It is simply beyond one’s imagination that just a spelling error in the name should make the people of no fewer than 44 villages wait for 12 long years to be accepted for declaration of Reserved Backward Area. Incompatibility in the spellings of the names of 44 villages between what the Revenue records show and what is projected in the SRO is an error not of choosing of the people concerned but of the officials dealing with the case. This is the story of 44 villages in Ramnagar Assembly constituency.
The efforts of the people of the aforesaid villages, their seniors and MLAs spread over a period of 12 years are a saga of disappointments and deprivation. What losses have the youth of these villages suffered and how many of them have had to face fractured careers is quite unimaginable. Common sense says that since the error has originated with the Government, it will be in fitness of things that the designation of Reserved Backward Area should be given retrospective effect so that if not all but some of the deserving persons might be benefitted to some extent. More depressing aspect of this saga is that after the Deputy Commissioner of Udhampur noted that this was an error in typing or a spelling mistake, the matter hung in balance for ten years and no action was taken. After bringing the issue to the notice of the Divisional Commissioner another seven years were needed to see the result of these recommendations. This is how files move from one office to another and if the MLA of the constituency had not pursued it personally the correction in the spellings of the names of villages would have taken another decade or two to do.
Categorizing the villages as Reserved Backward Area automatically entitles them to several concessions and benefits which the laws provide. Had the categorization come in time, youth would have been enjoying those concessions but that was not the case. It is only after strenuous efforts of the sitting MLA, that the Government at last rectified the spelling mistake and issued a fresh notification giving the correct nomenclature. Looking in retrospect, we find that the error was made by the SRO which was drafted by the Administrative Department as per practice. Therefore, the benefit of doubt should go to the villagers.