MENDHAR: Mendhar constituency of the border district of Poonch, in Jammu region has remained worst example of neglect in terms of basic amenities as the people of this area are faced with multiple chronic problems. Though, the respective former legislators, might have tried to improve the facilities for the general public during their tenure but there is much more to do not only to meet the aspirations of the people but remove those basic chronic problems which the public is facing for the past many decades.
Excelsior team paid extensive visit to the entire constituency recently and talked to the cross section of people to get their feed back about the ground situation there and have assessment about the performance of former MLA from National Conference Javed Rana during his recent tenure. Majority of the people to whom the team contacted at random, had no favourable response and pleasant experience during past four years.
They said there was no change at all as far as the water, power supply and the road conditions are concerned. Moreover, health condition in most of the hospitals and educational institutions is also not good. Habitual absenteeism, poor performance and lack of accountability remained among the officials in most of the Government institutions. There is lack of supervision and administrative control as far as the RDD, Revenue and law and order enforcement agencies are concerned.
Rakesh Gupta from Mendhar town said that there is no street light in the town, garbage is always seen scattered all around the main bazaar and the lanes. Drains remained choked and dirty and there is no proper cleanliness at all. Even on the occasion of festivals, the local Block Development authorities hardly take care of such initiative. There is need to create Municipal Committee. Worst is the condition of most of the lanes and roads in the area and no repair or maintenance work is witnessed here. Traffic jams, wrong parking, encroachments at Bus Stand, Main Bazaar have become order of the day and enforcement agencies are least bothered about public hardships. Many localities are facing acute water shortage while unscheduled and long power curtailment has made life of the people hell.
Abdul Qayoom from Bhati Dhar while referring to the miseries of the locals of the area, revealed that drinking water is the major problem which the public is facing. Pipes are broken and not repaired while leakage in PHE pipes is hardly plugged by the field staff. Worst is the condition of power supply and transformers if damaged, are not replaced for weeks together. People are forced to fetch drinking water through private tankers after paying money from their own pockets. People are not provided adequate supply of ration while road condition is also worst. No medicines are available in local Health Centre, he added.
One Nissar Ahmed from Kalaban- Chhataral said that water and power supply are the two main chronic problems which could not be sorted out in the area so far. The road was repaired a few years back but got damaged within few months due to low quality of work. The MGNREGA payments of the people are pending for the last 2-3 years while supply of ration is also very poor. Several PMGSY roads have been abandoned after earth work and no inquiry was ever initiated.
There is no doctor in local PHC. There is shortage of teachers in Govt Schools and some of them remain locked several times. There is lack of supervision on school activities. Mohd Rafiq from Kas Baladi said that power is supplied hardly for 5-6 hours a day. He said 3 km village road is kucha and not repaired or black topped since long . Local water source has gone dry and WSS has turned defunct. People are facing acute shortage of water. There is shortage of teachers in local High School. Two Master grade and five others posts of teachers are lying vacant there.
Mohd Hussain from Uchhad and Mohd Shakeel Ex-serviceman from Chajjla alleged that no sincere initiative has been taken in this belt to remove the problem of drinking water. The Water Supply Schemes have either gone defunct due to dry water sources or abandoned due to alleged paucity of funds. They said not only during summers, the water supply crisis remained even during winter months as well. Long power cuts have made life of the people miserable while road condition is worst. For the years, no blacktopping has been conducted or any maintenance work done on the roads. The members of labour class are not paid their MGNREGA payments for the last 1-2 years.
Matloob Khan from Mankote also mainly projected issues of water and power besides, inadequate supply of ration. He said the condition of Sagra-Balnoi road was in shambles while people are often provided water supply by the Army vehicles there. He said in local PHC there is no doctor while several posts are vacant in local Higher Secondary school.
Imran Khan from Gursai said that a water supply scheme which was introduced about four years ago has gone defunct due to paucity of funds. People are generally dependent on local source. They consume unhygienic water. An old water supply scheme exists but motor at pumping station remains out of order for months and not repaired in time. Work on Harni-BG Road was started by PWD about 20 years back, but this 13 kms road could not be completed till today. The funds are not released for it. Many PMGSY roads after earth work have been abandoned by contractors in the area for the last 5 to 8 years and no body asks them. Many electric poles are broken and the live cables are tied with the trees. There is no doctor at local PHC at Harni and only first- aid is provided there by the junior staff.
Nadeem Khan from Harni said that after decades of wait, Rs 23 crore were sanctioned for improvement of Mandhar-Harni- Jaran Wali Gali Road and about 10 km of the road has been blacktopped. The work was very slow on this road and it picked up some speed with the initiative of previous DC Poonch. He said there is also need to speed up work on Harni-BG Road. Two bridges were completed recently and further work should be expedited by the R&B authorities. He said power supply position is needed to be improved and health care facilities are also in shambles. MGNREGA liability worth over Rs 12 crores in Mendhar is pending and that is needed to be cleared in favour of poor labour class.
From Dhar Galoon (Balakote), Gulam Mustafa said that ration supply position is very poor. No sugar has been provided for the last several months by the CAPD authorities in local depots. Kerosene oil is not available to the villagers. Moreover, for water supply the people are depend on private tankers. They pay money from their own pockets to the tune of Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 per tanker. The rate go higher side during summers.
Water supply is made available hardly once or twice a week as PHE tanks mostly remain dry. Noor Mohd from Kottan village also projected similar issues. He said water supply position is grim in entire Balakote belt and for water supply people are mainly dependent on Army. Ration supply position is also not good and staff hardly goes to schools and health centres. Same is the position in Revenue and RDD offices. There is no support to the farmers from Agriculture and Horticulture departments.
Former MLA, Javed Rana when contacted said there is no doubt about water crisis in Mendhar area but maintained that many Water Supply Schemes were got sanctioned by him during his this tenure and previous one, but problem was still there. He alleged that due to paucity of funds many schemes could not be completed. Due to misappropriation and diversion of funds also some schemes got affected. He said for almost every village of Mendhar he got WSSs sanctioned but most of them remained unsuccessful. Even during past 2-3 years he got more than Rs 12 crore sanctioned on Water Supply schemes and work on many was going on. Rana said he got at least 500 water hand pumps sanctioned under the Scheme and own CDF for Mendhar during his two tenures ( 2014 and 2002). This year new WSS for Baruti, Drati, Sangiot, Nakka Majari and even Mendhar town have got sanctioned.
He said in Power sector also three receiving stations are being created. One has been completed and about 6000 electric poles are being provided to various Panchayats. Power infrastructure is being augmented in big way. About 300 transformers have been provided in the area during past three years by him. In coming 1-2 years, power supply position will improve in Mendhar, Mankote, Gursai-Harni and Balakote area, Rana added.
Rana said in R&B sector Rs 22 crore got sanctioned for upgradation of Mendhar- Harni-Surankote road. Over 80 % work has been completed on it. But many roads under PMGSY have been abandoned and work on some is going on slow pace. He regretted that R&B was not providing funds for maintenance of many roads. Rana said that at least right bridges worth more than Rs 35 crore were got sanctioned by him. Two of them in Mendhar town worth Rs 14 crores were completed. He said road connectivity and water supply have always remained his priority. He said most of the MGNREGA liability has been cleared and hardly one crore is left with the RDD.