Why call kettle black?

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Jammu and Kashmir is one of the rare places on the face of this earth that has tremendous energy potential. Its topography and climatic conditions have bestowed it with abundant water resources in the form of snow-clad mountains and frozen glaciers that are a perennial source of water for countless mountain streams and rivers in the state. Together with the unique landscape of the state, which is generally mountainous, the state is ideal for generation of what is by and large not only the cheapest form of conventional energy but also by and large the cleanest – the hydroelectricity.

No wonder the successive state governments here have all along informed people of the state about the great potential of this energy, and promised moon and stars which this energy, once harnessed, could actually bring or buy for them. Only an insane would doubt such promises because energy is certainly one of the most sought and marketable ‘portable economic commodity’. Gulf, and some other countries even in Africa and elsewhere, which despite suffering a huge educational, developmental and technological lag, are still prosperous because of they are gifted with potable energy sources in the form of natural oil and gas. So there is no reason Jammu and Kashmir too can’t progress and prosper if it is able to tap and market its energy base.

But this hasn’t happened so far. Despite governments talking of the state’s potential to generate over 20,000 MW of hydro-power, Jammu and Kashmir continues to reel under perennial power shortages. The state is yet to reach a stage wherein it could suffice even the local energy needs. Although this is not to say that the state doesn’t generate that much of hydroelectricity. It certainly does. But instead of satiating the local requirements, the same energy is supplied to mainland India to light homes and power super-engines of industrial development there. Blame it on the discriminatory 1960 Indus Waters Treaty as well as the state’s inability to invest in, and harness its energy potential, fact of the matter remains that Jammu and Kashmir, which should have been energy giant remains an energy-deficient state.

In all these matters while one can point fingers at the New Delhi’s discriminatory and exploitative policies, successive state governments too cannot escape blame of their inabilities and inefficiencies. This is exactly where two regional majors of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party must share the responsibility of failures because it is they who have ruled the state longer than anyone else.

So today when they are trying to find faults with others, it will be good if some focus is turned inwards to try and locate the faults within. Once that’s done, it may well help them to also articulate some useful suggestions on how to avoid hurdles and pitfalls which despite all the good intentions they may have had, didn’t allow them to do much for the people and this state. Criticism just for the sake of criticism is pure politics, nothing less nothing more, and it certainly does not help anyone. While the recipient of this criticism shrugs it off as something they “always expect from political opponents”, even the ordinary people remain un-amused because they see it as “pot calling the kettle black”.

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