Srinagar: For a state which is known for its poor financial condition, crores of rupees were spend by the Jammu and Kashmir government on hosting Zubin Mehata's 'Ehsass-e-Kashmir' concert. Though the concert was dubbed as a perfect stage to present the state at an international platform, the world renowned music conductor Zubin Mehta's dream performance, ironically, had nothing to do with Kashmir.
Around Rs 5 crore was spent only on the renovation of Shalimar garden even as the state government has no money to pay compensation to the families of Power Development Department (PDD) linemen and other daily wagers who lost their lives while repairing transmission lines.
In a reply to an RTI application, the PDD said they have no funds to replace the rotten or damaged electric poles in Kashmir. The Srinagar Electric Division (Second) Executive Engineer admitted that there are electric poles which have been identified for immediate replacement in the area under his jurisdiction, including Budshah Nagar, Natipora. He, however, said that due to non-availability of funds, the department is unable to take up the job of replacing two damaged poles which costs Rs 62445. The engineer said his division has not received any funds from the government for replacing these rotten poles during the last financial year and this year too.
The concerned ruling National Conference (NC) MLA Nasir Aslam Wani, who is also provincial president of the party in Kashmir, also did not release any funds from his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for replacing these poles, the reply added.
The reply further said that a lineman who died on duty on August 22, 2012 has still not been paid any compensation in Handwara. Four civilians who were also injured due to electric shock in Handwara during the past one year have also not been paid any compensation.
Though the Zubin Mehta concert was sponsored by a number of organisations as claimed by the hosts, but state government had to bear the expenditure for making arrangements for unprecedented security for non Kashmiri guests, bureaucrats, ministers and others.
However, the 90-minute concert for which preparations were made for more than a month before, had nothing about Kashmir, barring few minutes of joint presentation by Kashmiri and Mehta's musicians in the beginning and end.
The common Kashmiri, including those residing adjacent to Shalimar garden, remained confined in their homes because of security arrangements. Surprisingly during the live telecast of the concert in more than 120 countries, not a single shot of Dal Lake, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Ladakh or Jammu and other tourist places was shown. It looked as if the concert was being held in a garden, similar to any other garden in the country.