Youth are an essential component of the progress of any concerned society of the world. Their participation in the progress process is paramount.
Tall calms are being projected by Government of India that “Jammu & Kashmir is on the path of development” but who is developing my Jammu & Kashmir?
There are more than 2,50,000 educated young women and men in Jammu and Kashmir who are bearing the brunt of the lack of employment and struggle to find jobs due to the lack of a job policy — thus pushing them and their families’ backs to the wall. In Jammu and Kashmir, already facing turmoil over the decades, unemployment has become a serious concern and the percentage of unemployed youth is increasing with the poor absorption rate.
Jammu & Kashmir is being developed on BOOT Model, Build Own Operate & Tie Tie Fish. Where were everybody across India can work except a Kashmiri, Own the project he worked in, Operate the project he worked, and finally tie tie fish for the local youth. Our youth are being pushed towards the wall and forced to take alternate routes.
The government sector is already saturated as well out of bond for the educated youth, the private sector or corporate world which is dominated by outsiders and whatever is reserved that too is being kept for the bureaucratic blue-eyed lot.
While searching for the issues, we explored a few options, where the results are terrifying. Local highly educated as well experienced youth are being exploited and settled at labor positions across major construction sites across Jammu & Kashmir. May it be Apco which is building Zmohar Project in Ganderbal, Or HCC which have completed almost a dozen of projects across J&K, the rules & regulations are almost same. During British Rule they had “Dogs & Indians not allowed” and current scenario these companies and corporate say “Local Kashmiri’s Not Allowed”.
HCC once the pioneer of the construction industry in India and the company which broke the stereotype by starting construction work across J&K. Sometime back it had 6-8 projects spread across J&K. UriII, Mugal Road, Pirpanjal Railway Tunnel, The Kishan Ganga HEP, etc were the benchmark for the big corporate.
Despite being in the mint they too were the same while dealing with local experienced masses, were on the forefront to exploit the masses to the fullest.
SO who is to be blamed for the mess?
According to the 2011 census, the total population of the insurgency-hit Himalayan region is 1.25 crore. More than 70% of the population in J&K is below 35 years of age and chronic unemployment and under-employment have spawned the problem.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries also in its preliminary report suggested that five lakh job losses were recorded in Kashmir region only post abrogation of Article 370 last August which was followed by lockdown to combat Covid-19 pandemic in March. Many unemployed youths believe that mis-governance, poor administration and corruption have been the biggest problems in J&K. “Earlier the jobs in the government sector were distributed by ministers, bureaucrats and top officials among their kith and kin. After abrogation of Article 370, no jobs are being advertised and our future seems to be bleak,” said Suhail Ahmad, a post-graduate in Science.
The bleak scenario is giving rise to large number of suicides among youth of Kashmir . Daily the lack of hope is fuelling suicide among youth of Kashmir and much of it has to do with miserable economic avenues .
All this lack of employment opportunities and above no level playing field given to the youth of Kashmir burst the balloon of so-called progress. In any honest and earnest approach of the Government if they really mean owning the hearts and minds of the youth of Kashmir then they should be given a prominent role in all developmental projects rather than downgraded to petty jobs.