Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig Sunday said Srinagar being the intellectual and political nerve centre of the state cannot remain aloof from the urge for change that is sweeping the state. Addressing a workers meeting of Khanyar constituency here today the former deputy chief minister said active participation of Srinagar in the political process for change will add credibility and prestige to it.
Baig claimed the aloofness of Srinagar from democratic process has resulted in disempowerment of its people which has led its beneficiaries to take them for granted. He said unless there was an element of accountability, the people of the capital city would continue to face problems. “Make your representatives accountable and things will start improving,” said Baig.
Referring to the disadvantages the urban citizens face, he said most people in Srinagar have hardly any assets to build on any economic activity. These people, he said, could have progressed on activities like tourism which could provide jobs to thousands. But unfortunately the NC that has ruled the state for decades and maintain monopoly on Srinagar have done nothing to build it as a tourist friendly city added Baig.
The PDP leader said Srinagar has to be built into a modern city without destroying its heritage “but the NC is destroying heritage without contributing to any development.” “The built and natural heritage of Srinagar gives it a special place on the map of tourism. Previously most tourists would spend more time in the city but now it has become a mere transit point where tourists generally stay only on way to other spots,” he said and claimed PDP has a vision to develop Srinagar in a manner that tourists feel attracted to prolong their stay here and go round not just Dal lake and Mughal Gardens but tour the interiors of the city to see its distinct life, culture and heritage.
Urging preservation of natural assets like the Dal lake and Nigeen Baig said without landmarks like these the city could not imagine itself.
Baig said a ‘sense of helplessness and disempowerment has seized the people under the NC rule which is a dangerous development but it could be a prelude to a pleasant change.’ He claimed the state government is involved in its survival battle and it is significant that people no more expect anything from it. “NC has a record of massive let downs. Between 1996 and 2002 it had an overwhelming majority in Assembly, Still it went into the lap of the NDA, extended AFSPA to Jammu and brought in POTA. He said the party gave away the most feasible hydel projects to NHPC and Now it is a drastically reduced political entity and entirely dependent on crutches and has become a perpetrator of worst crimes against people,” he alleged.
Speaking on the occasion senior leader and former finance minister Tariq Hamed Karra claimed the NC is ruling the state only on the strength of election boycott that is enforced by its cadres and agents in Srinagar. He said most of the elements who resorted to stone pelting during 2008 election to enforce boycott in Srinagar are now part of the ‘construction mafia.’ “Those boys are now contractors who are allotted works without tenders besides other political patronage,” he alleged.
Karra said instead of making false allegations against PDP the NC leadership should read writing on the wall which clearly indicates a surge for change. He said the way the once mighty organisation that won 65 seats in 1996 was reduced to 28 seats should make it clear to them that another party the PDP with largest vote share in the last election has arrived and people are looking up to it with hope.
Party chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar, district president Mohammad Ashraf Mir, secretary A H Kohsheen, Vice Presidents Nisar Mandu and Abdul Rauf Bhat, Showkat Hafiz, Firdous Ahmed, Aadil Jan, Mohammad Shafi Kundangar, Jehangir Wani and many other prominent workers spoke on the occasion.