Binoo Joshi

JK News Today Special Commentary


Union Home Minister Amit Shah has cleared the air with regard to Jammu and Kashmir that the Centre’s top priority is development in the Union Territory and everything else will follow at a later stage.

Amit Shah does plain speaking . He does not leave any one in delusion , neither his own party workers nor others. And, his interview with TV 18 on Saturday night was candid enough to make the people understand that what Modi government’s policy on Kashmir is- to weave people’s aspirations with the development of infrastructure building and empowerment of the people .

There are two ways of looking at the development that Amit Shah spoke of . The clues were there when he spoke of Bihar , the state that is going to polls in weeks’ time . The poll plank is pure development .

One part of the development is creation and construction of infrastructure needed for human development . The connectivity through roads , bridges , and schools , hospitals are essential to better the lives of the people . In J&K , the people need life at a level field for their lives have been marooned in hopelessness in the absence of the basic development and denial of what is due to them.

At the moment, the people cannot think of better lives because much of their quality time is lost in navigating the difficulties in accessing the basic facilities . There life is disconnected from the modes of connectivity.

Jammu and Kashmir is facing a huge problem of connectivity where rural population at most of the places is living in primitive conditions .They have to climb hills , cross rivers and often carry patients on cots to hospitals , many of whom die before reaching the nearest health centres. Even if they reach hospitals, there are not enough doctors, paramedical staff and facilities to cure the patients.

The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir , now divided into two Union Territories of J&K, and Ladakh – ,is grappling with these problems over the decades. The development issues were subjected to politicisation, which often lost in the narrative of confrontation with Delhi. Or, it was a subject matter of political rivalries , often translated into the regional, communal and sub-regional conflicts . This clouded the whole concept of development. The result was the basic facilities were not made available to the people. They are yearning for these even today.

A definitive infrastructure is a basic necessity for empowering the people . This development instils a sense of confidence among the people , they know the distances, and the destination of the institutions where they want to reach to fulfil their aspirations .

This development leads to empowerment of the people both in terms of economy and political . When the paths are smooth , the political visions also become clear. They come to know that the real political power lies in the grassroots democratic institutions like Panchayats, Block Development Councils. Now the Government has added elected District Development Councils to this ladder of democracy . These institutions were there in the rest of the country but not in J&K.

The Modi Government has sent Manoj Sinha as the Lieutenant Governor who is engaged in pushing the pace of development and the process of democratisation .