Jammu: Accusing the Centre of abandoning people at the crucial juncture, former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday alleged that administrative apathy coupled with mismanagement and nepotism was proving fatal than the current pandemic.
‘From the rising graph of COVID positive cases and fatalities caused by it, it is clear that administration in Jammu and Kashmir, like the rest of the country, was caught unprepared to meet the exigencies,’ Ms Mehbooba said, adding that alleged nepotism and favouritism has crippled entire administrative setup in the erstwhile state compounding miseries of general masses.
She said that administration at the district level has been crippled as the ruling dispensation in New Delhi is not allowing even the officers to take decisions required for the welfare of people. ‘The independence and functioning of administration has been made hostage to the political aspiration of Bhartiya Janta Party and Jammu has been at the receiving end,’ she said.
Ms Mehbooba said that Mughal Road and Kishtwar-Sinthan highways remained closed for vehicular traffic despite huge amount spend on snow clearance only because those sitting in New Delhi consider surface connectivity of Pripanchal and Chenab Valley with Kashmir region as detrimental to their political interests. ‘The closure of these important road links has not only affected business community but has also restricted options for those who are required to go for specialised medical treatment,’ she alleged.
The PDP president said that non-availability of required health infrastructure and shortage of manpower at the district level has also compounded the issue. ‘At some place like Kishtwar and Ramban, the ventilators installed a year ago remained non-functional due to the unavailability of trained manpower,’ she said.
She said several people, including youngsters, have lost their lives in Rajouri and Poonch district allegedly due to non-availability of required medical facilities.
Ms Mehbooba said that efficiency, experience and competency are no more yardsticks for posting of officers at key places resulting into complete administrative chaos. ‘Jammu in particular has mixed population and it has always been ensured balanced administration but in last two years, nepotism has resulted into imbalance in administration,’ she said.
She said that ST, SC population has been victimised in the name of anti-encroachment drives and people have been pushed to walls to appease some political heavyweights.
Ms Mehbooba said all the sections of society including traders, industrialists, transports, farmers, labourers besides others were today at the crossroad due to the official apathy and administrative inertia. ‘Jammu in particular was given impression that Article 370 was the only hurdle in development and prosperity of the region. Today even medicine was not available to the people battling the pandemic,’ she said.
‘The recent revelations by BJP leaders about functioning of the party and its leadership and facilitating corruption, she said, was indication of how rights of people are being muzzled to benefit few people connected to the ruling party,’ Ms Mehbooba said.
She urged the party leaders to formulate emergency response strategy at district level and reach out to the people at the grassroots level. ‘We must acknowledge Non-Government and social organisations across Jammu and Kashmir, who have played key role during the current crises. I hope our party leaders will also assist these organisations in reaching out to the people,’ she said.