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In slumber

The administration in Kashmir, it seems, is waiting for something worst to happen for it to wake up from the deep slumber it yawned into after the government shifted its headquarters to Jammu in November. While the valleyites are struggling due to acute shortage of essentials triggered by the highway closure, the relentless snow and rainfall this winter has exposed the poor quality of roads in the region. Be it the main streets, thoroughfares, or internal lanes in residential colonies, the poor quality of the material used to macadamise them has given up thick and fast as is vividly explained by thousands of fresh potholes and peel-offs that has made commuting all the more dangerous. A car or bike ride in any area of Srinagar explains the magnitude of the damage. Several-inches-deep potholes, splintered roads, and loose gravel on roads cry out how badly they have been managed and how unsuitable they are for a place where snow and rains are expected. For instance, the Athwajan-Pampore road on Srinagar outskirts is in a complete mess. The road has more potholes and mud on it than actual macadam. It is really astonishing that it has still been kept open for traffic given how dangerous it is to commute on it. The state of roads in other districts of the valley is equally pathetic. The number of accidents that have taken place during the last four months is a painful evidence of the sorry state of affairs. Last Saturday, at least 10 people were killed and as many as 34 injured in several accidents in the state.

The authorities have completely failed to provide any semblance of good administration to the people of this region. The governor’s rule in Kashmir was historically considered as a time when the administration pulled up its socks and dealt with the day-to-day affairs with a comparatively nimbler approach. But the same cannot be said about the current one. The apathy displayed on the closure of the highway, the subsequent shortage of essentials and the messy state of roads in the region prove how laidback the administration has been, especially after the ‘Darbar’ moved to the winter capital. There seems to an increased wave of unaccountability and uncaring attitude that has taken over vital government departments, which are mainly responsible to provide basic facilities to the public. People too are feeling this cold wave of unresponsiveness to the list of issues they are facing on a day-to-day basis. Come May, when ‘Darbar’ would move back to Srinagar, the government will arrange a facelift, whitewashing pavements and patching up disintegrated roads but that is almost it. Nothing more can be expected from the administration. In dire straits politically, the state, especially Kashmir is facing the brunt of the crisis that has come to the fore recently. There is utter chaos on the ground and it seems the authorities too are relishing it since they have more or less given up on their basic duties of providing some semblance of a normal life in the region. Recommendations don’t seem to work since no one pays any heed to them. If all, the government, for a day, lives the life of a common middle-class Kashmiri would it know how much it needs to do for him or her to treat the lack of confidence he or she has in the current system.