Shiv Kumar Padha
India lives in villages which constitute 67 % of the total population of the country where more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 years and more than 65 % below the age of 35. After independence big cities and the towns have always remained the main focus for every government in terms of development and progress. The governments have always exhibited their prejudiced and biased attitude against the progress and development linked with providing the minimum requirements of the rural areas. Whether it is a field of education, health facilities, education, employment, connectivity and other welfare programs the villages of India are far behind their urban counterparts and are still trailing behind since independence. The legislators of the state assemblies and the member parliament, coming from the royal families, multimillionaire class and criminal background, consider the development as the prerogative of the big cities and towns because they can never visualize the hardships and miseries of the people living in the absence of basic necessities of life in the rural areas.
Even more than seven decades after India attained Independence the plight of the people living in rural, remote and inaccessible parts of Jammu and Kashmir state is more deplorable, miserable than their counterparts living in other states of the country. The rural people are deprived of the basic requirements necessary for the sustenance of life like, health and medical care, education facilities, connectivity with the nearest cities or towns, employment opportunities and pervading poverty. In reality the condition of the people living in villages of Jammu and Kashmir is more or less the same but the rural areas of tehsil Bani, Billawer, Basohli of district Kathua are worst hit in the matter of the large scale migration of the of unemployed youth to other states of the country in search of employment for earning livelihood for their families. Due to the poverty and lack of medical facilities the people living in the dingy and unhygienic houses fall prey to many consuming diseases and as a result they languish till death without treatment.
Topographically, more than 60 % of the total population with majority of SC and ST lives in remote rural areas of Bani, Basohli and Billawer tehsils. The natives of these places are poor and deprived of even basic requirements of life like health,education and employment. The youth of these rural areas are intelligent, industrious, talented and hardworking and are, in no way behind their counterparts living in other parts of the state. But acquiring higher education and getting employment is not only difficult, impossible but in accessible for the poor and politically deprived youth. The youth from these remote areas, after qualifying +2 or graduation, go to the markets of other states and work there as coolies and porters and fetch money in order to feed and meet the requirements of their families at home. The poor parents cannot bear the expenditure of getting good education for their aspiring children and are compelled to send them away from the family with heavy hearts. According to one estimate there is hardly any household in rural areas of Bani Basohli and Billawer tehsils which has not been affected by migration of their un employed youth because neither they have cultivable farms nor any source to rear animals to produce meat and milk to enhance their family income.
No doubt the migrating youth earn money while working away from their villages and help managing their homes properly, but being non skilled they get the work which, many times, proves beyond the capacity of a common man. The environment and the situation they work is hazardous and always prone to some accidents where these poor people sustain such type of injuries which render them unfit for doing coolie or porter works in future. Many young boys working as porters in the dockyards or with some big forwarding agents, lift heavy machinery during loading and unloading process and get serious injuries with the result their damaged extremities are amputated and are sent home where, in many cases, they become liability on their families instead of an earning member. In order to feed themselves and their families at home they work for maximum hours of the day. Their earnings are too meager to manage nutritious diet needed for their daily bodily requirements with the result their health start deteriorating gradually. Many of the young migrated youth fall prey to fatal and dangerous diseases which in turn take their whole family under its spate.
Doing hard work for earning two square meals for the family and to meet their requirements is a noble job but compromising to work in a risky, hazardous and inhuman situations under the compulsion of poverty and want amounts to the exploitation of human resources and violation of the human rights. The government of Jammu and Kashmir should also consider them the bona fide citizens of the UT and must take the steps which make their lives comfortable where they get guarantee of health care, education, employment and connectivity. It is the resolve of the visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take Education to the portals of the aspiring youth living in the remote and inaccessible terrains of the country and to start programs of employment generation, imparting the skill education and reviving the local vocations which have become extinct with the passage of time. For taking education to the thresholds of the rural population the state government must establish a satellite campus of Jammu Univerisity at Basohli which can meet the educational requirements of the youth. Adopting and caring one section of people at the cost of those poor living in the rural areas is the greatest sin and an example of apartheid and a greatest disqualification for any democratic government in the 21 st century. Getting education to the level of one’s choice, employment one deserves and the health care which he needs is the prerogative and fundamental right of every independent citizen of the country.
Shiv Kumar Padha