Hiranagar, a border belt and reserved Constituency has always received a raw deal from Government as successive legislators and Governments failed to pay full attention to its development despite falling on Jammu-Pathankote National Highway.
People in this Constituency have a grudge against the successive representatives who failed to come up to their expectations and develop it a model Assembly segment despite many Central sponsored schemes were implemented for the development of border areas but result on ground are negligent. Except Late Girdhari Lal Dogra a strong Congressman and ex-Finance Minister no other public representative after him could give justice to the people of the area was the general view of the masses. They said that no public representative could beat his track record and win the confidence of the people as he.
A cursory visit of the Constituency shows that it sans development on all fronts and no proper attention has been paid to it as water scarcity, power crisis including low voltage problem especially in Summer and dilapidated condition of roads and lanes are the major issues confronting the people who allege their public representative has failed to redress the same during last five and half years of his tenure.
Though riding on Modi wave, the BJP sympathizers in the Constituency are hopeful to retain the seat in coming Assembly elections of 2014, but this argument is challenged by the opponents who say that magic does not work always and it is the performance of a public representative which counts.
While the sympathizers of MLA rate his performance as good in last over five years his opponents have many grievances saying his functioning has been totally dismal and people want a change this time.
While in some areas people term MLA’s performance as extra good and are hopeful that his track record will sail him through in the coming Assembly elections, his detractors have many complaints about Mr Dass whom they not only term non -performing but allege that except his own coterie, he does not give preference to any body whosoever he may be.
Whenever people visit him regarding any problem about the development of the area, the MLA asks them whether they been recommended by his representatives in the area, said Ganpati a chemist at village Jatwal.
He said there is no development in Jatwal and lanes and drains have not been constructed during his tenure as MLA. What can one expect from the legislator who failed to solve the problems of water scarcity and power crisis in the area.
In Jatwal, main galis leading to the village are in a dilapidated condition and the village which has a population of over 2000 people feel totally neglected in last over five years, said Shiv Paul of Baloni. Baloni and Jatwal are two adjoining villages on Jammu -Pathankote National Highway in Hiranagar Assembly Segment.
Ram Paul a resident of Baloni said that Baloni and Jatwal residents feel totally ignored by the MLA who only visits the area during the “opening ceremonies”.
However, Sohan Lal Sharma a trader from Jatwal differs with them saying he has no grievances with the MLA and strongly supports that Mr Dass be given mandate in 2014 elections.
Satpaul Sharma of Muthi Kalan in Hiranagar said that people in his village have many grievances with MLA. Grants for developmental works have been blocked by him, said Ramesh Chander another resident of the area.
Lauding the MLA’s role and his over five years performance, Gurdev Singh an auto driver at Gahgwal said he is a down- to -earth man and pro-poor and down-trodden sections of society as he also comes from same class of people.
He said Mr Durga Dass was running 407 matador prior to his election to State Assembly in 2008. He belongs to a poor family and no one else can realize the pain and agony of poor better then him.
Showing total satisfaction with performance of the MLA, Sunil Kumar Lambardar Chadwal said MLA is easily accessible to people, listens their problems and raises public issues on floor of the House forcefully. In response to a question that the MLA was disqualified from the Party for violating its whip in 2010 Upper House elections, Kumar said this was only an allegation which was not proved later.
However, Pavitar Singh of Dayala Chak while expressing his dis-satisfaction with the performance of MLA said no one will vote for him as he failed to come to the expectations of the people. Admitting that Modi wave will have an impact in Assembly poll too, he said, BJP has to change the candidate as MLA was working for his own workers only. He said a youth of Ghagwal lost his father in 1994 who was working as Hawaldar in police. Later, his mother also died but the youth was not given the job till date. The MLA failed to come to his rescue by not pleading his genuine case before the Government, he added.
Prince Rajput of Tanda Hiranagar has also many grievances with MLA saying his performance is dismal as he failed to take developmental works in hand. The link roads in the area are in worst condition. The school has not been upgraded. People in the area face water scarcity and pump of the tubewell has not been installed to restore water.
However, MLA boasts of his performance saying in last over five years many development projects were brought by him for this border Constituency to ameliorate the lot of the people.
He said as Hiranagar belt is dependent on agriculture and the farmers had main problem of irrigation in this belt. To overcome this, he installed 120 transformers and provided poles to farmers so that the people can install the hand pumps for watering their fields. Besides, 14 PHE bore wells were dug while five tube wells were also constructed to better the drinking water supply in various areas of the Constituency, he added.
Moreover roads, lanes and drains were constructed in different areas of Hiranagar belt, he said.
Durga Dass, while counting his performance said that during last five years he was given Rs five crore under NABARD schemes by Government which he utilized for construction of roads in various areas. He said a bridge in Rajpora area to connect border villages of Satrian will be started soon at an estimated cost of Rs 2.17 crore. The soil testing of the land has been conducted recently and work on the bridge will be started soon, he added.
Durga Dass said that five middle schools were upgraded as high schools in his Constituency and in Ghagwal block comprising of seven Panchayats people were facing power crisis due to low transformer. The 5mva transformer in this area was replaced by 10mva. Besides, in Rajpora area nine Panchyats falling on IB which too have same problem, the 5mva transformer there was also replaced by 10mva, he added.
He said three blocks were developed under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in his Constituency.