KULGAM: Compared to the other constituencies of the South Kashmir, Kulgam is better developed in terms of road connectivity, healthcare and educational infrastructure. However, ineffective disposal of waste and lack of clean potable water in some areas is worrying the residents.
The constituency was represented by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM) general secretary, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami. He was first time elected from this constituency in 1996 and represents the constituency since then. In last Assembly election, he defeated PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Laway by 334 votes. Trigrami polled 20257 votes while as Laway got 20240 votes.
The former MLA has won last four elections from the constituency which has benefitted the residents to a great extent. Timely completion of projects like Mini Secretariat and the road links has put it ahead of the nearby constituencies. Despite all the developmental works, daily woes continue to galore some of the areas.
The constituency lacks a proper waste disposal mechanism and piles of trash threaten the pristine environs of the area. The Kulgam town, which is the commercial hub, is the worst affected by the menace as unattended garbage can be seen scattered. Besides, the traffic problems remained unsolved and lack of parking spaces continue to haunt the busy commercial places.
The lack of waste disposal on scientific lines in Kulgam town posed a serious health threat to the people. “The entire town is strewn with piles of unattended garbage making the whole area look untidy, “Bashir Ahmad, a local said, that in absence of a proper dumping site roadsides and banks of a local stream are littered posing threat of diseases and it has also lead to dog menace.
Nallah Veshav, which drains most of the northern part of Pir Panjal is the main tributary of river Jhelum and traverses through district Kulgam. The garbage and waste disposal into it has left it polluted.
People complained that the shortage of space in the District Hospital is taking a toll on patient care. “The small rooms for OPDs are crowded and resultant congestion is a threat to infection “, a resident said.
The new hospital building that was planned to meet the space crunch is incomplete. However, the construction work is nearing completion.
The residents said the fruit market and the hospital share the same approach and traffic mess causes inconvenience to the patients in reaching the hospital. “The road through Naikbagh would have solved the problem but last 200 meters of the road are incomplete as some residential houses came in the way,” Imtiyaz Ahmad, a local said.
The inhabitants of some areas accused the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department of providing them with contaminated water. They said innumerable sewerage outlets and drains of upper areas open in the water supply channels, which is then supplied to them through taps without filtration. They added that the issue has been raised with the former MLA several times.
Inhabitants of Laroo, Ashmuji, Panepora and a few other areas said that untreated water has put them vulnerable to the waterborne diseases. They said several people including women and children are suffering from diseases like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, typhoid etc.
Despite crores of rupees being spent on the construction of water supply schemes to ensure the supply of quality water, people are supplied water without any filtration and chlorination. The pipes have been dipped into the Veshav stream at several places and supply it directly to inhabitants in the area without any filtration. Water pipes are also damaged at many places which suck dirty water of canals and drains at several places.
Similarly, inhabitants of this constituency said that they are satisfied with the timely construction of many projects with the personal efforts of former MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, but maintained that little attention was given to some other important projects like drinking water supply and waste disposal.
Like other parts of the Valley, the residents of the constituency are also facing irregular power supply. “Apart from the erratic power supply people are facing problems due to low voltage,” Abdul Rashid, a local said.
The unscheduled power cuts are adding to our miseries and there is no improvement in power supply for last many years. The locals said situation has gone from bad to worse now as power cuts are more frequent and extended during the evening hours.
Former Member of Legislative Assembly Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami listed a number of developmental projects that were taken for the upliftment of the constituency. Establishment of District Hospital, Mini-Secretrait, Mother and Child Hospital, industrial complex, sports stadiums, and several road and bridges were some of the major achievements.
In the power sector, Tarigami said, besides establishing new receiving stations augmentation was also done. Several projects that were taken up for the improvement of the power sector include the establishment of receiving station at Rambhama and Behi-Bagh. Receiving Stations at Nillow, Kulgam grid and receiving station were augmented.
In addition, the former MLA said, 25 High Mast lights were installed at prominent places and 250 street lights installed in the wards of Kulgam town and religious places. “95 Transformers of different capacities were installed, replaced and upgraded,” he said.
He said that they have done work in all sectors such as PMGSY, R&B, and Agriculture. Major works including construction of Ashmuji- Kilam Gund Bridge, Reconstruction of damaged Chambgund Bridge, construction of 22.7 Kilometres of Fare Weather roads and macadamization of 220.81 kilometers of road length were done to improve the connectivity of the area.
Besides several other roads that were constructed include Construction and Upgradation of Labdipora Laroo Byepass road, Upgradation of Nillow Begam road, Nillow Awahatoo road and Construction and Upgradation of Kulgam Chatabal Panipora Kutbal Ban Kandipora road.
“Several schools were upgraded and infrastructure was also created to improve education facilities. Middle Schools like Checkpora, Kanjikullah, Nillow, Okey, Banimullah, Gopalpora, Sonigam, Hangalbush-Batpora were up-graded to High School level and High Schools at Danew- Bogund and Mirhama were up-graded to HSS Level. A KGBV was established at Tangmarg for SC/ST / OBC girl students,” he said.
The former MLA said a Degree College and a Polytechnic College were also established at District Headquarters. At least 84 Primary School buildings, 24 Middle school buildings and 14 High School buildings were constructed. “160 Toilet Blocks for boys and 163 separate Toilet Blocks for girls were also constructed,” he said.
He said the health sector was also improved with the creation of new infrastructure and facilities . Nealy 8 Sub-centers were opened at Hariwath, Ladgoo, Danew, Bogund, Kharwatt, Adijan, Munand and Daderkoot and 5 PHCs and NT-PHCs were established at Banimullah, Sunigam, Pariwan, Checkpor and Tantraypora. Also, an MCH unit, General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) was established at District Hospital Kulgam.
“IPD Block for District Hospital was also constructed. Five Ambulances were provided to Government Hospitals under CDS,” he said.
To meet the problem of untreated potable water several filtration plants were established at different places including Kulgam Town, Imrech Daderkoot, Tengam Tangbal, Sheikhpora Paderpora, Tarigam Jalalabad and Bhan Mutalhama which benefitted nearly 47056 souls.
In addition, Tarigami said, a number of water supply schemes were constructed in various places including Mirhama- Modergam, Tengam Tengbal, Imrech Daderkoot, Arreh Awhatoo, Balsoo, Kachohalan Bumrath, Upper Katpora, Checkpora Bhan and Shiganpora, that covered 117 villages and benefit 133153 people. “Several projects were also approved under JKIDFC at Chandergee, Sonigam, Soper Danew, Shalipora Tarigam, Sursuna Tantraypora, Banimullah Gujjar, Basti,” he said.
Regarding the inefficient disposal of garbage, he said: “I have raised the issue with the Government several times but environment was never their priority.”