Ex-MLAs’ Report Card – Constituency: Anantnag – Mehbooba Mufti (PDP)
ANANTNAG: In the last Assembly election, the residents of Anantnag constituency reposed their faith on PDP patron, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed by voting overwhelmingly in his favour. After winning the elections, he initiated several projects to put the area on the map of development. However, residents said, the development process lost pace after his demise.
In 2014 Assembly elections Mufti Mohammad Sayeed retained the seat by winning the elections and became the Chief Minister. Following his death on 7th January 2016, the seat fell vacant and by-election was held which was won by Mehbooba Mufti, who became first woman Chief Minister of the State. She won the Assembly seat by a majority of 12,085 votes.
The people of the constituency hailed the former MLA for starting major developmental projects like campus of the Kashmir University, development of Rani Park and Wazirbagh Park, choosing the area for the establishment of the Medical College, among other major projects.
Although some areas have witnessed development, there are areas where the quality of amenities need upgradation. The main roads leading to the constituency have been macadamized but many interior localities lacked proper connectivity. The residents are not happy with the condition of the springs in the area and the healthcare facilities on fringes also need improvement.
The residents said that constituency did not receive the attention it deserved. “Being the constituency of the Chief Minister, it should have received more attention. The pace of development which we saw during the tenure of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed decreased,” Khalid, a local said.
The locals complained about the “pathetic condition” of the Mother and Child Hospital in the area. They said an unsafe building is posing threat to hundreds of patients. “The health centre has a weak base and can crumble any time. The restoration work that was carried some time back did not serve any purpose and the threats persist,” a local said.
The residents have been demanding the shifting of the hospital to a safer building, but an alleged nexus between some shopkeepers and officials have scuttled the initiate. “A local trust, Rehmat-e -Alam has donated its building for the purpose but authorities are reluctant to shift the hospital,” the locals said.
A few kilometres away from the district headquarters, the residents of Krember belt, which has a population of about 15,000, complained about lack of potable water. The residents of villages including Krember, Rampora and Kehribal said they are being supplied drinking water from Shahkul canal through Public Health Engineering pipelines. However, the water is supplied unfiltered.
“We use the water of this stream for six months and after that water level decreases, it leads to water shortage,” a local said, adding that a project was sanctioned to deal with the crisis, but it is nowhere in sight.
The main road which connects the village with the town through Mattan is macadamized but it has huge potholes which need repairing. Besides, the residents said, the inner roads, lanes and by-lanes are dilapidated and have dangerous potholes which need patchwork.
Having a primary health centre to take care of their health, the residents complained about the staff deficiency at the Centre, and the doctors who are posted there. “Doctors do not attend to their duties regularly at the PHC. We hardly see them when we go to visit them for checkups,” they said.
Dozens of villages which fall within a five kilometres radius of Anantnag Town including Danter, Dialgam, Kabamarg, Kamad, Shichen, Batpora, Khanabal, Anchidora, Aang, Matipora, Behramshah, Kadipora and Sarnal are battling with dilapidated condition of lanes and bylanes in the interiors of these villages. “We have been demanding better roads and drainage for years now. Nothing has happened until now,” said Danish Ahmad, a resident of Kadipora.
The residents said that the basic facilities in the town such as concrete lanes, sanitation, marriage halls, streets lights and slaughter houses are missing. Traffic jams are a regular feature of their life; parking space for vehicles is not available and roads are narrow which need widening.
Anantnag claims to have the source of the largest number of streams which include Sandran, Brengi, Arpath and Lidder. Yet the inhabitants across the constituency said they are facing water shortage. “We often face water shortage. The situation is so worse that we embarrassingly request our guests not to take baths at our homes to save water for us,” said Bilal Ahmad, a young man from Kadipora said.
Littering of local streams and ineffective disposal of the commercial and domestic waste is causing a nuisance to the residents. The unattended garbage can be seen lying on the streams banks and busy squares.
People said that the construction work of a parking space and a shopping complex has been going on for several years and that has added to the problems of the people in the area. “The parking space and shopping complex would have decongested the Town to some extent but the facilities remain incomplete even after several years,” a local trader said.
The residents of Payeboog were annoyed with the former Chief Minister as the promise of a public park was not fulfilled. “We appealed the CM to convert a patch of State land, which is under the possession of the farmers, into a public park. She assured help, but did nothing,” Fayaz Ahmad, a local said. He added: “We want to donate it so that youth of the area spend their time there and stay away from social evils.”
Residents of another village Kramsoo, which has around 5000 active voters, said the high school in the area has not been upgraded. “The school has not been upgraded despite repeated pleas,” a local said. “Dispensary is functioning from a rented accommodation. The building is in ruins. Nursing orderly treats patients there as it has not doctors,” they said.
Kashmir University’s South Campus at Anantnag has not made any progress from the day it was commenced. The residents said they had hoped that the campus would be raised into a mini-university as was promised. “The campus is still in that condition what it was at the time of its launching,” said a student.
Young students in high and higher schools said the enrollment is huge and the schools are overcrowded since students prefer to study in towns than in villages.
The PDP leader Humayun Javed, who spoke on behalf of former Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti told Excelsior most of the CDF has been spent on upgradation of the education and health facilities, besides small repairing.
On the improvement of road connectivity, Humayun said, nearly 95 percent of the roads have been macadamized in the constituency. Besides, the roads of the rural belt including Mirgung,Lachi, Wanihama, Paethbugh, Shetpora, Gund Fatehpora, Lalbanoor, Kamad and Munward were also macadamised.
For the decongestion of Anantnag, he said that a 2-kilometres bypass was constructed from Mehdikadal to Achajipora.
On the issue of Mother and Child Hospital, he said there is a plan to shift the hospital to the building of local trust. “The building has already been taken over by the Government. Six beds have been dedicated to the dialysis patients. Earlier, we did not have dialysis facilities in the hospital,” he said.
Out of the five Medical Colleges that the State received one would be established in the constituency, he said. He added that infrastructure was also created for many schools.
He said that the work on the parking and shopping mall is going on. “The construction work is going on in full swing and the facilities will be soon provided to the people,” he said.
Apart from this development works, he said that a passport office has been opened in the Town. “It was a long pending demand of the people as they had to visit Srinagar for passport services,” he added.
Today, we conclude our most popular column ‘Ex-MLAs’ Report Card’, which drew unprecedented response from our valuable readers and the people cutting across different segments of society. The series, which was second of its kind, the first being in 2014 on the eve of then Assembly elections, lasted 83 days. Excelsior received large number of emails, letters and response from other modes of communication including social media appreciating the column to review performance of the public representatives before they go to the people again whenever the Assembly elections are held in the State. However, due to blockade of many interior roads in Ladakh region during winter, we couldn’t publish the report card of four MLAs from the mountain locked region. We assure our readers that the ‘Report Card of Ladakh MLAs’ will be published when the roads are cleared and our team is able to trek to every nook and corner of the region. -Editor