Corruption is tantamount to subversion || LIVE IMAGE

 






It is after a long time since the former Governor of the erstwhile state of J&K, Satyapal Malik raised issues of corruption in the state that the new incumbent, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha made his options clear on the subject on the very first day of his joining. In fact, his statement followed the statement of BVR Subramaniam, the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of the J&K who spoke at length on this issue last week. His ideas were duly covered by the media and as such the general public was seemingly happy on their bold assertions.

As was expected, the Valley centric political parties got irked and all of them issued their statements opposed to the views of the LG and the Chief Secretary. However, they suggested the ideas of investigations into the alleged involvement of politicians in the scams and corruption in the UT. There has been a great demand from the public since 5 August 2019 for exposing the political leaders involved in corrupt practices for the last seven decades in the UT and also take them to justice as soon as possible.

J&K Chief Secretary, BVR Subramanyam without mincing words said, "Frauds in J&K were at unbelievable levels. Fraud in Job, fraud in projects and frauds everywhere. The whole J&K was a big ponzi scheme. Things were designed for corruption. Mis-governance and corruption were for so long that the system has collapsed from inside. J&K was a broken state. There was no system in place due to years of mis-governance, corruption and unbelievable levels of fraud committed by leaders of mainstream political parties and separatist organisations. The former J&K Bank Chairman and MD was the scamster number 1. Twenty to thirty families milked the J&K Bank, the premier financial institution of the state. It's a terrible situation in J&K. Fraud in land acquisition, Kashmiri doctors working in the Middle East were drawing regular salaries in J&K for nothing, unfortunately with the approval of the government".

The statements by both the LG and CS on corruption have the potential to lift the morale of the people with honest intent and conduct in the administration. There can be no alternative to the public welfare in politics and it is considered as the ultimate politics in public life.

Jammu & Kashmir has assumed a top position among all states and UTs of the country in the dubious field of corruption and internal financial & political subversion connected with non-transperency and non-accountability. To add salt to the injury, corruption is institutionalized here in the form of 'genuine tradition' of the system nourished by politicians and bureaucrats for a long time. 

Seventy years after Independence, despite making an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of crores by the successive governments, the state is heavily dependent upon the centre in almost all fields of economic activity. Those among the political dynasties in both Jammu and Kashmir regions have amassed wealth and assets completely disproportionate to their income, capacity and worth. Even the departments created to check corruption were allowed to become the hub of corruption themselves.

Transfer and postings of emploees from one place to another in various departments of the UT has assumed the status of an "industry" for the politicians and people working in the ministries. There is a huge notion among the general public that the government job is a sanction to do corruption at will in lieu of the work done in the office. Revenue, works departments, excise and sales tax, forest, municipal bodies etc. are considered as the hub of corruption. Even Judiciary doesn't lag behind in this competitive oldest profession of corruption. The court attendants and other assistant staff take bribe right in the court room when the honorable judges are present on the dias. The police department is also in this field considered as an active and bold player playing the "game" well to the satisfaction of those who are party to the booty.

Though the general public has felt enthused due to the statements of the LG and the Chief Secretary in this regard and these assertions have raised their hope yet they have a very little expectation consequent upon their past experiences. This author has a very typical experience of the state administrative set up in this regard. A full fledged complaint regarding huge corruption in a department of the erstwhile state was brought to the notice of one of the Advisers of the state (who was later reinstated as Advisor in the UT again) alongwith proof and evidences, and the particular Advisor virtually sat on the issue for the last one year for the reasons known to him. There is a strong notion that every penny collected as a corrupt practice is being shared at the top.

Satyapal Malik, the past governor, himself disclosed that the politicians of the valley had invested heavily in national and international markets. He went to the extent to pinpoint a few politicians and bureaucrats who were entrenched in huge corrupt games alongwith their family members, relatives and intimate friends. Common people in the UT have always felt cheated due to the corrupt practices almost in all government departments of the UT. The JK Bank and the Works departments are a classic example in this context. 

Recruitments for the government posts and in the state owned banks and institutions, now, are being seen as the biggest test of time, system and the pronouncements made by the highest functionaries of the UT. People eagerly await advertisements and the processes to start so that results show the correctness of the intent and reform the government is supposed to have initiated in this regard. There is a dire need to create Citizen Charter in virtually every department of the UT so that the exploitation of public is arrested.

Land grabbing of the government holdings particularly in forest areas and land belonging to the revenue department, encroachments of water bodies including rivers, nallahas, ponds and lakes have been a common practice in J&K and it happened with the connivance of the politicians and the government over the last seven decades. Illegal mining in the catchment areas, particularly the river beds in whole of Jammu and Kashmir happens during nights with the active support of the authorities in both civil and police administrations.

The pronouncements of the top two authorities in the government and the administration have caught the imagination of the people. They are fully behind the government to cleanse the system for good and for the benefit of the masses of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Corruption is a deep rooted subversion of the order, constitutional practices and the democratic setup and has potential to make the whole system hollow. It is not only an anti-social practice but also an anti-national conduct as well since it creates the probable 'saleable commodities' which can sell even the national secrets to the enemies of the nation.

J&K has seen agitations, bandhs and strikes on all issues excepting against the corruption in the system probably because corruption worked as a prelude to subversion and that expressed implicitly the intent behind the corrupt practices unleashed by the top politicians and the bearuecrats of the UT. It is time to revamp not only the work culture in the administration but also the system as a whole since the intent stands pronounced from the top of the house from the horse's mouth.

 (Feedback: ashwanikc2012@gmail.com)

Author is a columnist of repute in J&K and Incharge, Deptt of Political Affairs & Feedback, J&K-BJP 

 

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