The unilateral decision of the Jammu and Kashmir forest minister to levy a fine of Rs. 2.17 Cr. on the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which works under the Defence Ministry headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley as Deputy Chairman, for construction of Basohli, Bani and Bhadarwah Road is condemnable, uncalled for, unwanted and tantamount to disobedience and violation of party discipline. While suspension of work on the Basohli, Bani and Bhaderwah Road by Bro rendered the local youth jobless it also triggerd resentment among the youth rendered jobless by the illogical and unwise decision of the minister. According to the official sources it is not for the first time when the Forest Minister has tried to block the prestigious developmental projects in Jammu and Kashmir undertaken by the Union Roads and Surface Transport Ministry through various agencies where Centre had to intervene to facilitate the projects. The Basohli, Bani and Bhadarwah Road, for which there is row after fine, is vital not only from the public but also defence point of view. It is pertinent to mention here for the information of all that the working style of present Forest Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has always remained controversial and under scanner irrespective of the department he worked as minister. The day he took over as the Cabinet Minister of the Forest Department he has made the State Government and the Forest Department his hostage and made them to work on his directions and dictates. Under the pretext of giving green cover to the State, protecting the flora and fauna and arrest the pollution of the environment, the department is burning the candle at both ends. The extravagance of the department can be gauged the way the Forest Department is purchasing huge number ( more than required ) of concrete poles, barbet wires, the costly metallic plant protection cages and the jumbo sized biographic hoardings portraying the Forest Minister and the Union Minister Arun Jaitly displayed throughout nook and the corner of the State. The concrete poles are fixed along the roads in such a way that nobody can take his vehicle off the road in the event of avoiding head to head collision of the vehicles or to check or change the tyres. There is hardly a foot space between the black top and the poles fixed. In reality only the poles and the cages are visible more than the plants grown on the road sides. Merciless wastage of the poor man’s money indicates that the emphasis of the Forest Ministry of the State is to provide the opportunities to the blue eyed and relatives to become millionaire overnight by manufacturing and supplying concrete poles, barbed wires, metallic plant protection cages and jumbo sized biographic hoardings. The minister is popular for cacophony, superior and egoist behavior with the result his decisions often prove controversial and go against the common man and the party discipline. According to a layman’s estimate the huge amount which is being spent lavishly under the pretext of afforestation can convert arid deserts and the naked peaks of the Himalayas into greenery. It must be kept in mind by one and all that Jammu and Kashmir is a corruption prone State and depends completely upon the central assistance, therefore we must adapt the indigenous and cheap method for growing and protecting forests. Let the State forests yield green gold instead of pure gold.
Shiv Kumar Padha
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