Srinagar, Nov 18 (UNI) The National Conference (NC), the main opposition party in Jammu and Kashmir, today castigated the Congress-led coalition government for encouraging political corruption in the state.
Addressing a public meeting at Shumnag village of Budgam district, former Finance Minister and senior NC leader Abdul Rahim Rather demanded action against those allegedly involved in the forest scam and asked the coalition government to make the B R Kundal panel report public.
He said the Congress-led government has failed to curb the political corruption in the state and not taken any action against those allegedly involved in the much-publicised forest scam.
Mr Rather, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said loss of crores of rupees have been caused to the state exchequer due to the embezzlement in forest department.
''The government earlier created a hype by saying that crores of rupees have been allegedly embezzled in the forest department but later remained tightlipped about the people involved in the scam despite the fact that the Kundal inquiry committee submitted its report to it some time ago,'' he added.
The NC leader said the coalition government has been making false claims of eradicating corruption from the state. ''The people want to know the fate of the report and the government should make its contents public. It is very surprising that the report is eating dust in the secretariat,'' he added.
Mr Rather said an inquiry for the sake of it does not mean that the misappropriation of crores of rupees could be taken for granted.
''It is surprising that instead of punishing the dishonest people involved in the political corruption, the state government is shielding them by not taking action on the report. Why is the government tightlipped over the issue. Action should be taken against whosoever the person may be,'' he added.
The former Minister said the state government was making tall claims that it has launched a crusade against corruption, but the ground situation speaks otherwise.
The vigilance organisation was doing its job by booking corrupt officials but the government failed to pursue the cases in the courts, he said, adding despite tall claims, corruption was ruling the roost in the state.
Mr Rather expressed concern over empty timber depots which force the people to purchase it from smugglers. ''The people have no other alternative but to approach smugglers for timber,'' he added.
The NC leader said the people were facing hardships for non availability of timber at forest depots. ''Indirect encouragement to the timber smugglers by the government has resulted in huge losses to the state's green gold,'' he claimed.
Mr Rather said development activities have come to a grinding halt as funds earmarked were yet to be released by the state government. ''The people are suffering due to absence of roads, water and electricity,'' he added.