Core public issues in Nowshera remain un-addressed

Gopal Sharma
NOWSHERA: Like other constituencies of districts Rajouri and Poonch, Nowshera constituency which is considered to be an important constituency of these twin border districts of Pir Panchal, recently represented by BJP ex-MLA, Ravinder Raina, also lacked behind in terms of development and availability of basic amenities.
This constituency of Jammu division, having more than one lakh electorates and about 66 Panchayats, once remained strong hold of Congress Party, since 1962 followed by two terms by National Conference and once Dr Ramesh Chander from Congress. But during 2014 elections, BJP candidate and sitting State president of the party, Ravinder Raina secured a big win by securing 37,374 votes, defeating PDP candidate, Surinder Choudhary, who bagged 27,871 votes. Congress candidate Ravinder Sharma remained at third place with mere 5,342 votes.
Excelsior team conducted extensive survey of this entire constituency recently to get the feed back from the general public about the performance of their recent MLA in Nowshera constituency during his stay of about four years. Most of the people were not happy, especially from Nowshera, Qila Darhal, Lam, Bhawani, Jhangar area on Raina’s performance especially in the field of water, power supply, health care, education and rural development. They alleged that Raina is confined to Sunderbani only and hardly paid attention to this segment of Nowshera. He behaved as MLA of Sunderbani only.
The upper belt of Rajpura Kamila, Rajpura Bhatta, Qila Darhal, Lam, Ladoka, Pukharni. Sher Makri belt and parts of Jhangar, Bhawani and Kalsian are facing acute shortage of water. Majority of the people from this belt said that there is no supply of water through PHE tankers and people are dependent on the local sources or manage water through private tankers by paying huge money. In certain areas, people get PHE water supply hardly twice a week. There is massive leakage in pipes and many water sources turning defunct in the area.
One Rajinder Singh from Rajpura area in Qila Darhal tehsil said that this area having about 70 % Scheduled Caste population has been deprived of any dependable water supply scheme. He said Raina didn’t visit their area after winning elections. He said road condition is also bad and power supply is available hardly for 7-8 hours a day. During summer months, people purchase water tanker for Rs 2000 to 2500. Some people bring water on ponies from the Nallah about 2.5 kms away.
He said many teachers hardly visit schools and health centres of the area are facing shortage of staff. Road condition is also not good and there is no check on over loading in public transport. Paramjit Singh from Qila Darhal said that power supply is almost satisfactory with some curtailment but water supply position is in bad shape. There is no higher Secondary School and the children have to go to Nowshera. Water supply is made available after 3-4 days. Huge NREGA payments of the labour class are pending. Noor Ahmed from Ladoka village also projected issues of water, power supply, health care besides worst road condition.
One Sansar Chand from Lam area said that he has not seen any change or improvement in the facilities during past 4-5 years after the coming of BJP MLA. The things are in same position. He said Raina has special love for Sunderbani area only and he hardly visits there. MLC Surinder Choudhary or some times former MLC Ravinder Sharma pay visit to the area. He said the poor people have not been paid MGNREGA payments for 2-3 years, no works are being given to the poor people by BDO office staff in this belt. Ration supply position is also very poor. The people are fed up with the long power curtailment. If a transformer is damaged in the area, it takes 2-3 weeks or even month for the replacement or repair of the same, he added.
Babu Ram from Lam also said that there is no Primary Health Centre in the area. Hardly 50 % staff is available in local Govt High school. No medicines are provided in local health centre. Power and water supply position is also grim. The transport facility is inadequate. No new water supply scheme or any other scheme related to power supply, Agriculture or Horticulture sector, Fisheries etc has been introduced. Tara Singh from Lam also projected similar issues.
Haji Aslam from Pukharni area alleged that road condition in the area is not good and power and water supply position is also grim. Single phase electricity supply is provided that top, for few hours in day. During summer months, the people are forced to drink water from natural source and a nearby nallah. There is no nearby health centre and people have to move to Lam. For water supply the people of this LoC belt are mainly dependent on Army. The CAPD ration supply is also not regular. In the local middle, the staff is inadequate. No NREGA works are being provided to the locals and their previous payments are pending since long. There is no assistance to farmers of the area from Agriculture. Horticulture or Cooperative departments, Haji Aslam added.
Vinod Sharma from Bhawani said that water supply is made hardly once a week especially during summer months. No new water supply scheme has been sanctioned for the area. There is massive power curtailment in the area and after every two or three hours, there is power cut. Ration is made available only to the BPL/PHH category. He said there is 10 Plus 2 School in the area and by and large staff is adequate.
The road condition has also improved. But in Jhangar area the road condition is bad. In the local PHC, there is only one doctor. Ashok Kumar from Jhangar projected the issues of poor water and power supply, inadequate health care facilities, shortage of staff in schools and bad condition of road. He said there are 5 wards with nearly 1500 population but water supply is hardly made available for 15 minutes after 2-3 days. There is shortage of staff in Govt schools at Sher Makri and Sarya, he added.
One Kuldip Raj from Bhawani also projected similar type of issues. He said there is one ambulance in the PHC but since 2008 it is plying without registration number. Mohd Gulzar from Kalsian said there is no water in ward No. 5. People bring water from Nallah which is most unhygienic. Power supply is also worst. There is no road to the area and tractor road is lying in worst condition.
Sadhu Ram and Suresh Kumar from Kalsian also projected acute shortage of water and power supply besides poor condition of road. They said their former MLA failed to bring any relief for them. Whether it is Rajal, Nonyal, Kangri, Baja Bain, Bajoyal, Kali Deh, Devak, Lattar or Siot area, majority of the villages are facing acute shortage of water and unscheduled power cuts. The road condition in Sunderbani town and some other areas has been improved with the efforts of BJP Ex-MLA, the people of Sunderbani belt maintained.
Joginder Kumar from Devak (Hathal) said that core issues of water and power supply have remained the same even after the coming of BJP MLA. He said in the absence of electric poles the live cables are tired on the green trees, posing threat to the life of people and cattle. There is low voltage in the area and if it rains, the power goes off. The water pumps at local station often remain out of order. The people are left to suffer. There is severe shortage of staff at local Higher Secondary while at PHC (Hathal), only one doctor was placed against sanctioned posts of 4 and that too, has been attached to Sunderbani hospital. The only Health Centre at Devak village is being run by a FMPHW and a Nursing orderly. He said the road condition is also worst and now upgradation work of this 17 kms road has been started.
Ex-serviceman, Kashmir Singh from Kangri village of Sunderbani alleged that no new work or project was started during last 4 years in this belt. He said water supply is big casualty, power supply is almost ok but curtailment is still there. No PHC or health centre was there in the area. Manawar Tawi Lift/ Beri Pattan Irrigation Scheme worth Rs 53 crore is lying defunct. Rs 13 crore was spent and digging of canal up to 2 kms was done besides acquiring land of farmers but no work was initiated on it. No NREGA works were taken up during last one year in the area. Singh said he was not much satisfy with the performance of his recent public representative.
There is strong resentment among many people of Nowshera over the role of BJP MLA during agitation for ADC post. They said there is no desired improvement in the condition of roads, lanes, drains, street light and cleanliness in the town. Bharat Bhushan, Kewal Singh and Bashir Bhat from the town expressed that their public representative has failed to come up to their satisfaction.
Bhupinder Singh Tiger, from Nowshera, however, praised the Ex-MLA for improving power supply and water supply position in town and also improving condition of lanes. He said many new transformers and hand pumps were sanctioned in the area and moreover, the work on Degree College has been initiated. Singh said that he has witnessed extensive development in his area after long time.
Yog Raj from Sunderbani, also praised Raina for improving condition of roads and power supply in certain areas. He said most of the lanes in the town have been improved and Bus Stand area was black-topped after long time. He, however, said that water supply position could not see much change and there is need to further improve the facilities. Vinod Kumar social activist from Sunderbani, lauded the efforts of Ex-MLA Raina for improving condition of Bus Stand, main road to the town and lanes, but said that water supply position has not seen much change. He said tiles were laid in the Bazaar but it was again replaced by black-topping. He said Beri Patan Lift Irrigation project worth over Rs 53 crore was lying defunct since 2014. No work could be restored on it. Work on Degree College could not be started at Sunderbani. Mini-Industrial complex was proposed at Suunderbani during Azad’s period but it could not be established.
Ex-MLA, Ravinder Raina, however, when contacted said that he has got nine PMGSY roads cleared for up-gradation, 11 roads under NABARD, six new bridges and two roads under CRF got sanctioned during last three and half years in Nowshera constituency. He said Devak Road in Sunderbani was lying unattended for the last 35 years and now it is being upgraded with his efforts for the funds worth Rs 20 crores under CRF. For road projects about Rs 50 crore funds were got sanctioned and 120 kms roads were black topped in the area. In power sector, Raina said, he got two power receiving stations sanctioned at Sunderbani and Kangri besides two in Nowshera. About 288 new electric transformers and 12,000 electric poles were provided in the area during his tenure. Rs 22 cr got sanctioned for Grid Station at Siot on which work is going on.
Raina said on water supply funds to the tune of Rs 30 crores got sanctioned and works worth Rs 50 crores are in the pipelines. He said new WSS worth Rs 4 cr at Seri Syal, Rs 6 cr at Channi Prat, at Thanda Pani, Choarian, Charangal, Amb Khori, Ser Makri , Pukharni, Bhawani, Dabbar, Dharat and one each for Sunderbani and Nowshera towns got sanctioned. Under PM package, SDH Sunderbani and SDH Nowshera are being upgraded and Rs 17 crore each is being spent on them. Besides this, 56 new health centers, sub centers got sanctioned. Bus Stands at Sunderbani and Nowshera towns were improved and black-topped. Three schools were also upgraded and work on Sunderbani Degree college was started after resolving land issue, Raina added.