Jammu: Saying that state government failed to provide people with the basic amenities and infrastructure required for catering to their daily problems and woes like electricity and supply of drinking water, former Minister and senior Congress leader Monday said it was unfortunate that people were being subjected to load shedding of electricity for long hours .Addressing the party workers at Narwal Bye pass in Gandhi Nagar constituency today he said the government has even failed to provide people with the basic amenities and infrastructure required for catering to their daily problems and woes.
Bhalla slammed Govt for snubbing yet again people of Jammu province with a proposed move to close completely the civil secretariat in Jammu for full six months – a move that would further add to the woes and difficulties of the already suffering people of Jammu region. He said that such a move will force aggrieved people from Jammu region to go to Srinagar to get their work done. It was during the time of Congress Govt in 2006 that a decision was taken to introduce the concept of winter capital and summer capital taking into account the needs of the people and their financial constraints and the fact that the state had two capitals, Jammu and Srinagar. The practice was followed during all these eight years between 2006 and 2014 without break, but all of sudden PDP-BJP coalition government doesn’t see any merit in this practice, Bhalla maintained.
Pointing towards power crises in Jammu region he said that when temperature is hovering over 45 to 47 degree Celsius, unscheduled power cuts has become a routine affair which adding miseries to the people. While expressing his grave concern over mounting problems of the common masses, he said that due to its mis-governance this regime has lost its credibility. He took the coalition government to task for its failure to provide even ration to the people in the urban what to say of rural and remote belts.
Taking serious note of power crisis at a time when the heat wave is increasing day-by-day, Bhalla sought immediate intervention of Chief Minister to avert the crisis and provide relief to the people of the Jammu region by taking desired steps to deal with power crisis especially in rural areas. He also stressed on conducting survey of the areas where transformers have been damaged and not repaired and replaced. The repair of transformers in private factories is held up due to payment issue and stressed that adequate fund be earmarked for the same as hampering of power supply is also affecting the water supply in those areas. Terming the current situation as unfortunate, former Minister said what to talk of the non-metered areas, even the localities where 100% metering of consumers was done several years back, have been reeling under acute power crisis. Regarding unscheduled power cuts and erratic water supply in Jammu region, Bhalla said, Govt should provide uninterrupted and regular power supply to the people of Jammu and other districts of Jammu province. In rural areas, people were already experiencing 8-10 hours scheduled and unscheduled power cuts, but urban localities, where 100 per cent e-metering had been completed, have also started bearing the brunt of unscheduled power cuts and night outages due to frequent tripping of transmission lines, he added.
Raising question over irregular ration supply, Bhalla said that wheat, sugar and kerosene are the three items most people prefer to purchase from the PDS system. These are the three items that do not result in any major perception of lower quality from having been purchased from the PDS system, as opposed to rice, which is usually noticeably poorer quality than the more expensive and better tasting store bought varieties. The PDS system which was aimed at poverty alleviation and to curb hunger in the lower classes of the society but unfortunately with time India has changed, but the good old Public Distribution System remained the same. Expressing concern over black-marketing of Kerosene oil, Bhalla demanded that when it reaches the Dealer or the whole seller, it need to be first checked by the Tahsildar or any officer from his office and certified that the tanker is not tampered with. Only after that a tanker should be unloaded at the depot.
Once the Tanker is unloaded at the depot, it again needs to be certified by the tahsildar that the entire load is unloaded, and the documents are needed to be stamped and signed. Same goes with Semi wholesalers as they buy the entire sealed lorry from the Dealers. The semi-wholesaler then distributes the stock to the Hawkers and retailers. There is a need to use more realistic language in reporting statistics to citizens. There is also a need to investigate sources of leaks and plug them comprehensively while making necessary revisions for the system to still remain viable enough for the distribution to happen, he added.
There is a need for kerosene to be available for purchase on the open market as opposed to government ration sources alone. This will reduce the market for “black” kerosene if people can simply buy legally. The problem is such that these “leakages” often result in kerosene being unavailable for people to purchase even if they are entitled to purchase with their ration cards. Households dependent on kerosene for cooking end up spending far more money purchasing the kerosene siphoned off from the system at higher prices. These solutions are really practical but it needs a strong political will for its implementation. The real problem has to be visible for real solutions to even be deemed necessary, Bhalla maintained.
2015 Kashmir Despatch