By RAJA SHAFQAT SHEIKH
Celebrating its Independent and Republic victory from Independence days and Constituting its own law and orders , maintaining communial harmony, peace and brotherhood and making Digital India in world , is going with a rapid pace of technology and development with the slogan to fulfill the needs of the poor masses especially in the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir state , in providing electricity, drinking water, better road connectivity and other basic facilities on doorstep.
Unfortunately if we go deep, through research in the far-flung and remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir state, the real picture behind slogans will automatically start speaking for itself . The picture is the evidence of the fact of Chenab valley comprising of three districts from where Senior most leader of Congress, J&K Former Chief Minister and present Opposition Member of Rajya Sabha Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad belong.
In erstwhile Doda district including Ramban Doda, and Kishtwar the adjoining villages, that are not more than 5 km away from the road, are still lacking the facility of drinking water, electricity and road connectivity from Independence. Fetching drinking water, villagers have to travel 4 to 5km to collect muddy water from Nallahs or from rivers which is a health hazard . The people of the Rural villages of Doda and Kishtwar district are seen collecting drinking water from muddy sources in this modern era of technology and development of 21 Century.
People of erstwhile Doda district particularly Bhalessa , Chatroo, Saroor, PremNagar, Bhaderwah , Bunjwah, Drabshalla , Dacchan , Marwah ,Padder , Sigdi Bhatta, Binoon, Kahalgugasar, Kither, Bani , Kansoo, Alni , Buddhar , Challer and other adjoining areas were demanding the road connectivity , telecommunication system, proper electrification to all villages, hassle free supply of drinking water and essential commodities from State and Center Government.
From time to time several politicians have fooled the Chenab Valley peoples and promised them that they will fulfill their demands after Elections . Unfortunately, Once when they got the vote and become MLAs and MPs and Ministers they did not return to these rural areas till the next election. The problems and demands remains unsolved and unfulfilled. Poor and downtrodden people were crying and trying to raise their voice, but their voices remain unheard .
When G N Azad became the Chief Minister , A ray of hope begun in hearts of poor and downtrodden masses of Chenab Valley , that they shall get sigh of relief . In erstwhile Doda district there was no doubt that the beginning of some developmental works , power projects was started. Various road projects of construction and widening was allotted to contractor, who had promised to complete the work within a year. Unfortunately several years passed and contractor has not even completed half of the construction of the road that you can easily imagine “DUNADI BUNJWAH KEWAPULL KITHER ROAD” that is still awaiting for completion . Same is the case with other roads of Chenab Valley that are still not completed. The roads of Chenab Valley speaks itself regarding the ongoing work and material being used, which is of substandard quality.
Shortage of essential commodities including Rice , Aata , Sugar , Kerosene oil, Lpg gas had became headache as from last several months ration stores are lying dry and sugar has seen on eve of religious festivals after that nothing as poor masses are starving .
One can imagine , “How peoples living in rural and hilly areas can fulfill their needs” .
The people of Doda and Kishtwar district had mentioned that the telecommunication department is hampered and paralysing as some peoples are unaware of mobile phones in this modern age of Seience and Technology . Not enough , same is the case with electricity department. Various villages are still not electrified and are waiting to see electric light. Peoples residing in rural areas were hoping that they will get electricity and drinking water facility as the politicians had promised , but they were neither provided drinking water nor electricity , As they have to walk about 4 to 5km from their houses to get drinking water.
During the ruling and opposition , some opportunists got benefits from politicians , but poor people’s dreams vanishes into thin air. This is need of the hour is to check whether the scheme formulated by State/Central Government for rural areas reach to common masses or not because every time and in every budget there is big announcement of different welfare schemes worth corers of rupees for the development of rural areas, but on ground they are implemented without proper monitoring of accountability commission that happened in past.
Worried about the bad condition of Chenab valley roads especially ” Dunadi Bunjwah KewaPull Kither road ” which is in bad condition since last several years in the district Kishtwar. As public is facing several difficulties while travelling by this road, the residents of Bunjwah have to do work in restoration/ maintenance of Dunadi Bunjwah road .
The dunadi bunjwah road i.e the only one road link connecting Bunjwah with district headquarter and rest other regions of state , is in critical condition as running for vehicles .The dunadi bunjwah road was under JKPCC from 2009 for its upgradation and maintenance till May 2017 and later it was handed to R&B for its maintenance and rest of road i.e KewaPull Kither road is under PMGSY from 2004. But unfortunately these agencies failed in restoring this road despite crores of rupees are withdrawn on name of said road .
The Dunadi Bunjwah KewaPull Kither road measuring 20 km in length in which 13 km from Dunadi to Noor named as ” Dunadi Bunjwah road ” is handed to R&B , that failed in its maintenance and rest 7 km from Noor to Binoon named as ” Kewapull Kither road ” is under PMGSY and rest 6km from Binoon to Patnazi named as “Tipri Patnazi road ” as both agencies failed in completing earthwork , R walls , protection walls and maintenance of drainage system on this road . As the administration/Govt don’t pays any intrest in restoring road .
Bunjwah is a part of chenab valley in Kishtwar district and is having many natural beauties . But unfortunately the administration don’t look over it as the public is facing too much difficulties while travelling on this road . Passengers have to push vehicles to reach their destination due to worse condition of road. Public of Bunjwah is using their strength to maintain the road , when the vehicles fails in running.
A local passenger informed , due to worse condition of road we ( passengers and drivers have maintained and restored the road by using rods, spades and other tools , as no officer of JKPCC , R&B and PMGSY from Division Kishtwar is performing their duties .
Eyewitnessing the scene few month ago over Dunadi Bunjwah KewaPull Kither road , Official vehicle of PMGSY remain stranded near Government Higher Secondary School Binoon, that was later pushed by locals.
A local passenger said that even the MoS R&B and Revenue, Sunil Sharma hails from the same district but despite of it the road condition is in shambles from last decades.
A local driver Mohd Haroon alleged that the officials of concerned department are not directing the contractors to expedite the construction work on this road as they had withdrawn huge amount of money without maintaining one km road .
A reowned social activists and State Secretary All India Reporters Association Mr Shafqat Sheikh said that the entire road from Dunadi to Bunjwah and KewaPull Kither road is under construction from several decades under JKPCC R&B and PMGSY.
Adding that “Due to bad condition of road and lack of proper drainage system, the passengers and drivers are facing problems. This problem manifolds during their journey, thus making roads accident prone, “ Shafqat Sheikh rues that concerned authorities are not paying any interest in maintaining this road link that is only way connecting with district headquarter Kishtwar.”
Shafqat Sheikh further added that due to non macademization the road is covered with dust causing hazards to public during their journey as it had become a golden era for contractors and PMGSY, JKPCC to withdraw huge amount of money without performing work on ground .
Shafqat Sheikh added that few months ago “He had raise the issue with Hon’ble Minister for Public Work and R&B Mr Nayeem Akther regarding worse condition of Dunadi Bunjwah road on social networking site “WhatsApp” . Added that the Minister replying the issue assured that work on road shall be started as soon as possible . As per the assurance of Hon’ble Minister the work of maintenance and restoration was started , But unfortunately the concerned agencies JKPCC and PMGSY are only levelling the road with mud , sand and soil and are waiting March final bills .
It is important to mention that the work over Dunadi Bunjwah road was started in year 1966 and till day state government failed to maintain 20km Dunadi Bunjwah KewaPull Kither road despite 40 years have passed away .
It is a matter of concern that ” Prime Minister of India Shri Narender Modi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti ” shall personally intervene and take their keen interest over this issue and direct concerned authorties in restoring / maintaining Dunadi Bunjwah KewaPull Kither road at an earliest and the work that were carried out by different developmental departments in erstwhile Doda district needs to be checked in order to book the corrupt officials and thereby to save the government exchequer meant for the welfare of the gullible people of hilly and remote areas of Chenab Valley of J&K. Otherwise, it would take more than decades to meet the basic requirements of the hilly and rural people in Chenab Valley particularly Bunjwah that are awaiting for benifits of Government schemes.
( The author is Social Activist , Journalist and State Secretary All India Reporters Association , State Media Director World Aid Organisation for Human Rights , Member Delhi Crime Press and Member International Human Rights Crime Control Organisation Jammu and Kashmir and can be reached at [email protected] , 09018920786 , 09419974577 ….