffic jam,” Said Faizan Syed Naqaush a resident of downtown.

“Bus stops at many places can be of immense convenience to streamline the traffic mess in the city. It will not only serve residents of Srinagar and other townships in an effective way, but also help in mitigating vehicular congestion in the valley,” SP traffic city Haseeb-ur-Rehman told The Kashmir Monitor over phone.

He said the traffic department has identified 164 spots in the Srinagar city alone for the creation of bus stops out of which 25 are under construction.

“I have already submitted a proposal to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation by which city will get a different look in the coming months. Out of 164 bus stops, 25 bus stops in the city are going under construction and the rest of them will be completed in the next 6 months’ time,” Haseeb claimed.

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