Basic needs still luxury for people of Mahore-Gulabgarh

Nishikant Khajuria
MAHORE: Lack of awareness, too much politics, ill-planned execution of the various Government schemes and wasteful expenditure of the public money are main features of developmental scenario in remote Gulabgarh-Mahore Assembly constituency in the Reasi district, where around 30 percent population of the area is still deprived of clean drinking water facility and power supply while scenario of Health services can be gauged from the fact that there is not even a single Medical Officer (regular MBBS doctor) serving in the entire segment, spread from Dadda adjoining Palsu Nallah to Gulabgarh and Chasana to Saldhar.
Thanks to the poor road connectivity and extremely bad condition of the main road from Arnas to Mahore that officers and officials posted in the area prefer to go on leave if they fail to get the transfer order modified. Even the post of SDM Mahore remained vacant for more than 18 months till the joining by incumbent Yasin Choudhary, a young and local IAS officer.
People in the far flung areas have to walk long distances to reach their destinations as all the newly carved link roads under PMGSY, NABARD, SRF etc are without blacktopping while work on a number of such roads has been left midway for the reasons best known to the executing agency and the concerned contractor. Condition is worse in Gulabgarh, which has virtually no motorable road link. “Work on Shadol bridge on Bagga-Gulabgarh road was kept pending since long while 15 km long PMGSY road from Bal to Adves via Budhanwan is not in use because of pending work of a bridge on Bal Nallah,” said the locals.
Mohd Kasim of Banna-A, block Chassana, informed that 10 kms long Bagga to Lehna road was in extremely poor condition because of its no proper maintenance since long. According to Mohd Akram, Sarpanch of Mahore Panchayat, inadequate road connectivity is the root cause of all the problems, including illiteracy, poor health and no business in the area.
Too much politics in respect of development can be gauged from the fact that former MLA Mahore and then Minister for Higher Education, preferred his home village Bagga over centrally located Mahore for sanctioning a Government Degree College even as the area has no Higher Secondary School till date while locals alleged that successor MLA Mumtaz Ahmad Khan allegedly didn’t take any interest for getting the High School Bagga upgraded as Higher Secondary. Students of Bagga have to cover 14 kilomters of distance for reaching Higher Secondary School at Mahore.
A number of schools are being run in open while work on scores of school buildings has been left midway. These Schools include PS Dogian, PS Khoriwalla, PS Lower Harni, PS Malikot, PS Phari, PS Dhani-Malas, PS Dhaka, PS Saldhar, PS Kulwan, PS Bathoi, PS Serni Bathoi, etc. Building of PS Khatoori got damaged before its inauguration while at High School Jamlan, which is functional since 1963 and having a strength of around 400 students, work on a block of the school building was earlier left abandoned since seven year after laying foundations only.
Wasteful expenditure of public money is visible here and there. Panchayat Ghar Bathoi has only walls and no roof as the work was left midway while Panchayat Ghar Mahore D and Panchayat Ghar Malas are also lying incomplete.
The Bus Stand Mahore, raised by acquiring 60 kanals of land near the town and spending lakhs of rupees on it by PWD, is still non-functional because of no approach road and wrong location with the result that around 200 vehicles, mostly Tempos, remain stranded at the Mahore main bazaar thus causing a lot of inconvenience to the commuters and the shopkeepers.
As per Mohd Shafi, a shopkeeper in the main market, they held several protests for making the bus stand functional and removal of stranded vehicles but there was no action on their demand. “Whenever we protest, the authorities come out with fresh notice on widening of the road in market stretch by dislocating us even as there is little progress on the road widening work from Dharmari onwards,” alleged Bashir Ahmad Bazran, another member of the Market Association.
Condition of health services in the entire constituency can be well gauged from the scenario at Sub-District Hospital Mahore, where all posts of Medical Officer (6), Dental Surgeon (one), Specialists (6), MBBS doctors under NHM (2), ISM doctors under NHM (2), Head Pharmacists (2), Senior Lab Technician (one) and Staff Nurses (3) are lying vacant. There is only a BMO with two NHM Lab Technicians and Pharmacists besides some PMPHWs, who are running this Sub-District Hospital, which caters to a vast area and huge population. There are three Ambulances at SDH Mahore but only one driver.
Deaths of pregnant women and accident victims due to no medical aid are shockingly a routine feature in Mahore Sub-division. In case of emergency, there is no option but to refer the patients to District Hospital Reasi and the bumpy ride on extremely bad conditioned road guarantees deterioration of condition or even death of the patient.
There are total 65 Health Centres in the Mahore block, which include one Sub-District Hospital at Mahore town, 6 Primary Health Centres ( one each at Arnas, Darmari, Gota, Baggodass, Banna and Laar), 6 New Type PHCs (one each at Thuroo, Buddhan, Lar, Deval, Barmat Kot and Tulli), 5 Medical Aid Centres (one each at Sarsote, Dubri, Dugga, Sawlakot, Dhlore) and 42 Sub-Centres. However, only PHC Banna and PHC Baggodas have one each MMBS doctor under NHM.
“Even as we have been confronting a lot of problems like scarcity of drinking water, no supply of power and ration besides shortage of teachers in the schools, non-availability of health services is the biggest problem we have been facing,” said Saddam Hussain, a class 12th student of Bagga, studying at HSS Mahore.
Bagga, which is the centre of four Panchayats namely Tuksan, Angrala, Bagga and Sahara, has no health centre and even in case of minor ailment or small injury, the locals have to either approach the Army unit or travel 14 kilomters for reaching Mahore Sub-District Hospital for first aid.
As 80 percent population of this constituency is Below Poverty Line, erratic supply of Government ration and alleged fraud in payment of wages against the MGNREGA works are other major grievances of the public, said Roshan Din at Bagga.
Even as the constituency has a number of natural sources of water, from where the supply is made to different areas, there was a general complaint that the supplied water was not potable and soft. People alleged that the authorities were supplying the water directly from the source without proper filtration.
The constituency was being represented by Mumtaz Ahmad Khan, son of legendary Gujjar leader Haji Buland Khan and younger brother of Ex MLA Gool-Arnas, Ajaz Ahmad Khan, since 2014 Assembly polls.
Listing his achievements as MLA of the constituency, he said that besides getting the work started on two CRF roads ( 72- km road from Tuli to Dharmari via Banna via Thillu and other one from Jig to Naarkot-Daggikot), 15 PMGSY, 13 R&B and eight RDD roads were got sanctioned during his tenure. Further, he added, the pending work on new building of Sub-District Hospital Mahore was completed thus enabling much needed shifting of the hospital to the new premises.
“Work on vital bridges at Gota, Sungri, Shadol and Laar has been taken up and construction of bridge on Malikote-Chassana road is completed while erection of 25 Primary School buildings is also under progress,” he said adding that new Health Sub-Centres were opened at Thanol Sher Gari, Sanglikot, Dammi and Chajjru Tramla while Sub Centres at Gulabgarh, Dandikot, Hasote and Shikari were upgraded as PHCs.
Claiming that ongoing work on GREF road from Arnas to Mahore was speeded up on his initiative, Mumtaz Khan said that around 50 percent job has been completed.
“Several schools, including MS Kanthi, MS Chakalwas, HS Jamslan, HS Laar, HS Badankot, MS Maramal, MS Thillu and HS Jigbadli were got upgraded while construction work of Government Degree College Bagga has also been taken up,” he further said.
In respect of electrification, Mumtaz Khan said that 75 percent area of his constituency was electrified with the help of CDF while Bagga Receiving Station was also upgraded from 2 MV capacity to 4.5 MV.