– By Junaid malik
Justice delayed is justice denied is the best phrase which befits the vulnerable and deplorable condition of Chenab valley which consists one the largest part of the state both geographically and demographically. The region which presently comprises of three administrative districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban is the worst victim of state apathy
The Chenab valley which derives its name from none other than the mighty and mythological river Chenab has its proved to be its bane rather than a boon due to over exploitation of hydroelectric capacity which consequently destroyed all its catchment Area ranging from its natural resources to its dwelling habitat as well. Today Chenab valley is the major producer of hydroelectricity with gigantic projects and dams built over it but seldom of any use to its inhabitants.
The valley is bereft of any visible development on any measuring scale like roads,tourism, Heath and infrastructure, education or any other plank which could catapult its image to attract the attention of outside world.the Chenab valley has no doubt been on the news walls and front lines for all regressive and parochial happenings both within and outside the state.the region has been the worst victim of terrorism, sectarian and communal riots, conspiracies, most lethal and fatal accidents and many more to tarnish its beautiful image. Thanks to all its successive political and religious representation for making all ease to inroad these factors in the valley.
The state too has been most apathetic and unconcerned about the development of this vast region which has now turned into shambles and tatters.Few visionary social leaders from the Chenab valley started the movement of autonomous Status to the region on the parallel lines LAHDC of Ladakh region but that too met a big blow from the stake holders and authorities at the helm of affairs.the demand went to oblivion due to low momentum and excruciating steps from the state authorities. The time too had been cruel to the idea with most of the front runners either fatigued sway and few others met their life ends.this great idea of social empowerment and power decentralization died its own death.
The demand for CVAHDC (Chenab valley autonomous hill development council)is not an idea in vacuum or bereft of any logical basis since the council will help the state to decentralize the power to grass root level and lessen the burden of watch and ward of its genuine development.this would not only develop the region collectively but would serve as federating unit to work in unison with the state authorities. Politically too, the autonomous body will be fertile ground to further Amal gate the units politically.the region would get financial support from the Centre directly further easing the state exchequer.
The state has never been able to meet its ends and goals when it comes to Chenab valley being it a mountainous and hilly terrain which itself becomes the victim of neglect.most of the central and state authorities fix the goals and programmers at distant places never to see its real plight at the ground level.most of the political leaders and authorities seldom visit these places and prefer to visit once in decades that too during elections or inauguration ceremonies.the lack of direct mass contact like other parts of the state and incapacitated efforts of local representation has been the main cause of its underdevelopment.
According to an RTI filed by Delhi based NGO the NHPC which manages the hydroelectric projects in Chenab valley has earned 194 billion or 19431 crore between 2001-2015 from the sale of hydroelectricity. Out of this Jammu and Kashmir government has paid 41 billion or 4129 crore to buy the same power from the corporation which is generated from our own waters.there is neither any transparent record nor any agreement in place for power sharing between the Centre and the state. If the Chenab autonomous could be formed, the government can make the direct arrangements of funds from its own resources to the council thus maintaining the natural justice of equitable justice lest this practice could easily be compared as the neocolonial practice of central government. The Dulhasti project has alone generated 1068.19 crores of profit during 2014-15 being highest among all the hydroelectric projects in the state.
The CAHDC could be the linking bond between state, central and local leadership which would ultimately help in the progress and development of this region. It would ensure more funding,better utilization and direct scrutinization of all aspects of progressive development.the demand of autonomous body is neither unconstitutional nor an excessive demand from the inhabitants of the valley.
The state leadership could create better avenues for the betterment of this region acceding this decades old demand of Chenab valley. This would not help in development of the region but would bring the valley more closer to world which would eventually lead to social empowerment through better roads, better infrastructure, accessible and inexpensive heath care system, better distribution and communication mechanisms and diminishing trends of corruption and nepotism in the overall scenario.
The state and central government must come forward to this idea of collective good for the over all development of Chenab valley that too at a time when they could pay back the debts of decades which they have piled unto themselves from this region in the form of huge earnings selling our resources and hydro powers beyond our contours and borders.the earlier they pay, the better for over all progress and development of state in general and Chenab valley in particular.