Haryana and Punjab are faced with a unique situation arising out of the cauldron of Jat quota stir and SYL canal controversy. Jats in Haryana are hell bent upon taking quota in government jobs and academic institutions and compensation for those who were injured during last year’s quota stir. The state government is keen to handle the situation in an amicable manner, a cardinal feature of a soft state which rarely shows courage to take on certain challenges head-on, fearing backlash. Similarly Punjab is geared up to ensure that no one from Haryana enters its territory to dig up the SYL canal. Significantly, Jat quota issue and SYL canal, both are sub-judice and final verdicts are still awaited from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court respectively. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which has been out of power for over 12 years in Haryana, has planned to dig up SYL canal in Punjab on February 23, in view of which an alert has been sounded in the country’s bordering state. It is not known as to how the people of Haryana have been convinced to adopt pressure tactic to pressurise judiciary and elected government to buckle and accept their demands even if these are in direct conflict with the rule of law. People seem to be reposing their faith in those who are spearheading their agitation and not in their elected government, which raises many questions and need to be answered by none other than the people’s elected representatives.
By accepting last year’s agitators as ‘innocent’ people, Haryana’s BJP government led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday announced a fresh compensation for them. One hopes this announcement makes some difference to agitators and they start withdrawing themselves from the ongoing agitation, at least those who floated the idea of compensation believed so. According to decision, any person who sustained a bullet injury will be paid Rs one lakh and those who suffered a fracture not due to any bullet injury will be paid Rs 50,000. An amount of Rs 25,000 will be given for those who sustained other minor injuries, he said. According to Chief Minister Khattar, the compensation amount will be paid out of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF), which consists of donations from various quarters. Normally, CMRF is used for helping out the victims of natural calamities or other mishaps. Deputy Commissioners have been directed to immediately release the payment, which should be appreciated. Normally, the Chief Ministerial announcements take months get implemented. The main opposition party in Haryana, the INLD, has openly come out in support of the agitating Jats this time and asked the government to meet their demands while Congress too has asked the Khattar government to fulfil the promises made to Jats after the last year’s stir. The state government had last week formed a five-member committee, headed by Chief Secretary D S Dhesi, to hold talks with the agitating Jats. So far the negotiating skills of the state’s top notch bureaucrats have failed to yield any results.
Last but not the least, senior bureaucrat Ashok Khemka is peeved with the government for not taking action on any scams. Needless to say that when the BJP was seeking mandate to form government in the state in 2014, the party leaders had promised that swift action would be taken against those involved in any of the scams which were unearthed during the previous regime or were unearthed during the current regime. Khemka, who shot to limelight in 2012 when he had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between Robert Vadra’s company and realty major DLF, tweeted: “No action still on any scam, whether land, license or seeds. New Gwal Pahari (MC Gurgaon) land scam. Effective action missing. Only eyewash.” Khemka is currently Principal Secretary, Science and Technology Department, Haryana. In another tweet on February 14, Khemka wrote: “A desire to build a successful career leads to weakened action. You either fight or join the gang. What use is being a passive witness?” Recently, the Municipal Corporation Gurugram had sent notices to individuals to vacate its over 450 acres of land in Gwal Pahari. The land is currently in the hands of various individuals, private developers and farmhouse owners. The entitlement of the land in question and the mutation has been in dispute for over three decades. Gwal Pahari is part of the Aravali range. There is merit in the issue which has been raised by Khemka, who has faced over 40 transfers during his career so far. Justice S N Dhingra Commission too had pointed out various irregularities in issuing licences to various real estate companies in Gurugram during the previous Congress regime. Time for introspection, indeed!