Towards a responsive government

In an editorial comment daily Greater Kashmir writes that within a month of the proclamation of Governor’s Rule in the state, J&K has started witnessing a discernible turnaround in governance through prompt service delivery and proactive public outreach by the government functionaries.

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Kishanganga Power Project

Dr. Javid Iqbal

 Kishanganga project was inaugurated by Prime Minister, though Pakistan continues to object. Indus Water Treaty (IWT) gives Pakistan control over waters of Western rivers, Chenab, Indus, Jhelum, but India has the right to make use of the ‘run of river’, and as such hydro electric projects on western rivers stand within the  provisions of the Treaty. Pakistan had taken the matter to Court of Arbitration, but the court ruled in favour of India, but left room for Pakistan to keep contesting the case. Pakistan started building its own project on the river. Yet Pakistan fears that Kishanganga project will give India control over the river. In Kashmir people are sore about NHPC exploiting state’s hydro electric resources and want the return of the projects to the state. The state has to buy power, inspite of power being generated on its projects.

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Absence of Forest Policy

The daily Kashmir Images writes that once 80% J&K state’s territory was under forest cover, but today it is less than 50%, that shows the extent of damage done to forests. The loot of the forest is going on, with smugglers  active and department conniving with them, because of corruption. The management of forest wealth is so poor that even though forest department  stores have enough timber, that is rotting, but it is not being given to people  who need it. The other worrisome factor is that management of ‘minor forest products’ – MFP, that include herbs and medicinal plants – is now non-existent.

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PakalDul HEP: Cost – Benefit Analysis

Iftikhar Drabu

The arrangements agreed for implementation and operation of PakalDul Hydroelectric Project (HEP) are damaging to the state and will result in heavy loss of revenue, writes Iftikhar Drabu. According to him, the state has conceded exemption of i) Entry tax, ii) Works contract tax iii) exemption from 12% free power, vi) water cess. All the exemptions amount to large sums of money which will benefit end consumer at the expense of state revenue.

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 The Enigma of Rejection

According to daily Nida-i-Mashriq, Hurriyat (G) has rejected negotiations with the Central government unless New Delhi accepts its five conditions, including declaring Kashmir as a dispute. The daily further writes that it does not seem to be a decision of joint leadership. Why? UN resolutions may be there, but UN failed to get these implemented. It has to be noted that Pakistan did not fulfil the very first condition of withdrawing its forces. So how could resolutions be implemented? Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s statement on negotiations  is moderate. But Mr. Ali Shah Geelani should remember that when Hurriyat leaders travelled to New Delhi to have talks during the time of A B Vajpayee, who had not said anything about Kashmir being disputed, why should Mr. Geelani put pre-conditions this time?

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Rajnath Singh and Kashmir Problem

Home Minister’s acceptance that Kashmir is a complicated problem and needs time to solve, shows that there is realization that problem needs to be solved, writes daily Srinagar Times editorially. Kashmir problem has assumed a dangerous character, because of the turmoil of last 30 years. Inspite of many leaders resolving to solve it, and many accords being executed, the problem remains where it was. It is high time that Centre takes immediate steps for reviving negotiations, so as to seek a solution.

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Governor’s rule – hopes and expectations

The people have expectations that Governor will devote his time towards solving people’s problems, as previous government got entangled in  political turmoil and ignored governance, writes Chattan. According to daily the real problem is that the state administration is rusted, inefficient, corrupt and lacks a work culture. Unless Governor brings about a definite change in the structure, he won’t be able to solve people’s problems, which are many.

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The Change

Change of seasons is a natural phenomenon, and would be on expected lives. But thanks to man’s overzealous interference with nature, the pattern has changed. Now the change is sudden and on unexpected lines, and you may attribute it to global warming and climate change. After the unusual heat of June, Kashmir witnessed consistent rainfall for a few days, that caused swelling of rivers and there was imminent danger of floods revisiting Kashmir. The memory of the damage caused by September 2014 floods is still fresh in people’s memory. Somehow, disaster was averted. The dangers of a flood did activate the administration to get prepared for facing the eventuality, reminding the people of the urgency of protecting the environment. We know enough damage has been caused by reckless deforestation, encroachments on water bodies and pollution of air by effluents from vehicles, using fossil fuel. There is a kind of awakening that such activities have to be curbed that disturb the ecological balance.

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