Despite development, decades old issues remain unattended

Ajay Raina
Suchetgarh: Despite development in various areas, many decades old issues remained unattended during the tenure of former MLA Suchetgarh constituency and BJP leader Sham Lal Choudhary.
On the one hand, while some people appreciated the role of their ex-MLA Sham Lal Choudhary in carrying out developmental works in different areas of the constituency, but on the other hand, others felt dejected by non-serious approach of the legislator towards many decades old issues.
Comprising of over 100 villages, Suchetgarh constituency is spread over a wide area having various villages including Jasore, Kotli Arjun Singh, Badyal Brahmana, Kadyal, Chak Agra, Chak Khana, Kotli Gala Bana, Samka, Baspur, Bera, Mottey, Rangpur Maulana, Kaloye, Bhojpur, Chandu Chak, Suchetgarh, Flora, Abdal, Kapoorpur, Gharana, Gharani, Chakrohi, Dewangarh, Sai Khurd, Nekowal, Jajowal, Sai Kalan, Jangwal, Talhar, Pindi Sarochan Kalan, Parlah, Mana, Beaspur, Dablehar, Blah, Magowali, Chak Baja, Badyal Quazian, Satrayian Kalan, Satrayian Khurd, Haripur, Jora Farm, etc.
Some of the main issues came to fore are people affected with ceasefire violation by Pakistan, unemployment, compensation of land beyond fencing, shortage of bunkers for safety of civilians during firing and shelling by Pakistan, irrigation, etc.
Educational standard has improved in this constituency to some extent, but the demand of the students of having a Government Degree College remained on papers only.
The student community in this constituency has expressed dismay over the callous attitude of Sham Lal Choudhary towards them as they feel that they can’t compete with the students of the city areas due to low standard of education in their constituency.
Students in this constituency have to travel a lot to carry onward their education after passing Middle, High and Higher Secondary levels. They have either to go Bishnah or RS Pura to complete their graduation.
A student of Government Degree College RS Pura hailing from Suchetgarh constituency said the MLA should be one who can come up to the expectations of the people of his constituency.
“Our MLA never took keen interest towards the youth of his constituency. We continue to compromise with our studies due to non-availability of degree college in our constituency”, he added.
Suchetgarh Constituency is almost a ‘Farming Community’ and its Basmati Rice is world wide famous. The demand of the farmers was of declaring this constituency as ‘Basmati Zone’ at par with ‘Saffron Zone’ in Kashmir, but the former MLA paid least heed towards this, which will somewhere create hurdles for him to represent the constituency in the Legislative Assembly again.
Dev Raj Thakur, president, RS Pura Basmati Growers Association and a resident of Baspur Bunglow in Suchegarh constituency while narrating the ordeal of farmers of Suchetgarh Constituency said that the farming community is feeling neglected by the Ex-MLA Sham Choudhary, as none of their issues for farming have been properly attended to by him.
“Suchetgarh is at the tail end of Ranbir Canal and the water level is so low, that it becomes very difficult for the farmers to cultivate their land”, he said, adding that their former MLA showed least concern toward this problem.
He added that their former MLA was least bothered about the problems of the people especially farming community and if this situation continued, a time will come, when no farmer will cultivate his land. This will jolt not only J&K but outsiders also, as maximum Basmati rice is grown here and is popular world-wide”, he added.
Earlier, many youths in the constituency expressed their desired to join the para-military services to serve the Nation, but ex-MLA’s non-serious toward their future has forced them to work in their agriculture fields or private companies.
While interacting with the youths of the constituency, it came to fore that recruitment drive for this border belt was held several decades back but no such recruitment drive have been conducted again till today.
“No recruitment drives have been conducted for the border youth of Suchetgarh constituency in the para-military forces since around two decades, which is compelling the youth to join their old age family business ‘agriculture’ leading to anguish among the youth”, said Dinesh Sharma, a Post Graduate student.
He said that despite being highly qualified, the youth of this constituency felt neglected as their ex-MLA never took up the recruitment drive issue in the para military forces with the concerned authorities, adding that the youth of this constituency have to undergo several hardships to complete their education upto graduation.
“Transport facility is also main issue in this constituency, which has affected the students and the office going private and Government employees”, said Sonia Choudhary, a student pursing MA from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and a resident of Halqa Abdal area of the constituency.
“Halqa Abdal area is having a High School and the students eager to purse higher education have to travel to RS Pura on scheduled transport facility, which at times student miss”, she said, adding that the people of this area are largely affected with the firing and shelling by Pakistan and at that time, the people have to migrate to safer places due to shortage of bunkers.
Similar transport problem is also being faced by the residents of Dewangarh area of the constituency as students in this area also have to travel to Chakroi or Sai to purse their studies up to Higher Secondary level and then to Bishnah or RS Pura to complete their college level degree.
The people living in Nikowal also revealed their issues including compensation of land beyond fencing, water crisis, non-availability of health and veterinary centres, whereas the residents of Jora Farm said that the nallahs in their area are in worst condition, which leads to health hazard many times. They also raised the issue of water crisis, but hailed MLA for doing some construction work.
Large number of the people of this constituency resides on or near the International Border and feel completely hapless during ceasefire violations by Pakistan due to shortage of bunkers.
“At the time of ceasefire by Pakistan, we have to rush to safer places in absence of bunkers near our houses. People especially students have to suffer a lot at that time. Construction of bunkers on fast track basis is the need of the hour and the issue stands taken up with the ex-MLA and other concerned authorities, but nothing has been done”, residents of various areas living on IB said.
When all these issues were taken up with Sham Lal Choudhary, he told the EXCELSIOR that many decades old issues including compensation of land beyond fencing, recruitment drives for border youth, construction of bunkers, etc have been taken up with the concerned authorities for approval.
“Around 50 per cent bunkers have been constructed and the remaining bunkers are under-construction”, he said, adding that the approval for compensation of land beyond the fencing is awaited.
Regarding recruitment drive, the former MLA informed that 60 per cent of border youth will be absorbed in the recently sanctioned 5 battalions of IRP, adding that 2000 border youth will be appointed as SPOs in the Jammu and Kashmir Police Department and its process is under consideration.
“People raise issues and it’s my duty to address them”, Choudhary said, adding that the demand of the student community regarding establishment of Government Degree College (GDC) has been projected before the concerned authorities and will be redressed in near future.
Regarding declaration of Suchetgarh Constituency as ‘Basmati Zone’ is also under process, he said, adding that various tube-wells have been installed in the constituency to overcome water crisis.