Ensure peoples’ participation

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From past few days, the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha has been visiting different district headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir to review the developmental scenario. He interacts with different delegations, reviews developmental scenario with district administrations and inaugurates different projects or lays foundation stones for such projects. During all these meetings, the Lt Governor has been asserting that people’s participation and empowerment of grass root institutions are prerequisite for the sustainable development of any region. He has been regularly asking the administration to address issues facing the public on priority basis, promptly and transparently. While one has but to appreciate this outreach programme but at the same time there are many questions begging for answers. The administration of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is being run by the Lt. Governor, his advisors and a few bureaucrats. Each and every decision is being taken by them. Where is the peoples’ participation? The administration has to understand that a connect with the masses is missing. Lt Governor may visit these district headquarters once in a while, the question is whether the district administrations are working effectively. In absence an elected assembly and public representatives, what is the mechanism through which ordinary people can bring their grievances into the notice of the administration?

Coming to administration’s dealing with Covid-19. The pandemic is spreading its tentacles on a dangerous pace. Here again the main stake holders are missing from the scene. Covid-19 is not a mere law and order problem about which decisions should be made by police or bureaucrats. It is a health hazard and therefore the health experts, scientists and doctors should be on the forefront. When to impose restrictions and when to relax the same should be a decision made in consultation with the health experts and the administration should only function as an executing agency. However, unfortunately, here too the real stake holders are visible nowhere. Situation has reached such a stage that people who suffer from life threatening diseases, other than Covid-19, don’t know where to go. While appreciating Lt Governor’s effort to reach out to the people in different districts, the commoners would doubly appreciate if the administration, for the time being, focuses on the real challenges that Jammu and Kashmir is face to face with. Time is running fast and if the administration fails to deal with the challenge of Covid-19, the UT may be heading towards a terrible disaster.

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