Langate: In 2008 Assembly election, people of Langate constituency voted Sheikh Rashid, a local leader, and Independent candidate to power after being represented by outsiders for years.
The constituency shares its border with three constituencies- Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore- and is predominately hilly. In 2014 Assembly elections, the Independent candidate, Sheikh Rashid, won the second election in a row by defeating PDP’s Ghulam Nabi Ganai by a majority of 2505 votes. Rashid got 18172 votes while Ganai got 15667.
Although some developmental projects have been initiated by the former MLA, underdevelopment persists. The locals hailed the efforts of the MLA in the education sector but complained about poor drinking facilities and bad roads.
At Batagund village, the residents complained about lack of development despite their village being nominated as the model village in 2007. The residents said apart from the nomenclature nothing changed in their village as they continue to yearn for basic facilities.
They said all the roads, lanes and by-lanes, are strewn with huge potholes. “Our roads have not been repaired for the past several years. They are in shambles. We have repeatedly appealed for their restoration but authorities failed to act,” Ashiq Ahmad, a resident said. He added that the health facilities are also dismal as the health centre in their area has a dearth of doctors.
The Sub District Hospital is understaffed and all the important doctors including Gynaecologist, Paediatrician and Orthopaedics required to run a hospital are missing. The hospital also lacks key diagnostic equipment like an X-ray machine.
A few kilometers away, residents of Shartgund expressed strong resentment against the former MLA for failing to speed up the construction work of a bridge in their area. The residents said that the construction work on the bridge is going on for the last 10 years.
The residents of several villages that are settled near Mawar Canal complained about lack of pure drinking water. They said despite having Mawar canal nearby they are facing drinking water shortage as the area lacked proper functional water supply schemes. They said where the taped water is provided it is unfiltered, unhygienic as the schemes do not have a filtration plants.
Farmers in the area said the rampant illegal extraction of sand and boulders from the canal has wreaked havoc on agriculture. “The water that fed our paddy and vegetable fields has dried due to the increase in its depth”, they said, adding, it has also created an erosion of banks and now farmland gets washed away in floods.
Other farmers said the agriculture produce has fallen due to lack of irrigation facilities in the area.
Around half a dozen villages including Adoora, Check Audroo, Warpora, Trumroo, Batgund and Trumsoo are settled near the banks of the Canal and are therefore vulnerable to inundation. The residents complained that they have been demanding the construction of the protection bunds in order to avert the threat of floods in their area. “Some protection bunds were constructed but the places with the highest vulnerability were left out,” a local said.
The women folk of the constituency alleged discrepancies in the welfare schemes that are meant for their upliftment. “I applied for a gas connection under Centre’s Ujjawala Yojna some time back. After depositing the papers I immediately received a serial number. But, when I approached a distribution centre for cooking gas I found that someone else has taken the gas on the allotted serial number,” Raja Begum, a widow, 65, from Chekiadora, said.
The main road from Chatipora to Nowgam that is connecting more than 30 villages is in complete shambles except for the first five kilometers. The road is being constructed by BEACON and is in complete shambles due to widening process. The work is ongoing for the last several years and the villagers said they have been suffering immense troubles.
Another 10 kilometers stretch of the road from Langate to Haril is dotted with deep ditches and potholes making commuting an ordeal.
Villages like Kargama, Hanga, Batagund, Chentpora, Qalamabad, Shazipora, Yahama, Tulwari, Batpora, Yaroo, Ganapora, Kralgund, Renen, Kutlari, Harvat, Wahipora, Udipora, Walrama, Shahngari, Shanoo, Sohipora, Teerwah, Tulwari and Rawalpora have all dilapidated lanes and by-lanes.
While the Municipal Committee Langate collects garbage within the Municipal area, the villages in the rest of the constituency are strewn with trash. The residents also complained that the dumping of cow dung along the roadsides paints a grim picture of cleanliness in the area. The lack of cleanliness has also quadrupled the number of stray dogs in the area leading to a surge in the canine attacks. “The worst suffers are the school children who are unable to venture out alone. Despite raising the issue with the official concerned it remains unaddressed,” Bashir Ahmad, a local said.
The education sector of the area has seen some improvement over the years. However, the politicking of the sector is taking a toll on the education of the children.
The residents of Mawar zone complained that the majority of the teachers indulge in politics and spend their time in the zonal office, leaving the students at God’s mercy.
“The teachers here are busy in making forums and indulge in petty politics. In the process, they leave their actual job of providing education to our kids. Once a teacher gets membership in the forum he spends most of his time in the Zonal office resulting in a shortage of staff in the school where the teacher is posted,” a local said.
The former MLA, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, was contacted by this reporter on phone but he failed to respond.