Saturday, November 15, 2008

Poor villagers of Bhaderwah rub feet to reach homes; their ex-MLA still rides 26 Govt. vehicles ?

The state of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 18 years remained in international focus due to active militancy, deaths and destructions and now a-days election process and boycott call by separatists have once again invited the attention of international as well as national media. As seen in the past, during the election process, the misdeeds of politicians are brought before the people by the opposition to defame one and the other and gain the sympathies of voters by provoking them against other but some active social workers who have poor background and feel by heart the pain of poor public which has remained a neglected slot during the past 60 years have started attacking directly of these leaders of the past by disclosing their luxurious life style which they have been enjoying at the cost of Govt money, which in-fact is the hard earned money of public which they pay through taxes etc. Hailing from Chiralla belt of villages, a prominent social worker, ex-serviceman and retired educationist, Master (Retd.), Fazal Alam Wani, who has been convinced by the villages people of the constituency (about 70 %), to contest as independent candidate from Bhaderwah , which was earlier represented by the former Chief Minister (CM) Ghulam Nabi Azad, has expressed deep sorrow over the plight of villagers in the Bhaderwah constituency, after an extensive tour of several villages which remained unconnected even after repeated assurances by the political leaders, (The leaders who are expert in fiddling with the sentiments of highly emotional and simple villagers). Giving reference of Rising Kashmir, an English Daily published form Kashmir, Master Fazal lamented that how a leader (also happens to be the CM) representing a constituency, people of which have to walk for days to reach their homes from road side, can continue to have 26 vehicles when he is not CM. “I read in the paper that former CM has 28 vehicles, if it is so, is gross violation of not only Modal Code of Conduct (MCC) but also belies his own claims of corruption free, transparent and clean administration”. “The people of Bhaderwah, particularly villagers are suffering badly in the absence of all basic amenities and many have to live in temporary houses which soak during rains and snowfall but how he (Azad) can continue to occupy 4 government accommodations, as reported by Risking Kashmir, he added. Relevant to mention have that, Election Commission of India has reportedly taken note of a complaint about Ghulam Nabi Azad being still accorded the ‘Chief Minister’ status in terms of security and VIP hospitality.
Master Fazal added that as reported by Rising Kashmir, Chief Election Commissioner, N Gopalaswamy has told reporters in Jammu that the Commission was ceased of the matter and it will be looked into. ECI had received a complaint from some political party stating gross violation of MCC in respect of not downsizing the security and other facilities being enjoyed by Azad. Sources said that it has been pointed out that he continued to have a fleet of 26 vehicles allotted to him at the time of being Chief Minister. This includes several bullet-proof cars and other luxury and high-end vehicles. This security paraphernalia also requires a battery of security personnel drawn from Special Security Group (SSG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police, which is responsible for the security of Chief Ministers and former Chief Ministers. "This is the highest ever number of vehicles any Chief Minister has been using in Jammu and Kashmir in past 60 years" a top security official said (Rising Kashmir).
According to further story of the Rising Kashmir, it is not only the security. Azad has not even vacated any of the four houses under his occupation since the days of Chief Minister ship. He continues to hold the possession of Hari Niwas Palace which was renovated as Chief Minister's official residence at a whopping cost of around Rs 11 crores. He has also not vacated the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Guest House near Zeethyar Temple which he used as transit residence till Hari Niwas was completed. Sources revealed that the official residence of Chief Minister at Wazarat Road in Jammu has also not been vacated so far. Azad also continues to hold the possession of a palatial house in South Avenue in Delhi, which is the property of Jammu and Kashmir government. It was purchased in lieu of state owned property in Delhi. Azad insisted not to leave it after he took over as Chief Minister in 2005.
Though the former Chief Minister is entitled to have a house in Jammu and Srinagar in accordance with the law passed by NC government in 2000 but Azad is yet to shift to M A Road bungalow which was also renovated as Chief Minister's residence by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2003. It is under occupation of former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig but allotted to Azad. He has also been allotted a house in Jammu, official sources said.
In contrast, two former Chief Ministers, Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed have been allotted only six vehicles each, including those used by their security guards. Their predecessor Ghulam Mohammad Shah is poor enough with one car and two escort vehicles. While Farooq lives in his own houses in Jammu and Srinagar, Mufti is allotted official residences in both the capitals. Shah also has two official residences in Jammu and Srinagar but he has converted the latter into the headquarters of Awami National Conference, reports Rising Kashmir.