|Admin setting new rules aimed at making Aam Aadmi more significant|
|After Oct 31, will VIP culture die forever in JK?|
|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Oct 20: As new rules are being set in motion from October 31, this year, there is one question among many which is gaining prominence- will the government end the age old VIP culture in Jammu and Kashmir?
As per the official sources, the government is mulling to make certain changes in the rules which were aimed at giving privilege to the babus- taking away from common man what little had left for him in an otherwise democratically elected regimes.
Jammu and Kashmir's known academician, Amitabh Matoo while commenting over the VIP culture the past said that if the government is serious about making a change, they must outsource all transport, discontinue security except for those at "Z" level threats, and gradually stop providing official accommodation to all except cabinet ministers. The existing official accommodation is a huge resource that can generate huge revenues if it is reutilised or privatised, he had said.
An official in the administration said that the government had almost decided not to provide then official accommodation to politicians and their kith and kin. "Earlier, it used to be a cardinal principle of the state administration to provide luxurious apartments to the politicians and their relatives. Crores of rupees used to be spend on the maintenance of these houses. Since the fall of the government last year in June, this ruthless practise has somehow stoped and the administration too is making hectic efforts to end the VIP culture which earlier was ruling the roost in Jammu and Kashmir," says the official wishing not to be named in the report.
Interestingly, in the past, Supreme Court took up the matter and tried clamping down on the lal batti culture in the country but without much success. In 2013, the SC bench hearing the petition on the use of red beacons noted: "What we have done in the last four decades would shock the most established political systems. The best example is the use of symbols of authority, including the red lights on the vehicles of public representatives from the lowest to the highest and civil servants of various cadres. The red lights symbolise power and the stark differentiation between those who are allowed to use them and the ones who are not. A large number of those using vehicles with red lights have no respect for the laws, and they treat the ordinary citizens with contempt. The use of red lights on the vehicles of public representatives and civil servants has perhaps no parallel in the world democracies." It clarified that only a few constitutional authorities in the country such as the President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, governors, the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court judges and the heads of both houses of Parliament should have the VIP status.
Pertinently, Besides hefty salaries, the legislators of the past were being accorded attractive perks, free vehicles, security, medical allowance, housing allowance, travel allowance, housing loans, free accommodation, air, road travel, free electricity and drinking water.