Ever since Kashmir landed into the crisis of blood and gore, the discourse that has dominated the state policy continues to be that sections resorting to violence are enemies of peace and development. All actions, reactions and initiatives of the government in the state and the centre revolve round this argument.
The papers the government tabled in Assembly suggest that the development reshaping the strife ridden state was lopsided and discriminatory. Entire opposition comprising BJP, PP, CPI (M) and PDP decided to boycott the proceedings demanding a joint house committee probe into the happenings in the health ministry. They stayed away for a day and returned only after their demand was accepted. One lawmaker broke down while describing the crisis saying he is not getting even a school despite a leopard killing a boy who was coming from a school, located far away, from his home.
In last two years, the house was informed that 32 health institutions were either opened afresh or upgraded. Of them 16 went to four constituencies – eight to Chrar-e-Sharief represented by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, three to Uri represented by Irrigation and PHE Minister, three to Akhnoor represented by Health Minister Sham Lal and two to Rafiabad that junior Health Minister Javed Ahmad Dar represents. This left only 16 for the rest of the state.
But it was not only about health.
They talked about education and finance too. In Education ministry, for instance, the official records revealed that since 2009, 14 high schools were upgraded to the higher secondary – six in Jammu and nine in Kashmir. Of the nine in Kashmir, six up-gradations took place in Kokernag – education minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed’s constituency and two in Chrar-e-Sharief.
Interestingly, of the 25 middle schools upgraded to high schools in Kashmir 15 were in Chrar-e-Sharief and 10 in Kokernag. During 2009-10, a total of 34 schools were upgraded across Kashmir. Of them 16 in Kokernag and 17 in Chrar-e-Sharief.
Problems in allocation of resources were detected as well. From the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund the finance minister’s constituency got whopping Rs 142 crore (Rs 90 crore under RIDF XV and Rs 52 crore under RIDF XVI). Of the 78 rural road projects for J&K under RIDF XV 18 projects are in Budgam district. Of the nine rural road projects (RIDF XV), seven are in Budgam district and from 35 roads (RIDF XVI) eight would be laid in Budgam alone.
Is the development being used as a weapon at the micro level? If yes, it can add yet another element to the crisis which can further divide a population.