(B Someshwar Rao)
Had anyone ever imagined that any Chief Secretary of the mismanaged, separatist, Jihadi, and corruption-gripped J&K would call the bluff of the so-called mainstream leaders of the Kashmir-based parties and separatist outfits and expose them to the hilt reflecting on the sorry state of affairs in this sensitive and strategic region of the country?
But it has happened. Chief Secretary of UT of J&K, BVR Subrahmanyam on August 7 sprung a pleasant surprise in the capital of the State, Srinagar. He put things in perspective by exposing the leaders of the “mainstream” political parties and separatist organizations. He very candidly reflected on their baneful influence on the State’s polity, economy, and society.
The Chief Secretary made many startling revelations and explained in plain words how the Kashmiri leaders, both “mainstream” and separatists, looted everything that came their way – money, land, jobs, contracts, everything. “There were instances of doctors who work in the Middle East but draw salaries in J&K as it had no system of monitoring,” he revealed.
“J&K was a ‘broken state’, the governance was broken badly, there was no system, no rules and the decay began a long time ago. There was ‘no system’ in place due to years of misgovernance, corruption, and ‘unbelievable levels of fraud’ committed by leaders of mainstream parties and separatist organizations,” Subrahmanyam said. He also added: “land acquisition was a big scam.”
The J&K Bank CMD was scamster No.1. Twenty families or a maximum of 30 families milked the JK Bank. There was no accountability.
According to reports, “21 lakh acres of the State and forest land” has encroached in J&K, the bulk of which is in Jammu, including Jammu’s Bathindi, Sunjuwan, Sidhra, River Ravi, high hills across Ravi, National Highway, Roopnagar, to mention only a few.
The Chief Secretary didn’t stop there. He further said: “There was a terrible situation here. Things were designed for corruption. Mis-governance and corruption were so much that the system has collapsed from inside. The whole State was a big Ponzi scheme. There were scores of incomplete projects. J&K has frauds at unbelievable levels. There were frauds in jobs, frauds in projects, frauds everywhere.”
Not just this, he also reflected on the bad state of things in the J&K Bank. He said: “The J&K Bank CMD was the scamster number one. Twenty families or a maximum of 30 families milked the JK Bank. There was no accountability. All other PSUs in other states submit their report to the Assembly, the PSUs in other states come under RTI, CVC (Central Vigilance Commission). But the J&K Bank is accountable to none. We are reconstructing things which were crumbling,” he said.
The Chief Secretary also said the people of the state were so angry and so fed up with these Kashmiri leaders that none expressed his/her solidarity with them when they were detained on and after August 4, 2010. In this regard, he said: “Therefore, not a ‘single soul had cried’ over the detention of political and separatist leaders in August last year, when the Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution”. “Common people are not bothered about Article 370, what they expect is jobs, growth, and development,” he asserted.
Subrahmanyam aid the PM told him that he should “go, clean up the administration, rebuild it, and hand over the ‘Amanat’ (precious possession) to the local people.”
The Chief Secretary, in addition, suggested the possibility of UT of J&K becoming a full-fledged state is remote. He said: “Three stages of transition have been going on in J&K: transition from the J&K Constitution to the Indian Constitution, bifurcation of the State, and then transition from State to UT.”
He reassured the people of the State that many good things are in the offing and they should keep patience for some time. “People in J&K have to keep patience to enjoy a whole lot of benefits of the Centre’s move to nullify Article 370 as many positive initiatives have not been rolled out fully yet,” the Chief Secretary said. “Once the administration delivers development, creates jobs, people will realize the positive side. Delivery will happen. Reconstruction of the UT is not an overnight work. It takes time. The work is on,” he asserted.
The Chief Secretary disclosed that before he came to J&K in June 2018 to man the position, he had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought his guidance for his new assignment. “The Prime Minister”, in the words of Subrahmanyam himself, had told him that he should “go, clean up the administration, rebuild it and hand over the ‘Amanat’ (precious possession) to the local people.”
As was expected, the rattled, exposed, cornered, frustrated, defeated and out-on the-limb Kashmiri leaders of all hues pounced upon the Chief Secretary. They denounced him. They showered invectives and epithets on him.They asked him to not cross the line. Of course, none of them contested what he said on corruption, scams, frauds, and misgovernance. The fact is that they did what they were expected to do. What they said deserve no consideration whatsoever.
Now that the Chief Secretary has said what he said, it’s time for him to bring out a white paper on who looted what and how. Mere bold statements and exposes are not enough. His statements must be followed by result-oriented actions against those who wreaked havoc and caused an immense loss to the nation and jeopardized the genuine interests of the people of the State.
They need to be immediately booked, their illegal properties in and outside J&K need to be seized and auctioned, their bank accounts need to be sealed and their Benami properties need to be confiscated and declared State assets. Their security cover needs to be withdrawn. It will be only appropriate if the PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah personally monitor all the developments.