REASI: Because of his gentleman image, Ajay Nanda- who represented Reasi Assembly constituency since 2014 Assembly polls, apparently continued to enjoy a good rapport with his electorates even as some opponents alleged that he was not assertive enough to be an effective leader and hence failed to secure major projects for the constituency despite remaining a Minister while the routine developmental works were not achievements
During the last four years, when Ajay Nanda was the BJP MLA, various issues like acute scarcity of drinking water in a number of villages, extremely bad condition of several roads and even zero road connectivity between big habitations, poor health and educational infrastructure continued to haunt people in this one of the largest Assembly constituencies in the State.
There is virtually no supply of drinking water in scores of villages where the inhabitants are left with no option other than to fetch muddy water from natural sources like ponds and Nallahs. The inhabitants of village Godhar Khalsa and adjoining areas under Panchayat Bhamla said they were virtually without drinking water supply for the last around two years and hence dependent on contaminated water from Nallahs.
“Because of wrecked water supply line, which is lying severely damaged, there has been no water supply to the village for the last more than a year,” said Aranjeet Singh of Godhar Khalsa, who runs a roadside dhaba on the highway near Bhamla. According to the locals, this pipe line was installed by the PHE Department more than two decades ago for supply of water to the area from a natural stream at Dudhadhari Aashram on a hill top around seven kilometers from the village. Because of no repair and lackluster attitude of concerned PHE authorities, this supply line got damaged at various points and was made operational by tying the broken pieces with each others. “However, it has now damaged to the extent that it is not possible to connect the broken pieces and hence the entire area is without water supply for more than a year,” explained Narinder Singh, who alleged that despite repeated pleas to the PHE authorities and then local MLA, nothing was done.
Village Sangarh, Kalha, Morha Narh, Letar, Siote, Ragroti etc are among the number of villages which are severely suffering because of acute water scarcity. Mohan Singh, an ReT teacher of Sangarh, claimed that during summer days, even animals don’t get water as natural sources also run dry. According to Bittu Ram, supply through water tankers is made to the area once after months together and during occasions like marriage function, they are forced to purchase water after paying Rs one hundred for a drum.
Inadequate road connectivity in interiors is another major problem the people of this constituency have been facing. Even the road link to Shiv Khori shrine at Ransoo, which is daily visited by hundreds of pilgrims from different parts of the country, is in extremely bad condition from Kanda to Shiv Khori.
There is no connectivity between Gabbar and Surjandhar, which are hardly 7-8 kilometers away. Khori road was started more than five years back but the work was stopped only after completion of one kilometer. There is virtually no road to village Kanjli near Dera Baba Banda Bahadur. Pawan Singh, Sarpanch of Panchayat Halqa Devigarh in Bhamagh area said that Tote to Sukalghati road via Devigarh was not completed even as work on the same was started several years ago.
State of Government hospitals and Health Centres in Reasi constituency can be gauged from the fact that 12, out of 14 positions of Specialists and ETN at District Hospital Reasi are lying vacant. A number of Health Centres are without doctors. In Bhamagh area, there are only two Health Centres , situated at Sakalghati and Devigarh, which are being run by FMPHWs, who also attend the duty occasionally, said Sarpanch Pawan Singh.
The demand of setting up Child and Maternity hospital in the old building complex of DH Reasi was also not fulfilled despite assurance for the same. The district hospital was shifted from old building to the present location at Agar Ballian Reasi and that time then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had made an announcement for setting up Child and Maternity Hospital at the old hospital complex but there was no progress in this regard.
No adequate strength of teachers in Government schools is a common problem being faced everywhere in the constituency, particularly in rural and remote area. Ransoo High School has the strength of more than 200 students and there is no subject Master but only six teacher. Locals at Panthal lamented that their long pending genuine demand for upgradation of Government Girls Middle School was not fulfilled. Pt Moti Ram, Pujari of Shiv Mandir Letar, also complained of absence of teachers, particularly female teachers at Govt High School Letar, which has a strength of more than 350 students and needs to be upgraded.
Contrary to tall claims of Government on hundred percent electrification, a number of houses in remote areas of Bhamag, are without electricity as connections have not been extended to them. According to Vijay Singh of Sangarh, Morha Mansoti, Ragroti, Siote, Gulzar, Kala Bagga, Morha Sunaria, Khuia and other hamlets have not been fully electrified.
According to Madan Verma of Pouni, around 6000 to 7000 pilgrims daily visit Shiv Khori from this route but there was no Public Toilet in the town. Ban Toll plaza is one of the burning issues that remained unsolved for the locals of Reasi, who are forced to pay Rs 180 for one side toll for using only 19 kms of road. Even as Ajay Nanada repeatedly took up the matter with the higher authorities, the issue remained unsolved. Erstwhile Baridaars of Mata Vaishno Devi lamented that their issues were also not addressed despite assurance for the same by Ajay Nanda and his party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Interestingly, despite all these grievances, the Excelsior team observed that there was no apparent resentment against Ajay Nanda and people seemed satisfied with his performance as MLA. “He is a thorough gentleman who remains in touch with the people and as far as developmental works are concerned, it is a routine matter,” opined Chaman Lal and Ashok Sharma, shopkeepers at Bhamla, Contractor Arun Kumar of Reasi, Madan Verma of Pouni and several others.
Listing his achievements and initiatives as MLA, Ajay Nanda said that Domel-Katra-Bhamla Road, which was given highway status as NH-144, has been upgraded and improved in different stages. Domel -Katra-Reasi sections are already completed while work is smoothly going on next section Reasi-Pouni-Bhamla. Also, he added, funds have already been sanctioned and tender has been placed to improve Shivkhori road between Kanda to Ransoo. Several important roads under PWD and PMGSY, including Katra-Tikri, Katra- Nangal, Panthal Chajjar road via Narayana Hospital, Bassan Morh to Mootal up to Jangalgali, Bakkal -Seyandhar road, Reasi-Gran Morh-Tote road, Tote-Kothi road etc spread over in Reasi, Katra, Pouni, Bhomag and Moungri tehsils of this hilly constituency, have been undertaken on priority bases, constructed, completed and black topped while works on some of them is going on smoothly, he added.
For improvement in drinking water infrastructure, Ajay Nanda said that he has taken several measures in this regard, especially in the most denied and ignored areas in Pouni, Sangar, Muttal etc, which included WSS Reasi town (Ist phase), WSS Talwara, WSS Karua, WSS Sirla, WSS Kundrah, WSS Jajjar to Katra town, WSS Laiter, WSS Panthal, WSS Kotli Manotrian, augmentation of WSS Kheralair-Dab, WSS Beullian, WSS Tanda, WSS Seon Brahmina, WSS Dhanu, revamping of filtration plant Katra, upgradation of WSSs of PHE Sub-Division Katra (Mechanical) and providing water supply to Katra Rural. More than 100 hand pumps were installed and CDF was also provided for installing 40 additional hand pumps while funds were provided for stand by machinery for Lift Scheme at village Sangar, he said adding that about Rs 2 crores CDF was provided for improvement of water supply system.
Besides, three new degree colleges were got sanctioned for Katra, Pouni and Mongri while two new higher secondary school at Laiter and Aghar Jittoo were opened. Two new high school at Jassarkote and Kouri of Bhamagh were got sanctioned.
For further improvement of the electricity infrastructure, he said transformer repair workshop was established at Reasi and more than 30 transformers were augmented. There is 24 hour electricity at Katra where a Modern grid has been sanctioned. New Receiving Stations were sanctioned at village Seyndhar, Dadoa, Moongri, Kania, Dera Baba Banda, Ransoo and Pouni. Grid station Reasi, which is at the verge of completion, is one of the major achievements for entire district while entire constituency is going to be 100 percent electrified very shortly as the work is going on in full swing and more than 90 percent of the same has been completed.
Other major developmental works, initiated by Ajay Nanda as MLA, include construction of multi-purpose auditorium and indoor stadium at Reasi, construction of shelter homes, Pavilion at Reasi playground, , construction of two community bath for public at Reasi, development of park at Kalka Mandir Katra, construction of road upto Kalka Mandir Reasi, construction of cattle pond at Reasi, Sulabh type toilet complex, lanes and drains of main bazaar Reasi, funds provided for purchasing digital X-ray machine and developing Physiotherapy unit of District Hospital Reasi, CDF provided for Bowlies, footbridge etc in remote villages, got sanctioned a cluster handloom village at Panjar, development of morning assembly ground of Government Boys HSS and Govt Girls HSS Reasi, raising of infrastructure at Samthal Devta Mela site in Galkote of Bhamag, infrastructure development for base camp ground at Gouri Mitti of Saroli Dhar Mela of Bhamagh, development of play field/steps, shed at Mela Ground Mongri of Bhamagh, development of infrastructure, including Ghat/Park at Kashi at Kashi Patta Reasi, new CFC buildings at Panthal, Sujandhar, Buttan, Kheral, Saduni and renovation of Bhimgarh Fort, etc.