Corruption stains 'Paradise on Earth'

The CRPF and the state police on the roads, streets and deep along the Jhelum river are resented, and violently defied by the youths, families of victims as also by those in league with separatists but same is not happening against “the corrupt” state politicians of all hues though there is a deep pent up anger against them.

“Corruption has always been there but it is turning from bad to worse,” is a common refrain in the valley which of all the states in India attracts the  best possible economic package from the central government.

The silent majority in the city  is keen that successive governments in the state deliver in terms of generating employment , giving basic health, food,  education,  transport  and other civic amenities. “Local militancy has considerably gone down. There are very few with masks and guns in the valley. We need corruption free governance,” says Basheer Ahmed, a teacher, in Habba Kadal.

“The families with  jobs are given another job and the ones without any bread earner are ignored,” he says, adding that only influential people “are benefiting and getting richer.”
Near the Residency Road, a discussion is under progress on “the disconnect” of politicians with the people.  “ I have seen a senior state leader harshly  snubbing  one person in his constituency who helped him winning elections,” says Mohammad Faiyaz, a tailor. “Nobody gives a damn to common man. It is not a happy place to be in.”
Are the local policemen helpful? “They are the most corrupt. Money changes hands and  separatists and militants involved,” comments Tariq Hussain, an autorickshaw driver  who maintains  that situation was equally bad in the villages. He says local policemen are mostly “extortionists” who make good money by implicating people in  the cases of  terror or militancy .

Tourism is the mainstay of the Kashmir valley, but the way the heart of  tourist attraction – Dal lake — is managed tells it’s own story. There is no dustbin in sight with garbage littered on the road opposite the Nishant Garden. And the Lake itself is not as spick-and-span as it should be, given the fact that it attracts huge funds not only from India but also from international agencies.

Last week, a leading daily “Greater Kashmir” accused a state cabinet minister of purchasing a villa worth Rs 120 crore in the famed ‘The Palm Tree Villas’ in Dubai. An inquiry has been ordered.

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