Acute deficit of development fails to erode their faith in democratic exercise

Voters outside a polling station in Marwah area of Kishtwar on Saturday.
Voters outside a polling station in Marwah area of Kishtwar on Saturday.

Time for bringing end to miseries of Marwah-Warwan

*People pin hopes on DDC for resolution of issues

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Nov 28: Acute deficit of development has failed to erode their faith in the democratic exercise and the same is witnessing their massive participation during the past several decades but without commensurate return in the form of proper road connectivity, communication network and other services from the successive Governments.
This is the tale of people of Marwah-Warwan, the remotest corners of the Kishtwar district, who despite all odds always showed keen interest in the festival of democracy– be it Assembly elections, Parliament elections, Panchayat elections and now District Development Council (DDC) polls.
The inhabitants of these areas enthusiastically participated in the polling for the first phase of District Development Council elections held today and once again expressed full faith in the democratic exercise, which otherwise has not given them their due from the successive Governments.
Even over 70 years after the independence these remote parts of Kishtwar district have been craving for required attention of the Government and lack of all weather road connectivity is the testimony of the same. These along with other areas remain completely cut-off from the district headquarters for five-six months during the winter for want of proper road and this is the major reason behind all their other miseries and acute development deficit.
“Development remains a farce for the people of Marwah-Warwan and Dachhan although they are the staunch supporters of the democracy and neither stayed away the same despite being deprived of all those facilities which are easily available to the people in other parts of Jammu and Kashmir”, admitted a Government officer, who is associated with conduct of District Development Council polls and recently visited these areas along with other officers to review the arrangements for the polls.
The officer noticed enthusiasm among the people of these areas about the conduct of first-ever DDC polls. “However, these polls are being considered as last hope by these people for resolution of their issues which are pending during the past many decades”, he said while quoting their observations, adding “as per the reports there was good turnover in snow-bound Marwah-Warwan areas, which proves that people of these remote corners have not lost hope in the democratic exercise”.
As per the reports, voters were seen waiting outside the polling stations for their turn to cast votes amidst spine chilling cold. The enthusiasm was more among the first time voters especially in the light of the fact that they were participating in elections which are being held for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Had serious attention been paid by the successive Governments in Jammu and Kashmir and Centre towards these areas ensuring proper road connectivity was not a herculean task”, said an official hailing from this area and presently posted in Kishtwar while wishing anonymity, adding “from time to time announcements were made about providing communication link to these areas but at present only VSAT are functioning and people remain deprived of mobile network”.
Similarly, the senior Government functionaries rarely visit these areas and the Government officials posted in Marwah-Warwan always make efforts to come back at district headquarter on one or the other pretext mainly because there is no facility for their stay in these remote areas.
“Months before the onset of the harsh winters the inhabitants of these areas are compelled to start stocking essential commodities as any laxity in this regard amounts to facing starvation during the period the fair weather road remains closed”, some other officers in the administration said, adding “in case of any medical emergency during the winter months air-service is the only option but for availing the same they have to run from pillar to post”.
They said, “it is the high-time for the Government to pay serious attention towards these and such like areas of Kishtwar district so that they are paid back suitably in the form of developmental activities for maintaining their faith in the democratic process otherwise the day will come that they will start thinking otherwise”.
People feel that in the absence of MLA only District Development Councils would have to play crucial role in taking up their long pending grievances with the Government and resolve the same.