Chief Minister Mehbooba mufti has rightly said that the officials of the PHE department have grown overnight rich but people in Jammu and Kashmir are still crying for water. They don’t have safe drinking water supply to their homes and if there is any supply that reaches them, they have no option but to use costly purifying equipment. Such is the situation that even after using the water purifying machines, they do not get clean water to drink.
Why is it so? The answer is simple. Those who had been assigned the task of constructing reservoirs and ensuring regular water supply did not do their job properly. They bungled the water supply schemes, diverted funds worth crores of rupees. On the instruction of their political masters and above all never feared for being penalized for their wrong doings. Chief Minister did not mince words while saying that is it is not the security of funds because of which people are not getting proper water supply but corruption and non seriousness of the officials of the PHE department because of which general water supply schemes are lying defunct.
She has rightly advised Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Lal Choudhary to go tough on all those officials who have looted the state exchequer, build mansions, malls, and even invested in buying properties outside the state. It is heartening to note that the PHE Minister after having heard the advice of Chief Minister Mehbooba mufti immediately called up the meeting of the officers of his department asking them to give him details of all the water supply schemes including those which have been declared defunct, or are functional but unable to cater to the growing population of the Jammu region, or are supplying water which is not safe.
The Minister told them strictly that no nonsense would be tolerated. This is the approach that is required if the problem plaguing the PHE department are to be addressed once and for all. It has to be ascertained as to why people are unable to get safe drinking water despite the PHE department having engaged a huge army of daily rated workers and casual labourers.
The PHE Minister has to work overnight to bring transparency and accountability in the system. Known for being straight forward and honesty, The PHE Minister should not allow the officers to go scot free if they are found to have misused the funds meant for various water supply schemes. He should not let the mafia in the PHE department to rule the roost. His responsibility is double. He should also plug the transfer industry that has dominated the discourse in the PHE department since the last many years.