SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Tuesday asserted that the governments Back to village program is mere eyewash that has failed in addressing and assessing the specific economic potential and the needs of the villages.
While interacting with scores of delegations who had thronged the Party Head quarters Nawa e Subha in Srinagar, Party General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said the party was not against development and that the inclusive, participatory and sustainable development has all along been the core of party’s agenda. He said the current B2V exercise was an illusionary exercise that has failed to enthuse people and give anticipated results.
He said the B2V exercise far from taking administration to the doorsteps of people, disturbed the district administration already working in the field. “Unfortunately, there has been no follow up to earlier B2V exercises which has rendered this new phase of B2V a sheer mockery. Non-observance of the official commitments in the previous two rounds of B2V is widening the trust-deficit between people and the officials. The absence of a robust redressal mechanism has therefore rendered the entire exercise ineffective,” he said.
Sagar further added that the exercise is being carried out to give a false impression that the government was alive to the needs of common people; while ground realities he said are different. “The prime objective of the exercise is to divert the attention from the real issues of Jammu and Kashmir. The common people continue to suffer on account of administrative apathy, governance deficit and administrative inertia. Far from bridging the gap between people and government, the B2V programme is sadly increasing the gulf between governed and those who are governing. People are being told to seek online appointments before visiting secretariat for the redressal of their problems when many don’t have access to the internet and are not literate enough to access email. Where are such people supposed to do? Who is going to address their issues?”
“Reportedly the two rounds of B2V programme have not delivered encouraging results as execution of the majority of the identified infrastructure works in the first and second phases have been abysmally low. Not even a day passes when delegation after delegation from across Kashmir visit us to narrate a grimy tale of the poor state of affairs in their villages, hamlets and towns,” he said.
Party General Secretary said the government has miserably failed to uplift the rural economy of Kashmir which he said has been suffering on account of weather vagaries and successive clampdown and Covid-19 induced lock down since 2019. He said the horticulturalists, and people associated with other agricultural and allied activities have incurred heavy losses since August 5th last year and that the government failed to provide effective recompense to them to make of their losses and help them sustain their agricultural activities. “The farmers continue to suffer on account of soaring debts. The government has failed to stimulate the rural economy and augment agricultural and rural infrastructure. It has also disabled the farmers’ access to quality inputs, technology and markets by closing multi utility sale centers across Kashmir,” he said.
Extolling the role of then Omar Abdullah led government in strengthening the roots of grassroots level governance, Sagar said that it was during the previous NC led government that peace full Panchayat elections were held which witnessed a massive voter turnout in 2011. “J&Ks own Panchayat law brought in by the NC led government was far more democratic and empowering than the corresponding Central Acts. On the contrary this administration is more interested in propaganda and photo ops. The current regime has not been able to conduct elections for the vacant 12000 Panchayat Halqas and wherever elections were conducted, most of the contestants won unopposed while many so called representatives were airdropped who had no idea about local issues and topography,” he said.
Sagar said the failed official spectacle of B2V neither empowered the Panchayats nor captured the specific economic potential of villages. “Far from proving a stepping stone in taking democracy to the grass-roots, ensuring participation of basic units of the society (villages) into the development, the entire exercise disturbs the administration at Block, District and at Tehsil level. Such exercises are marked by distribution of domicile and income certificates only. It goes without saying that the exercise is a waste, the money could have been used on other public works,” he said.