Government’s Job Promise In Kashmir Ruffles Opposition
14 March 2008
Srinagar: The ruling alliance’s promise of 70,000 jobs to unemployed youth in Kashmir has ruffled many feathers in the opposition parties here. As the political parties prepare for the state assembly elections due later this year, the Congress- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir recently promised 70,000 jobs to the local youth this year. “It is very strange that the alliance government is promising 70,000 jobs this year as the state prepares for the elections,” opposition National Conference president and MP Omar Abdullah told reporters Saturday. “Jobs already advertised by various departments have still not been filled. The recruiting agencies have been asked to put on hold their process of selection so that the government has a free hand in giving jobs to people of its choice,” Omar Abdullah alleged. “In fact, I believe these jobs will be sold to aspirants so that the alliance partners make money. “Our state has been labelled as the second most corrupt Indian state after Bihar. I believe the alliance government wants to improve on this by making Jammu and Kashmir the number one corrupt state in the country,” he said. Former chief minister and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah has said he would approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise the issue with him. “It is unbecoming of any government in power to promise jobs in order to lure votes to itself,” said Farooq Abdullah. Countering the opposition tirade against the government, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig said: “We will continue with our development and employment programmes despite the National Conference opposition.” Baig said it was strange that the National Conference should oppose the government’s intention to give jobs to unemployed local youth. In a related development Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state general secretary Yusuf Tarigami has also opposed the government’s job plans. “The normal process and procedure of recruitments should not be diverted to short cut the system. It will raise many eyebrows,” Tarigami said. Unemployment among educated youth remains a big problem in Jammu and Kashmir especially because of the absence of an organized and efficient private sector that could alternately employ the educated youth. Government jobs have been the main attraction for the thousands of unemployed educated youth in Kashmir. When the present alliance government took office here, the PDP had promised two government jobs for each Kashmiri household in its election manifesto. “During its rule, the National Conference also lived on the promise of government jobs for the youth. Whenever, elections approach in Kashmir it is customary for the political parties to promise jobs,” said a newspaper editor.