Governors as federal agents in states in India are constitutionally empowered to monitor the overall functioning of the state governments. It is their constitutional duty to ensure that governments are not run contrary to the interests of the citizens. The speech of Governor N NVohra to the joint session of assembly reflected the concerns that majority of the people in the state share. However, many of the issues the he talked about, were not based on absolute facts.
While human rights violations in general in 2011 were at the lowest, the claims of zero tolerance by the state to such acts seem to be unsubstantiated.The alleged death of a young man in police custody in Sopore in July last year is a case in point. Recently another person was killed by the security forces in Rafiabad in the northern district of Baramulla, in a normal and unprovoked situation. While the government has every right to take the credit of conducting the Panchayat elections successfully, it should also take responsibility for its failure to supply adequate power to the people in valley towards the close of the year 2011.
Power woes this winter were worse. The new curtailment schedule announced by PDD this winter, which is still effective in non-metered areas, undercuts the value of the statement that power supply to the valley was better. On the contrary, the valley reeled under complete darkness for many days.
The Governor’s speech highlighted several developmental initiatives undertaken by the government in the education and other sectors, including the opening of central universities and some new colleges. Unemployment, the major concern of educated youth in the state was somehow missed by the head of the state. While the issue should have been part of the speech and the efforts to create avenues for the frustrated younger generations must have been brought to the fore. One of the major concerns of the people in Kashmir is the health of national highway especially during winters and the consequent condition of the stocks of essential commodities.
The harsh winter of 2011 falsified the claims of the government with regard to the maintenance of this life line as well as storage and supply of essential commodities in Kashmir. Same was the fate of government run hospitals during many days of this winter. The state run hospital went out the oxygen supplies for many hours during several days. The speech did mention the reformed state accountability and vigilance commissions, it bypassed the rampant corruption among the lawmakers of the state. Cases of alleged corruption among top politicians of the state occupied the front pages of the local dailies throughout year 2011; the inability of the government to initiate stringent legal proceedings against many of these is undoubtedly one of the many highlights of the year bygone.
The audacity with which the achievements were stated by the Governor should have also been present in censuring the incumbent government over its failure to deliver on many fronts, otherwise the essence of democracy gets lost in the noise of politicking.