Stationing departments permanently in Jammu affront against people of Kashmir: M Akbar Lone

SRINAGAR: JKNC North Zone president and Member Parliament (Baramulla) Mohammad Akbar Lone on Monday expressed discontent over the government’s move to station various pivotal departments in Jammu secretariat saying the irrational decision speaks volumes about the revulsion present ruling dispensation nurtures for the rights of people of Kashmir.

He said that previously the government had halted the Annual Darbar Move citing COVID-19 earlier this year, and that since then successive orders emanating from the government have only added to the confusion on ground, perplexing administration and festering unaccountability within the administration. “The traditional Darbar Move is less climatology driven and more symbolic that affords a sense of empowerment to the people in the two diverse regions on either sides of Pir Panjal range to striking of unity and amity between different ethnic groups living across the length and breadth of J&K. Regrettably everything which symbolized Kashmir’s due say in the administration has been obliterated and done away with.  The incumbent administration has made Jammu the salient space of public authority and governmental action. Stationing all important departments in Jammu has put an end to the participative feeling of Kashmiri people.  The step has added an insult to injury, as if stripping Kashmir of its special constitutional character wasn’t enough.”

“The successive democratic government of the state too held that shifting the highest seat of power to and fro from Jammu to Srinagar will give impetus to development in the two diverse and geographically disconnected regions of J&K. This imprudent diktat ordered many departments to remain stationed at Jammu sans logic. What is more upsetting is that Departments like Health and disaster management have been made to stay put at Jammu secretariat, given the fact that the present precarious times required these departments to shift to Kashmir in view of the spike in COVID-19 related cases. The government has chosen not to do it, for the reason better known to it. It is not just an affront against the people of Kashmir and their rights and privileges, it also gives a lie to the claims of the government on ensuring parity between the two regions. Extending the working of Darbar at Jammu had already affected the development prospects in Kashmir, the new diktat has compounded the problems of people multifariously.  There is utter confusion on ground about the working of secretariat, people are confused as to where they should go to get their problems addressed,” he said.

“Such decisions will perceptibly echo on ground in terms of unaccountability and organizational breakdown. Kashmir’s health sector is entirely dependent on the government. There is no vibrant and effective private sector to address the patient rush that has seen surge in wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The order will inadvertently hit the morale of ground workers, frontline staff associated with the concerned departments,” he added.

Lone said that there is no convincing reason for the government to station these offices in Jammu permanently given the fact that all the departments traditionally moved to Srinagar with the shifting of Darbar Move to Srinagar. “The move will fester alienation in Kashmir.  Shifting the department enabled people here to seek redressal of their problems at their doorsteps. How will the poor and deprived visit Jammu to get their issues redressed? Who is going to pay for it? The focus of the governments should have been to assuage the problems of people resulting from COVID-19 crises; on the contrary, the government is pushing them to undue trepidation,” he said while demanding immediate shifting of all departments to Srinagar Secretariat. He sought the immediate rollback of the order at an earliest.

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