EIDGAH: The residents of various areas of Eidgah constituency have resented the lack of amenities and non-implementation of various developmental schemes under the former Member Legislative Assembly (MLA), who represented the constituency for four consecutive terms since 1996.
The constituency was represented by former Assembly Speaker and senior National Conference leader, Mubarak Gul who consecutively won the Assembly elections four times in a row and represented the area for more than a decade.
The constituency has , the Eidgah, one of the historic places of the old city known for special Eid prayers where thousands of people from far flung areas of the Valley offer congregational prayers. It has failed to develop despite Gul representing it for about 22 years consecutively.
As per locals, Eidgah has been barely reduced to around 70 kanals as there was no check on its encroachment. “In 2006, Eidgah was trifurcated into park, playground and prayer ground. Frequent attempts are being made by land mafia to encroach upon Eidgah land. A constant vigil on ‘unscrupulous’ elements, who are making constant attempts to encroach upon leftover prized Eidgah land was never kept in these years,” Zahoor Shah, a local resident said.
He said the defunct drainage system is also deteriorating Eidgah’s condition and a slight drizzle turns maximum portion of it into a cesspool.
The inhabitants of various areas including Gassi Mohalla, Janghir Mohalla, Chai Doab, Danamazar, Malik Sahib, Chan Mohalla, Haft Yarbal, Ganderpora, Goripora, Palpora, Noorbagh and Safakadal allege that the ill planned execution of various developmental schemes have not benefitted the areas. They said that it was the duty of their representative to keep an eye on it.
The major problems, the residents of the constituency are facing are worst condition of roads, drainage system and incomplete works.
The residents of Palpora, Goripora and interior areas of Eidgah complained that the roads in their areas are in dilapidated condition and they have to face immense hardships in commuting. “The commuters have to face immense hardships as the roads are dotted with big potholes and ditches, making walking and driving an ordeal. We had to spend twice as much time on the roads. Because of poor roads, it takes us double the time to reach our destinations. The journey is so unpleasant that the desire for the destination wanes on the way. We brought this serious issue before our MLA and SMC, but no step has been taken so far,” Tariq Ahmad, a resident of Palpora said.
Another resident, Gulzar Sofi said that although some part of Goripora road was macadamized but the blacktopping of the four Kilometers stretch of the road from Chonchun to Goripora has been left midway last year and not been repaired till date, making commuters suffer. “We took the issue with MLA but nothing happened”, he said.
The residents of several areas of the constituency complained about the lack of proper drainage system in the area. They said the drains are either blocked or overflowing. They said that the MLA turned deaf ear towards the problems.
Inhabitants of Chai Doab complained of blocked and overflowing drains, and said the water from the drain entered several shops.
Ghulam Mohammad Wani, president of a local mosque at Chai Doab, said that water logging due to blocked drains in the locality made it impossible for people to walk. “People prefer to stay indoors. Whenever there is even a little rain the area gets submerged. The lanes of the area become a cesspool. Children and elderly persons are worst sufferers”, he said.
One of the major issues people of the constituency are facing is the Achen dumping site, an expansive locality in the outskirts of old city, which serves as a primary dumping site for thousands of tonnes of rubbish collected from Srinagar city.
Locals at Achen explained that the area under dumping site used to be a wet land which would attract and house thousands of birds.
“From 2007, we have been continuously protesting and demanding either to relocate us or stop dumping the waste here. Time and again fake promises have been made by the MLA. In 2009, the Government shoved the matter by asking us an 18 month time period for notification of new dumping site and signed an agreement as well but nothing has happened till now,” Tanveer Ahmad, a local said.
The residents said in 1984 residents were lured that state-of-the-art satellite colony would be made at Achen and even the foundation stone was also laid but since the area was a wet land it needed to be filled with soil but it was made a dumping site.
The residents also complained that as a part of Eidgah beautification project, a gateway was constructed at the entrance of the Eidgah but the project was left midway due to unknown reasons and MLA seems to be helpless. “The construction work of the gate was started two years back and the pace of work was so fast at that time that we thought it might be completed within months but they left it midway due to unknown reasons. The gate if completed would serve as a beautiful entrance point for the Eidgah”, Ali Muhammad, a resident of Eidgah said.
Former MLA Eidgah, Mubarak Gul, while admitting the lack of facilities and less development of the constituency, blamed the discrimination done by the PDP-BJP led Government in releasing funds during their tenure. “The Government ignored my constituency. I often raised the issues faced by the people of my constituency but the requests were being ignored because the constituency is not represented by their MLA. The PDP-BJP led Government discriminated with the MLAs’ of other parties and were reluctant in releasing funds for the development of the constituencies,” he said.
Besides, he said, Eidgah Beautification project was made and Eidgah was divided into three parts-park, playground and Prayer ground. “The park was made so that people will be able to take benefits out of it but unfortunately some vested interests defaced the park and stole benches, grills and whatever they can. Playground was also made for the youth and prayer ground was also developed but a lot needs to be done for its beautification,” Gul said.
The MLA while rejecting the claims made by the residents that the most of the roads are in dilapidated condition and lack of other facilities, said only the new colonies that were constructed recently lacked facilities. “The new colonies that were made on the outskirts of Eidgah are still developing and it is obvious that they lacked facilities. The residents of these colonies want the development of their areas should happen now and then but it takes some time,” he said.
Gul said various roads were macadamized including link roads of Palpora, Noorbagh, Goripora, main road of Eidgah etc and macadamization of other roads was under process.