Govt failed to complete key projects, college

Wachi constituency lacks basic amenities

Suhail Bhat
WACHI (Shopian): The Wachi Constituency in South Kashmir is facing multiple problems including poor road conditions, inadequate health services, lack of educational facilities, less support for the agriculture sector and lack of connectivity.
Spreading over 150 villages, the Wachi constituency in South Kashmir has nearly 80,000 voters. The constituency was last represented by senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, who had defeated National Conference candidate Showkat Hussain Ganai by a margin of 1805 votes in 2104 Assembly elections. Aijaz polled 15610 votes and Showkat 13805.
With majority of people dependent on the apple trade, the constituency presents a picture of complete neglect with its residents accusing the Government of not doing anything to improve trading facilities and improving the standards of living.
Residents of different areas said that Government failed to complete many key projects including the establishment of Degree College, renovation of Shopian-Bijbehara road and Construction of Trenz Bridge. “Incomplete projects is the reason behind the underdevelopment of the constituency”, people said.
Under the High Density Plantation Scheme Government distributes nearly 85,000 high yielding Apple varieties amongst the growers. However, the growers complained that lack of awareness and guidance on the use of pesticides affects the business of the constituency. “The officials never visit the orchards nor do they carry any inspection of the shopkeepers selling fertilizers. They sell whatever they want. There is no regulation in the trade,” locals said.
On the eastern side of the constituency, Asia’s Largest Apple Plantation Farm and Advanced Centre for Horticulture Development in Zainpora area has been marred by the lack of manpower, resources and encroachments. The apple growers alleged that unwillingness by the department has ruined the farm and turned it barren. “800 kanals of land are lying barren now and for that authorities are responsible. Besides, locals use a huge portion of the land to graze their cattle and Government is unmoved,” Ghulam Mohammad a local said.
The locals lamented that several roads that connect the constituency to the rest of the Valley are in bad shape leading to problems of commuting for the residents. One such road is a 25 kilometres Shopian- Bijbehara road that connects the constituency to the nearby Anantnag District. The road would have connected the constituency to the Mughal Road and Railway station Bijbehara. With an estimated cost of Rs 48.93, the Union Ministry of Road and Highways sanctioned the project in 2016-17 but an inordinate delay in its completion has dashed the hopes of residents.
A bridge on the rivulet at Trenz- Bakhinder village on Imam Sahab- Arihal road remains incomplete. The bridge is being funded by the World Bank but inability of the authorities to complete the bridges has disappointed the residents.
Residents of Vaterpora and Trenz said that in absence of the bridge and due to the dilapidated condition of the alternative road cab drivers are discouraged to ferry passengers. “Several vehicles have broken on this dangerous road and that has marred the transport service to this area,” Mohamed Shaban, a local said. Chitragam- Drawani, Shopian- Aglar, Bijbehara- Zanpora road and several other interior roads are also in a deplorable condition
Despite having several water supply schemes and filtration plants the whole constituency is facing a dearth of clean potable water. People complained of receiving water for one or two hours daily. “Our water supply is inadequate and do not meet our demand,” Nazir Ahmad, a local said. The areas like Safapora, Reben, Awnoora, Shirmal are worst affected.
Residents of several areas complained that they are supplied with contaminated water as the existing filtration plants lack proper cleaning mechanisms. “A major reservoir located at Padpawan village is filled with dirt and muck. The water distribution pipes get blocked several times due to mud that is carried from the reservoir,” Mohammad Shafi, a local said, adding a majority of the water reservoirs haven’t been cleaning for years.
People of several areas complained about the lack of healthcare facilities in the constituency as majority of the health centres lack quality infrastructure and healthcare facilities are also dismal.
Inhabitants of Manlo and adjoining villages lamented the lack of healthcare facilities in the area. The locals said despite being sanctioned a model village, the healthcare facilities remained insufficient. “Lack of proper healthcare facilities are taking toll on us and many ailments turn chronic in absence of a public transport to ferry patients,” Mohammad Ramzan, a local said adding the residents have to rely on Shopian Sub-district Hospital for minor ailments.
People of several areas complained about the lack of healthcare facilities at District Hospital Shopian, which is the nodal centre for treatment. They said the hospital was upgraded into District hospital eight years ago but apart from the nomenclature of the health centre, nothing has changed.
The former PDP MLA Aijaz Ahmad Mir told Excelsior that during his tenure, nine major projects were initiated in the constituency including multicrore Shopian- Bijbehara road and Safapora-Hyderbaigh road.
While admitting the deficiency in the healthcare, Mir said that the health sector is facing a dearth of staff and their constituency was no exception. He said that Ambulances have been given to all the PHCs during his tenure. He said: “X-rays have been installed at the Harmain and DK pora out of CDF.” Besides, new PHCs have been sanctioned to new areas like Turkwagun, Losdanar and Wachi.
He said Horticulture Development Officers have been put at four places including Harmain, Imamsahab and Kapran for technical assistance. He, however, admitted that the Apple Plantation Farm and Advanced Centre is facing a dearth of manpower.
About the dearth of clean drinking water, he said that in order to meet the challenges of providing drinking water to the people upgradation of Dubjan water supply scheme is underway.


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