THATHRI (KISHTWAR) May 25: Underlining the huge development deficit faced by Chenab Valley region, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said the present coalition has only worsened the situation for the residents of the mountainous areas over the past three years.
Wrapping up a four day exhaustive tour of the region with a well attended public meeting here today, he said though the entire state was facing the serious effects of corruption, bad governance and inefficiency the Chenab Valley presented the picture of a ‘political orphan’ that had been virtually dumped by the parties they voted for in the last two elections. “But PDP won’t rest till it got justice and a fair share of development for the people of these areas who have always been used by politicians as a ladder to power and then forgotten about,” Mufti said.
Mufti said though the region was a gold mine of resources in the shape of water, power, mineral and forest wealth it had still to achieve even basic levels of infrastructure in almost all fields. The initiatives taken under the previous coalition have been abandoned, he said.
Referring to the connectivity crisis in the region, Mufti said the previous Coalition Government had started ambitious plans for opening up the area, the centre piece of which was link with Kashmir via Simthan pass. “Unfortunately this road taken up under the PMs package has fallen victim to the inefficiency and lack of follow up, he added. He said the Government had failed to take the benefit of the PMGSY to the region which actually could have transformed it completely but most of the schemes taken in hand have not made any progress over the years. Similarly a number of bridges planned over the Chenab stand almost shelved, including the Ganpat Bridge at Doda.
Expressing concern at the abject condition of medical facility in the region, Mufti said contrary to the national goal and the Government claims of healthcare at doorsteps for most people in Chenab region the nearest medical facility even for ordinary ailments is available hundreds of kilometers away either at Jammu or Srinagar. He said that it was reported to him that in one district hospital just four doctors were posted against a sanctioned strength of 25 and it was serviced with a lone ambulance of 1977 vintage.
“With such miserable conditions at the district headquarters it was easy to imagine how people in distant and inaccessible areas could be facing disease and ailments” he said. He said the area being prone to road accidents and natural calamities needed state of the art medical facilities but unfortunately those who are in power with the strength drawn from this region would reappear only at the time of next elections with another bundle of promises and go back to their own world.
Mufti said educational facilities in this intellectually fertile region needed to taken to the next level. He said after the National Conference Government’s ban on opening of new institutions and up gradation of existing ones the Government headed by the PDP had set up scores of new schools, colleges and other institutions. Even a university campus was established in the region but the present coalition had failed to carry forward the task of providing infrastructure to these institutions although funds were always available for the purpose.
PDP leaders Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Thakur Balbir Singh and Sayed Asgar Ali also addressed the meeting.