'Meet people at their homes'. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad embarked on this mission on Wednesday to reach out to the people in far-flung areas rather than making them to travel to the capital city to meet him, in a move worked out with a scientific precision to reverse alienation that plagues this state.
Usually, the chief ministers visit people at their homes only when there is a crisis-like situation - natural disaster, terrorist assault or a major accident.
But this is for the first time that a counter-alienation and easy accessibility strategy has been worked out in the normal-time situations.
Azad made a beginning with a visit to Kupwara, in north-west Kashmir, where he met several delegations and listened to their grievances.
There was an on-the-spot disposal of many of the complaints brought to his notice – ranging from the bad condition of roads to absence of teachers in schools and the need for more development and grant of scheduled tribe status to Paharis and so on.
"It is a simple way of doing things. All the requests seeking appointment with the chief minister will be clubbed together and a particular day chosen to visit the place and meet the people. This is to save time, money and energy of the people," the chief minister said.
"At times, it takes more than two days for the people from far-flung areas to reach Srinagar and then wait for their turn to present their demands. We want to do away with this practice, and rather visit them at their places where they will be more comfortable and having more time to say what they want to say."
"I have decided to reach them in their home towns and villages, be it Handwara, Kupwara, Gurez, Bandipore, Marwah, Dachhan, Pahalgam , Poonch, Rajouri, Bani Basolhi, Gool, Ramnagar", Azad said, naming distant areas from where the people have little or no access to the government in the capital.
Though his mission 'meet people in their homes' started on Wednesday, he has already visited all the blocks of Leh and Kargil districts during the past fortnight. This is complete departure from the earlier practice when the men at the top would visit only the district headquarters of Leh and Kargil, and leave the tales of distress of the peoples of the remote areas unheeded.
"The advantage is that it helps in understanding the ground situation and also sifting truth from fiction, for the officers who have to redress the grievances too are there. They can also offer their version and the facts can be verified on the ground," Azad said.
Politically, it cuts into the bureaucratic red tape and also gives a better sense of accessibility and participation to the people. This is a counter point to the alienation that had arisen out of frustrations piled up in absence of accessibility.
These are not going to be public meetings, but direct interaction with the people in their homes. "This is one of the best ways to do away with alienation and also to make the administration more accountable."