Govt Biggest Defaulter Of Power Tariff: Mirwaiz30 December 2011
Srinagar: A day after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked him to issue Fatwa against power theft, Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continued his attack on the coalition Government, saying its departments and central forces operating here were the biggest defaulters of Power Development Department (PDD). “Chief Minister asks us to declare Jehad against power theft, but his Government is biggest debtor of PDD. Out of Rs 1100 crore outstanding power tariff, Rs 750 crore are owed by different Government departments. How can they raise fingers on people when they are biggest defaulters themselves?” Umar asked, addressing an impressive gathering at Beerwah in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. “Do Army and paramilitary forces pay tariff for using electricity? There is no barrack, camp, watch-tower and cantonment in the Valley where forces are not misusing electricity,” he said, adding that people will not hesitate to pay electricity fee if provided with uninterrupted power supply. “Government is not doing any favour by providing electricity to us as we pay tariff, income tax, VAT and other taxes imposed on us,” the Mirwaiz said. He said Kashmir was reeling under darkness due to unjust power cuts and people demanding electricity are met with brute force. Mincing no words in castigating the coalition Government over, what he termed, governance failure, Mirwaiz said, “During 2008 elections, National Conference used to tell that they will redress basic issues of Sadak, Bijli and Pani and Kashmir issue will be solved by Hurriyat. But their failure in providing basic amenities has proved that governance is impacted by non-resolution of Kashmir.” Mirwaiz did not stop here only. “It (Government) has left people on the mercy of military and paramilitary forces in far-flung and remote areas,” he said. Accusing New Delhi of exploiting economic resources of Jammu and Kashmir, Mirwaiz said they will fight ‘conspiracies being hatched by the Centre to dis-empower Kashmiris economically.’ “Jammu and Kashmir has vast potential of hydroelectricity. We have potential of generating more than 20000 MW, which means we can earn revenue of Rs 60000 crores every year. Some of the international institutions which wanted to invest in hydro-energy were not allowed here. This is being done to keep Kashmiris economically weak so that they would always knock at the doors of New Delhi with a begging bowl,” he said, adding that different treaties signed by the successive regimes of the state, since 1947, were unjust. “They (Governments) bartered power resources for their comforts. They do not want that Kashmiris should become self-reliant and stand on their feet,” he said. Mirwaiz said Jammu and Kashmir has potential of not only producing power for its consumption, but can supply electricity to both India and Pakistan. “What oil is for Arab countries, water holds the same economic value for us. It is the key for our economic progress,” he said. Supporting suggestion of Pakistan to India on removing heavy artillery from the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Mirwaiz said, “Not only de-weaponization, there should be complete demilitarization from both parts of Kashmir. If India agrees to the withdrawal of forces, Pakistan would have no objection in vacating troops from its part of Kashmir.” Accusing New Delhi of running away from resolution of Kashmir issue, Mirwaiz said Pakistan has always shown flexibility in resolving the dispute. “New Delhi talks of resolving Kashmir, but it wants it according to its own terms and conditions. There is no alternative than to resolve the issue through talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris,” he said. Mirwaiz also said Kashmir issue was a hindrance in economic progress of India as its large chunk of budget is spent on defence. He said New Delhi shouldn’t remain in delusion that Kashmiris will give up their cause. “We are fighting for our legitimate political rights for the past 64 years and we can never forget the sacrifices of our martyrs,” he said. Mirwaiz also stressed on the Shia-Sunni unity and asked masses to defeat the elements trying to create wedge between different sections of the society.