We Kashmiris Are Responsible For What We Make Of Our Valley
It was afternoon, June 18. I met an old friend after many years. After a brief conversation, we came to the talk about our professions. I was very happy to know that my friend has got a government job. I was impressed to see his smart clothing. His behavior and attitude were clearly indicating his pride and also his ego in enjoying the government job. I too felt good that my friend is now well settled in life.
Around this time, my friend’s colleague joined us. Their conversation went on, and I was quietly listening to them. They were occupied in discussing their official life. What caught my attention was the comment one of them made. He said: “I always feel sleepy and lazy while going towards office, as if somebody is dragging me there in the morning, to keep me tied there the whole day. When I am there, I remain nervous, tired and absent minded, and feel as if I am in a cage. I feel energetic and full of strength only when I am headed back home in the evening.”
I was shocked to listen to him. I was truly taken aback by the way he described his condition at work.
The interaction left my mind teeming with questions. Would it be really possible that after having a government job, a person could be unsatisfied with his profession? Why does official work for government job holders become a burden? Why do many employees lose enthusiasm for office work? Why are the commoners who have to visit government offices harassed for little things? Why does nepotism and money power rule here? Why is it that only the privileged people get their work done on time in government offices and others have to face unexplained delays?
We Make Govt Servants Arrogant
We Kashmiris form the near total workforce at the government offices in Kashmir.
Then why is it that we cannot serve our own people well? Why is it that sitting in our government offices, we serve promptly only those people who have connections with politicians or bureaucrats – or those whose relative is serving in the concerned department?
I am forced to think that it is we people who have made government employees consider themselves above law, and to act as they please. We give them bribe to get our work done. We conveniently forget that the government gives them handsome salary and perks to do our work.
We always remain in a hurry in these offices to get our work done before others. We pride ourselves if we have the recommendation from some top quarter so that we can break the queue. Our ji hazoori makes the government servants arrogant.
Why Do We Serve Only Those With Influence?
A peon quickly becomes a tout in the offices of senior officers, ready to make quick money from those who visit the office for their work. Recommendations work even in the Health Department. Ordinary patients have to wait for weeks for their surgery, even if it is immediately required. Those who have recommendation or influence are given dates quickly.
We have normalized bribe. In revenue offices, the Patwaris have are widely acknowledged as the most corrupt employees. The newly elected Sarpanches and Panches are also falling in this category.
The Government has sanctioned different schemes for the upliftment of the poor in the villages. But only those persons benefit from these schemes who have good connections in the rural development offices, or with the village head committees which includes the local Auqaaf and sarpanches.
Different extortion amounts are charged for enlisting the name of the beneficiary for the various government schemes. For Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana, Sarpanches and other officers extort a good amount from beneficiaries. The beneficiary does not receive a fixed amount. He has to pay back a part of the money to these employees.
Extortion Has Been Normalized By Every Department
The extortion is not restricted to a single department. Every department in Jammu and Kashmir uses the same policy. Every employee wants to draw a handsome salary every month but wants to make more through underhand means. Most employees are seen least mindful of the task for which the government has employed them.
The LG administration has taken a strict note of the anti-national elements in various government departments, and their services have been terminated. The Administration must also take a strict note of the habitual poor performers in government offices. Those who habitually indulge in nepotism and corruption – their services must be terminated.
Govt Teachers Must Be Made Accountable For Poor Result
The schools run by the government in Jammu and Kashmir do not draw students as per their capacity. The reason is that teachers do not focus on imparting quality education. There are many government schools in which the Class X result was zero. Government teachers take high salary, but they are not held accountable for their result. The condition of the government schools is such that the teachers themselves do not want to admit their wards in the schools where they teach.
Why doesn’t the UT Administration hold the teachers accountable for the poor academic result? This is being done in many states now. If accountability of teachers is not there, the standard of teaching in the schools, colleges and universities of Kashmir shall not improve.