Backward villages: 30 for Jammu, 8 for Kashmir

In a blatant show of regional disparity, of the 38 villages recently approved by the state government for inclusion in the backward list, only eight are in Kashmir region. The decision was taken at the June 19 meeting of the state cabinet.
Of the 30 villages approved to be declared as backward in Jammu province, 17 are in two tehsils of Akhnoor and Samba. In Akhnoor tehsil, eight villages have been declared as backward while nine have been allocated to Samba.
In Rajouri district, nine villages were approved for inclusion in the backward list while four were declared as backward in Poonch district. Only one village got enlisted in Doda district. Of the eight villages declared as backward in Kashmir, four are in Islamabad (Anantnag), three in Ganderbal and one in Bandipora.
A village is declared backward by the Government on the recommendations of the State Commission for Backward Classes (SCBC). Once declared as backward, the inhabitants of these villages are entitled to a quota in government jobs, scholarships, admissions in professional colleges and other facilities.
However, the Commission has often drawn flak from various quarters for ‘biased’ ‘incorporation of villages in the backward list. The appointment of members of the body on ‘political considerations’ has also come under sharp public criticism.
When contacted, Justice (retd) Ali Muhammad Mir, who was chairperson of SCBC till June 30, justified the decision. “This is very just and rational decision,” Mir said, adding, “Our recommendations are based on just criteria and without any consideration.”
On July 6, senior PDP leader and Member Parliament, Tariq Hameed Karra had said Kashmir has become a victim of worst kind of discrimination perpetuated by NC-Congress coalition regime.
Over the past one year, Kashmir has been facing disparity in administrative affairs.
Of the total 659 administrative units cleared by the Cabinet for creation, 337 were given to Jammu while 274 were created in Kashmir and 48 in Ladakh.
Similarly, of 676 health centres sanctioned by the Centre under NRHM, Jammu got 429 while Kashmir was allotted marginal 247 centres.

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