Two faces of One Kashmir: Success & Deprivation

Rarely do ideas and deeds come together to eradicate long-standing social injustices. Visions can develop into virtues if they are accompanied by a resolve to build a just society. Three years prior, India made the decision to let go of the past that was preventing the 1.3 crore residents of Jammu and Kashmir from reaching their full potential and launched the construction of a fresh, thriving Union Territory. While Jammu and Kashmir has become one of the most developed regions in the world because to New Delhi’s developing peace, and prosperity policies, PoK has continued to be an underdeveloped territory as a result of Islamabad’s characterization of it as a centre of terrorism.

In contrast to Jammu and Kashmir, where India is implementing a number of new projects to meet the needs of the post-Covid economy, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has seen significant budget cuts as a result of the government’s preference for dishonest officials and China’s incursion into the region and use of the land to advance its goals. The Pakistani federal government has gone above and above to placate China and is permitting its brilliant plan to establish a sea route through PoK.

Muzzafarabad, the capital of PoK, cannot be compared to Srinagar or Jammu, the twin capitals of J-K. It’s like contrasting India’s regional towns with the megacities of Mumbai and Kolkata. While PoK only has two airports, J-K has four. In J-K, there are 35 universities, compared to just 6 in PoK. Only 23 hospitals exist in PoK, where many people perish each month owing to a lack of basic medical facilities and anti-venom immunizations, while 2812 hospitals in J-K offer free healthcare to residents.

For the fiscal year 2022–2023, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir received a budget of Rs. 1.12 lakh crore (USD 13.33 billion) from Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Himalayan region’s economy would be strengthened and employment will be generated through the budget. Power development receives the greatest appropriations for the fiscal year 2022–2023 in the J–K Budget, which places a strong emphasis on education, housing, and public health engineering. In terms of current prices, J-GDP K’s is anticipated to expand by 7.5% between 2021 and 2022. The Prime Minister’s Development Package projects have cost a total of Rs 36,112 crore. The budget for PoK in 2021–22, on the other hand, was 141 billion Pakistani rupees, or little over 78.55 million US dollars. The federal government recently cut PoK’s development budget by Rs 5.2 billion, according to Abdul Majid Khan, Finance Minister of PoK, which Khan claimed could cause a serious unbalance in the financial system. The 3.64 percent portion of the federal revenue pool (variable grant) that the Pakistani federal government was due to give to PoK in the amount of Rs 49.9 billion has also been reduced by Rs 4.4 billion. The ministers of PoK believe that the federal government’s plan to reduce budgetary allocations may have uncontrollable effects on PoK’s financial system and result in the area becoming poorer.

In J-K, four National Highway projects are expected to be completed in 2022. Ten new road/tunnel projects have been agreed upon by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India under Bharatmala The world’s highest 1315-meter long railway bridge over River Chenab is targeted for completion by end of 2022. A total of 25 projects have been completed/substantially and another four projects are likely to be completed by the end of the current financial year. The condition of roads in PoK is pathetic with people reported to plunge to their deaths on a daily basis into ravines in road accidents, due to a lack of safety infrastructure.

Denizens of PoK are suffering silently as they are not allowed to raise their voice. The media is controlled by the government to ensure that human rights violations by the armed forces and terrorists aren’t reported.

The benefits of the merger of J&K with the Union of India have started to trickle down to the people. After Aug. 5, 2019, the J&K government received investment proposals worth Rs.150 billion from around 40 companies from sectors like Information Technology, Defense, Renewable Energy, Tourism, Skill, Education, Hospitality, and infrastructure.

During the past two years, the J&K government has achieved 100 per cent household electrification with 24×7 power for all. Household water connections have reached 43 per cent of rural households which is double the national average of 21 per cent, and a road map has been prepared to ensure 100 per cent coverage of piped water supply to all 10816 million rural households by December 2021. The state of PoK was disturbing and alarming.

In a nutshell, it can be said that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir is way behind the Kashmir region of India and its main reason is that the ideology of India is development-oriented while the region of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir is used as a centre of terrorism by Pakistan.




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Jagdish Singh

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