Empty Coffers

   

The political uncertainty that was forced by recent election results has left Jammu and Kashmir in crisis. There is no formal government in place since September 7, 2014 floods. Ironically most of the elected representatives were seen flying out of summer capital Srinagar as soon as city started to get submerged. But before people could have rebuilt their lives all over again and go about their day-to-day routines like before, New Delhi announced elections. Despite ruling NC opposing the timing of such a move election commission went ahead with the process promising people that elections’ won’t hamper relief and rehabilitation work. It took more than a month to formally conclude the process of choosing representatives for next six years. And once the results were out, everybody thought that now it is going to be the end of their miseries as new government will undo what needs to be undone and do what should have been done by the previous formation. But that did not happen at all as political gamblings, negotiations (both formal and informal), blame-games etc. took too much time, forcing governor to take over the command.

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And by the time governor took charge of the state, things were already in a mess. Take for instance the present financial crisis that J&K is facing right now. There is immediate need of around Rs 2000 crore to keep the state running. But New Delhi is not ready to release the needed amount unless a civil government is at the helm of affairs. However, with already a month gone since results were declared, absence of any new formation has left Kashmir at God’s mercy.

Without funds, post flood reconstructions work of necessary infrastructure is impossible. The state owes contractors bills worth Rs 600 crore. And unless these bills are not cleared no new work is possible. There is no cash in government coffers to even meet its daily expenses.

But given the state of our roads, hospitals, power sector, schools etc after floods, the government should have been working round the clock rather than waiting for funds to be released. But unfortunately, despite voting in large numbers, there is nobody at the helm of affairs right now to help people. These are challenging times and governor is doing whatever he is authorised to do, but he cannot do what an elected CM could have.

But with no clear picture emerging so far from behind the closed-door meeting taking place between two big political parties, state is forced to raise Rs 300 crore from the open market to meet its day-to-day expenses.

It would be interesting to see how the new government is going to tackle this financial mess once it takes over. Or bailing out J&K is going to be one of the per-conditions that the single largest party will negotiate before a formal nod of alliance. Let us wait.

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