Landmark decisions taken by the Jammu and Kashmir Government in the recent past have shaken leaders like Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah to the core. They are picking up holes with everything. Former J&K chief ministers are trying to tell the people that their rights are being snatched and they may end up losing everything in the near future. It’s unfortunate that they are peddling blatant lies to become relevant again.
After August 5, 2019 — when the Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status and bifurcated into two union territories — many things have changed in the erstwhile state. The new progressive laws that have been introduced during the past two and a half years have put the traditional Kashmiri politicians in a quandary as J&K has witnessed a new era of development and prosperity.
A common man in Kashmir has realised that their leaders only raised slogans and failed to deliver. Now, when things have started moving and a solid foundation is being laid for “Naya Jammu and Kashmir” these leaders are trying to reverse the clock by talking about getting everything back.
Addressing a youth convention in frontier Rajouri district recently Mehbooba Mufti, asked youth to fight for restoration of ‘snatched’ rights peacefully. She told the youth that if they don’t show courage today the coming generations would raise questions as the land, jobs and even mining minerals were going to the outsiders.
Soon after the J&K administration announced the changes in the land use laws and approved the regulations framed by the Board of Revenue for conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, Mehbooba cried foul by stating that it’s an attempt to “change demography” of Jammu and Kashmir. Omar Abdullah too joined the chorus by saying that the changes in the land use rules would “undo the major reforms” undertaken in the erstwhile state. People are trying to gather what these leaders are trying to sell as their assertions and claims are in no way impressing them.
Only 7 plots purchased by outsiders in 2-years
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last week informed the Rajya Sabha that “seven plots of land” have been purchased by persons from outside the union territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, 2019, and all these plots have been brought in the Jammu region.
The Article 370 deprived J&K of witnessing an industrial boom as there were restrictions on land purchase due to the so-called special status enjoyed by the erstwhile princely state.
After J&K’s reorganisation, the Ministry of Home Affairs in October 2020 issued a notification to amend the Land Revenue Act. It paved the way for anyone from other parts of the country to buy land in J&K, including agricultural land. And now the government has empowered the District Collectors to grant permission to the change in land use from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes in accordance with the procedure as to be notified by the Board of Revenue.
Infusing new life into moribund industrial sector
All these steps are being taken to build a new industrial infrastructure in J&K. This sector remained in moribund condition since 1947. None of the erstwhile regimes either in the Centre or in the State made any attempt to infuse new life into J&K’s industrial sector. Had the rulers focused on these issues, J&K would not have remained an area without industries.
When the Centre is trying to attract investors into J&K and is making an effort to end the sufferings of people of the Himalayan region, the Kashmir-based leaders, who ruled J&K for the past seven decades are feeling uneasy. They are trying to build a fake narrative about everything being sold to outsiders and natives being deprived of their rights. They are not realising that despite the J&K administration trying to open up new avenues, not many people are coming forward to invest as no businessman would like to get stuck in a place where there is uncertainty and chaos.
During the past two years the Central and J&K Governments have taken many steps to instill confidence among the investors. The Kashmiri leaders, who are trying to create a perception that J&K has lost everything and they are the Messiahs should understand that nothing can change till employment avenues are created and people’s standard of living improves.
Govt cannot employ everyone
One cannot expect the rulers to provide government jobs to everyone. In the past two years more than 20,000 posts have been announced in J&K and the process is on to fill the vacancies in various departments. But only 20 to 30,000 people getting employed won’t end unemployment. More needs to be done and the present dispensation is trying to do the same.
After August 5, 2019, many big companies have shown interest to invest in J&K, but for that they need a secure environment and a guarantee that their investments would remain secure.
The so-called Messiahs (Kashmir-based leaders) need to be told that corporate or big business houses can invest in any part of the world. The present J&K regime is trying to convince these big business houses to come and invest in J&K so that denizens don’t have to migrate to other places to find decent jobs.
J&K has an army of unemployed skilled and unskilled workers. The issue of unemployment cannot be addressed without throwing the union territory open to the investors. The Kashmir-based leaders should sit back and introspect. They need to ask themselves how keeping J&K out of bounds for the outsiders helped a common citizen in the Himalayan region? Since the day Article 370 has been abrogated the ground situation has changed and people have at least started thinking about investing in J&K. Kashmir-based leaders should stop selling the “old wine in a new bottle”. They should become a part of change rather than acting as a stumbling block. Their attempts to instigate the people are not working and no one is taking them seriously. The common man has understood that the governance in J&K was at its lowest ebb when the political regimes ruled the erstwhile state. The Central rule has opened a plethora of opportunities for a common Kashmiri and he is no more interested in getting back what these leaders are talking about.