India is on course to become economic capital of the world. From USA to China, nuclear powers and world leaders in economy have no alternative but to accept India as the economic capital of the world. The customer base of all the international brands is India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right when he says world is looking towards India for inspiration almost in every sector.
Amid this scenario, Jammu region is asking where our share is and whether or not we would be part of this growth story. Jammu region is asking why everything that it gets, right from the education institutions to roads and bridges is only after agitations. Will this change or not? So far the indicators are that this is unlikely to change. BJP government both in the centre and the state had promised everything under the sky during the election campaigns in the year 2014.
But even after four years of the BJP led government in the centre and three years of the PDP-BJP government in the state, Jammu region continues to agitate and irony is that the voices of decent are not being heard. Take for instance, roads in Jammu region; they are in terrible shape .Accidents have become a routine. More than 2000 persons have lost their lives. Thousands have got injured and when we say injury, we mean disability.
A disable person is much bigger a casualty for a family than someone who gets killed in a road accident. Hundreds of families across Jammu region lost their bread earners to the bad roads. A family got wiped out in a road accident in the mountainous Doda region. A young man who was aspiring to become an IAS officer lost his life when the vehicle in which he was travelling skidded off the road in Reasi district of Jammu region.
A 14 year old got killed when shooting stone hit the vehicle in which he was travelling. An expecting mother died when the car she was driving turned turtle due to rugged road in erstwhile District Doda. These are the few instances and many more can be narrated. Jammu region is asking why our stories, our issues and our problems do not impress the governments both in the state and at the centre. They are peeved over the continuous neglect of Jammu region especially erstwhile District Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi.
Neither is New Delhi seemingly interested in this most backward region of the country nor has the state government vision to look beyond the capital town. How miserable and pathetic is the thinking of government which doesn’t allow it to look beyond the twin capital cities. People are dying while the government is watching all this callously and the only response it has if there is a protest over a road accident is to announce ex-gratia relief but mostly accidental deaths go unnoticed.
Time has come for the government to take corrective measures. A beginning can be made by fixing targets for all the agencies involved in the road construction and road repair. By making both road repair and construction homebound government will be in a position to penalise road construction companies and departments including PWD if they do not adhere to the timelines.
Second step should be effective monitoring system. In this electronic age where high speed data is available 24/7, engineers as well as contractors should be asked to create social networking accounts where they should share both pictures as well as videos of the work being done by them.
They should be asked to broadcast live their works undertaken by them during the review meetings. What they say or claim in the official documents should not be accepted merely because an officer is perceived to be honest.
Accountability should be fixed and whosoever is found guilty of commuting fraud and lying blatantly about the work being done by him should not be spared. Another major step towards reform could be blacklisting the contractors as well as engineers whose road construction work is found low-power. Those who are government servants and have been booked for carrying out substandard road construction work should be thrown out of the service.
These are a few progressive steps which the government can take immediately to curb this menace of road accidents and make people of Jammu region feel that their voices are being heard and that they do not need to revolt for everything. Perceptions must change if present BJP-PDP government is unable to do so, things might take a dangerous turn. People have lost count of the dead due to road accidents. And now they are running out of patience. The sooner the government acts the better it would be. Any further delay would be detrimental.