When a newspaper reported that the government was buried under the snowfall, it was correct. Because four feet snow accumulation over the Pir Panchal heights snapped power transmission lines and the OFC bringing bandwidth to the Vale. Then part of the highway caved in and the supplies disrupted. It made Omar Abdullah government wiser. In the subsequent days when there was more snow, the government was not caught on wrong foot. It was at work. It did whatever it could. The power supply is better, and the bandwidth is up.
But it seems the government is trying overdoing it to show its concern. All of a sudden, everybody in the government is in Kashmir and all those who are visiting are doing the same thing – checking stocks, inspecting hospitals, managing photo-ops and issuing statements. It has created a situation that the officials in the districts and the divisional administration is more busy in receiving and hosting the ministers than actually delivering on the promises the ministers are making. The government is in action and it is all right. Governments should always remain alert especially at places likes Kashmir which are prone to problems for reasons of climate.
The government should use this opportunity to introspect. Kashmir is connected with the rest of the world through a fragile road. It is a consumer market that is dependent on almost everything from the plains, mostly Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. The biggest problem that Kashmir is facing these days is the depletion of the LPG. Given the poor stocks with the oil companies, the government has already asked the oil companies to market cylinders with only five kilograms and not 14 kgs of gas. This situation led the chief minister to issue a public statement that the oil companies are not doing what they are supposed to.
If the oil companies have failed to invest in the infrastructure they are required to, the government cannot issue a statement, pass the buck and absolve itself of responsibility. The minister who is the custodian of the supplies and stocks need to be taken to task. If he has failed, for whatever reasons, he needs to be changed. J&K cannot afford a non performing minister especially for critical areas like supplies because Kashmir trusts him with the basics of its survival – foods, fuels and LPG.
Already, the government is in the process of constructing a new road connecting Jammu with Srinagar that would come up almost on the same alignment along with tunnels. The railway line is also at an advanced stage of implementation. The second issue that should have immediately been taken care of is of medicines and baby foods. While the state government will have to initiate the issues like more secure power transmission and fast forwarding the new highway project with the Prime Minister, they would not require high end intervention in asking the major pharma players to have local commission and forwarding agents and warehousing facilities in Srinagar.