HABBA KADAL: Habba Kadal, a small constituency in downtown area of Srinagar is partially developed, but the former MLA blamed discrimination of the previous Government in releasing funds for not carrying out developmental works.
Habba Kadal is a place situated on the banks of river Jhelum in old city. The Assembly constituency of Habba Kadal belongs to Srinagar Parliamentary constituency. Shameema Firdous of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) won the 2014 elections consecutively second time by defeating Moti Koul of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Shameema polled 4955 votes as against Koul’s 2596 votes.
The constituency has more than 15,000 Pandit votes and the seat has been a stronghold of Kashmiri Pandits and most of the candidates relied on the migrant votes. However, the constituency was retained by Shameema Firdous of JKNC second time.
As per locals, Shameema Firdous has been very active in developing the constituency during NC-Congress coalition Government of 2008-2014 but various works remained pending during her previous tenure.
The locals said that the proposed road widening project of the constituency from Habba Kadal to Fateh Kadal could not take place due to which people have to face immense hardships in commuting.
The residents of Karfali Mohalla of Habba Kadal said that the decades old dispensary in the area is in shambles and it was not upgraded till date. “We have a dispensary in the area and it is in complete shambles. There are no doctors available in the dispensary and people have to suffer during emergency cases. The dispensary lacked facilities and was never upgraded till date. We apprised the former MLA several times but she failed to help us,” Abdul Rahim, a resident said.
The residents also complained that Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) used to collect dustbins in the area but it was stopped and this led the residents to dump the garbage on the roadsides.”We asked the former MLA several times to help us but she didn’t”, they said.
The residents of Habba Kadal said that the Kaetkoul Nallah that flows through various areas of the constituency has been polluted as all the sewage goes into it and no efforts are taken to stop polluting this Nallah. “All the filth or sewage of various areas of the constituency goes directly into the Kaetkoul Nallah and at the end, it goes into Jhelum River. Thus, it indirectly pollutes the river. In summers, foul smell emanates from it; annoying residents and making them suffer badly. Nothing has been done to stop polluting this nallah and this issue was never addressed by the former MLA,” Abdul Lateef, a resident of Karfalli Mohalla said.
While hailing the efforts of beautifying the boundaries of the Kaetkoul Nallah, Lateef, however, lamented that no efforts were made to stop its pollution.
The residents of various areas of the constituency including Fateh Kadal, Zaindar Mohalla, Shalla Kadal, Kani Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Karfali Mohalla and Mandir Bagh also complained that the areas lack street lights as the new lights were not installed and the old ones are defunct. “Various areas of the constituency are without street lights and people have to face immense hardships in commuting during the dark hours. Some street lights were installed but after they became defunct and were not repaired. He said that some pockets where the former MLA had her voters were provided the lights and other areas were left out,” Bashir Ahmad, a resident said.
The residents also said that most of the street lights over the Habba Kadal bridge are non-functional and a few which are in order remain shut creating problems for locals, pedestrians as well as shopkeepers.
“More than a dozen street lights were installed when the bridge was thrown open but since then the concerned authorities have not bothered to keep them functional thus making the darkness prevail. The street lights are lying defunct for the last 16 years and it makes difficult”, residents of Habba Kadal said.
One of the main issues faced by the residents of Habba Kadal is the need for Community halls and residents claimed that the community halls are not in adequate number in the constituency. “Habba Kadal is one of the congested places of Srinagar and there is no open space available where the residents can arrange functions. Although, various community halls were constructed in the constituency but they are not in adequate number and there is need of more community halls in the constituency. We had approached the former MLA but she only made a promise,” Abdul Rashid, a resident said.
Abdul Rehman, a resident of Gurubazar complained that the roads were not macadamized for several years now and various roads including the Gurubazar road are in dilapidated condition and full of potholes.
The residents of Habba Kadal also complained that most of the Government schools in the constituency are functional in the rented buildings and students have to suffer due to non availability of facilities in the schools.
Bilal Ahmad, a resident of Baba Pora said that Government Boys Middle School Babapora is in shambles due to non-availability of facilities and students have to face immense hardships in the school. “The school is functional in a rented building comprising four rooms and a kitchen and the building is in shambles. The school has no washroom facility and there is dearth of teachers in the school. Besides, there is no playground for the students of the school and they are confined in the four walls of the school building,” he said. “We raised the issue with the former MLA but to no avail”, he said.
The residents of Habba Kadal complained that they were not given compensation for the losses after 2014 floods and were ignored by the administration. “During 2014 floods, Habba Kadal was also submerged and most of the residents were suffered badly. Various affected persons were compensated and received relief amount, however, the poor residents did not receive a penny. The influential persons even received huge amounts as relief money but some residents were totally ignored. The former MLA failed to pursue our cases,” Tariq Ahmad, a resident of Karfali Mohalla said.
The former MLA Habba Kadal, Shameema Firdous, while admitting less development of the Constituency in last four years, blamed the discrimination done by the PDP-BJP led Government in releasing funds during their tenure to the legislatures belonging to other political parties.
Shameema alleged that various developmental projects that were initiated by them were sabotaged by the PDP-BJP led Government and people were made suffer.
She said all the development that has been taken place in the constituency during last four years was due to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) used by her and alleged that hardly any funds were released by the Government for various projects. “We used our CDF for the development works in the constituency and hardly any funds were released for further development of the constituency,” she said.
The former MLA alleged that the road widening project of the Constituency was sabotaged by the Government and even the amount under CDF was kept in the bank and never utilized. “Government sabotaged the road widening projects of Habba Kadal and the amount which we provided for the projects was never utilized. I gave some amount from the CDF but it was kept in the bank and was never utilized. There were various structures that were identified as hindrance in road widening and were compulsory to be demolished but that was also not done. Government used to delay the projects by making lame excuses,” she alleged
While admitting the lack of Community halls in the constituency, Firdous said that construction of three community halls was completed in this tenure and construction of other three in Gadoodbagh, Karfali Mohalla and Nowpora is going on.
She said the funds for the macadamization of the roads were also not released and various roads were not macadamized due to which people faced problems.
She lamented that despite proposals for the two reservoirs at Ganpatyar and Zaindar Mohalla, the projects were not started even after providing funds from the CDF. “We proposed two reservoirs for the water at two places but the projects were never initiated. We provided funds for the project and that amount is still with the Collector and was never utilized,” she said.
She said street lights were installed in many areas including Babademb, Konkhan, Mandir Bagh, Karfali Mohalla and Nawabazar. “However, in other areas the installation was under process”, she added.
While admitting pollution in the Kaetkoul, the former MLA said that she had approached the concerned authorities for it but nothing was being done for its restoration and to make it pollution free.
She said three temples were constructed at Narparistan, Dalhassanyar and Habba Kadal for the Hindu community in the constituency under CDF.
Shameema alleged that there were various plans on the cards for the development of the Habba Kadal constituency but previous Government was not serious in developing the areas of opposition legislators as a result various development works were either stopped or not initiated at all.