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Ghulam Nabi Azad now goes door to door

The chief minister will now reach out to people in far-flung areas rather than making them travel to the capital city, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 18:33 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi

'Meet peopleattheir homes'. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad embarked onthis mission on Wednesday to reach out to the peopleinfar-flung areasrather thanmaking them to travel to the capitalcity to meet him,in amove worked out with a scientific precisionto reversealienationthatplagues thisstate.

Usually, the chief ministers visitpeople at their homes only when there is a crisis-like situation - natural disaster,terrorist assault ora major accident.

But this is for the first time thata counter-alienation and easy accessibility strategy has been worked out in the normal-time situations.

Azadmade a beginning witha visit to Kupwara, in north-west Kashmir, where hemet 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 ofteachers in schools andthe need for more development and grant of scheduled tribe statusto Paharis and so on.

"It isa simplewayof doing things.All the requestsseeking appointment with the chief ministerwill be clubbed together and a particularday chosen tovisit the place andmeet the people. This is to savetime, money and energy of thepeople,"the chiefminister said.

"At times, ittakes more than two days for the people fromfar-flung areas to reach Srinagar and then wait for their turn topresent their demands. We want todo 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 reachthem in their home towns and villages, be it Handwara, Kupwara, Gurez, Bandipore, Marwah, Dachhan, Pahalgam , Poonch, Rajouri,Bani Basolhi,Gool, Ramnagar", Azad said, namingdistant areasfrom where the people have little or no access to thegovernment in the capital.

Though his mission 'meet people in their homes'started on Wednesday, hehasalready visited all the blocksofLeh and Kargil districtsduring the past fortnight. This iscomplete departure from the earlier practice when the men at the top would visit only the district headquarters of Leh and Kargil,andleave thetales ofdistressof the peoples of the remote areas unheeded.

"The advantage is that ithelps in understanding the ground situation and alsosifting truth fromfiction, for the officers who have to redress the grievances tooare there. They can alsooffer their version and the facts can be verified on the ground," Azad said.

Politically, it cuts into the bureaucratic red tape andalsogives a better sense of accessibility and participation to the people. This is a counter point to the alienation that hadarisen out of frustrationspiled 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 todo away with alienation and also to make the administration more accountable."

First Published: Oct 11, 2006 18:33 IST