Many areas in Inderwal remain neglected

People say Saroori acted as MLA of selected parts of constituency
Ex-MLAs’ Report Card, Constituency: Inderwal
G M Saroori (Cong)

Mohinder Verma
INDERWAL: The vast population of Inderwal constituency spread over inhospitable terrain in Kishtwar district has yet not tasted the fruits of development as even after being given mandate for three consecutive terms Ghulam Mohammad Saroori of Congress party has failed to do justice with them. In many areas the ground situation is pitiable and clearly gives credence to the general perception that several parts of the constituency were victimized rather than supported by the former MLA.
There are a number of projects particularly of road sector which were started more than a decade back but could not be completed as either former MLA failed to exert required pressure on the concerned authorities or evinced no interest in ensuring that these projects become reality and start providing relief to the people.
Because of this, people of many areas of the constituency have come to the conclusion that Ghulam Mohammad Saroori acted as MLA of only those areas from where he bagged maximum votes since 2002 when he became MLA for the first time. They said that instead of winning their hearts by redressing development related grievances the former MLA always tried to widen the gap with them by paying no serious attention towards their repeated pleas.
All this came to the fore during the recent random survey conducted by EXCELSIOR team by paying visit to the areas, which form part of the Inderwal Assembly constituency. In several areas developmental activities were too noticed thereby establishing that preferred areas of former MLA definitely tasted the fruits of development.
“Work on Dunadi to Bonjwah road was started over 10 years back but till date it has not been completed despite expenditure of crores of rupees”, people of Patnazi in Drabshalla block said, adding “during rainy season this incomplete road turns into death trap for the people and even covering distance by foot becomes a daunting task”.
Holding former MLA responsible for hanging fate of this much-needed road, Farooq Ahmed of Patnazi said, “during past one decade the issue of early completion of work on this road was raised before Ghulam Mohammad Saroori a number of times but all in vain”. He asked, “don’t you think that inability to get this work completed is a reflection on his performance as MLA”.
Accusing former MLA of remaining non-serious towards the dismal healthcare scenario in the constituency, people complained about shortage of doctors in almost all the health institutions. “In many health centres, Nursing Orderlies are the Physicians, Surgeons and Orthopaedicians for the people but despite being aware of the ground situation former MLA failed to convince the Government for posting of adequate number of doctors”, rued people of Kukerwas, Gham and Patnazi.
Strong resentment was noticed among the people of Bonjwah as their demand for Degree College has remained unfulfilled. “We are pressing for Degree College during the past many years but it seems nobody is ready to listen us”, they said, adding “in the absence of Degree College the students of Bonjwah and adjoining areas are either compelled to either huge distance to reach Kishtwar for obtaining higher education or forced to leave studies after 12th class”.
“No doubt at present former MLA can given an excuse that PDP-BJP Coalition Government didn’t consider this demand seriously but why this demand was not fulfilled when there was Congress-National Conference Government in the State remains a million dollar question”, people said, adding “even during Governor’s Rule this demand has remained ignored”.
Though solar lights have much importance for remote areas of the constituency especially when power supply to entire Kishtwar district gets snapped yet distribution of the same on political consideration was noticed in several areas. “Such lights were distributed even in the electrified villages on the pressure of former MLA”, said people of Kuntwara, which even lacks road connectivity.
Almost similar was the complaint of people of Thakraie, who said that despite repeated requests to their ex-MLA no attention was paid towards improvement of the condition of Shanna- Manthla road and during rainy season it becomes impossible for the people to pass through this road, which otherwise connects several villages with each other.
“Every time we approach the concerned authorities directly they say tenders are not receiving the positive response…..If they are really interested in redressing the grievance of the people they should get the work completed departmentally”, Kishori Lal of Thakraie said. The people also stressed the need for establishment of Primary Health Centre in area for 12,000 population.
“Though there are Health Sub-Centres but they are not functioning properly. There is dire need to open PHC in the area for providing better healthcare facilities to the people”, they said, adding “the demand was raised before the former MLA as well as district administration a number of times but till date no seriousness has been shown towards the same”. In the absence of PHC people are compelled to travel not less than 30 kilometers distance in case of any emergency.
According to the people, a power receiving station was sanctioned for Thakraie long time back but till date the decision has not been translated into reality. Moreover, a branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank was sanctioned for the area in 2014 but thereafter no step was initiated to make this facility available to the people. “Actually, political interference is the reason behind hanging fate of almost all the development projects and non-resolution of grievances of the people of the entire constituency”, a Government servant said while wishing anonymity.
The residents of Agral and Sarthal Devi Shrine areas too expressed their disappointment over discriminatory attitude of the former MLA Ghulam Mohammad Saroori and said, “a water supply scheme was sanctioned for the entire belt but due to the undue interference of former MLA the work was stopped midway as a result of which nearly dozen villages are suffering immensely”, adding “even Sarthal Devi shrine remained deprived of benefit of this water supply scheme”.
When asked, a resident of the area Kailash Kumar said, “during the pilgrimage to Sarthal Devi, we divert the water supply from the local source to meet the requirement of the pilgrims”, and appealed the Governor to ensure that water supply scheme is completed as per its original DPR and benefit is provided to the targeted population.
“A Primary Health Centre sanctioned for Sarthal area is also the victim of political interference”, another resident of the area said, adding “the dilly-dallying approach is notwithstanding the fact that this PHC will provide healthcare facilities to the people of the area as well as pilgrims visiting the shrine”. The intensity of former MLA’s non-serious approach towards the area can be gauged from the fact that even Higher Secondary School of the area doesn’t have Principal during the past quite long time.
The people of Nandna area also complained about non-adherence to their repeated pleas for upgradation of High School to Higher Secondary level and Primary Health Centre besides replacement of old power supply infrastructure. However, there was mixed response to the performance of former MLA from the people of Thathri and Drabshalla, which also form part of the Inderwal Assembly constituency.
When contacted, former MLA Ghulam Mohammad Saroori claimed that he left no stone unturned to ensure holistic development of entire Inderwal constituency. “When I became MLA for the first time connectivity was the major problem for many areas but due to my persistent efforts connectivity was increased from 5% to 85%”, he added.
About Dunadi road, he said, “when I was R&B Minister all steps were initiated to get the work expedited and even sufficient funds were earmarked for the completion of road but thereafter the work slowed down. There is hardly any forum where this issue was not raised by me”.
Listing his achievements, he said, “during my tenure as Inderwal MLA an amount of Rs 300 crore was sanctioned for blacktopping work and an amount of Rs 20 crore was recently sanctioned for improving drinking water facility in the constituency. As far as power sector is concerned about Rs 50 crore worth works are in progress and all the rotten poles are being replaced. Moreover, work is apace on new receiving stations for Kahara, Bunjwah and Drabshalla”.
“In every two Panchayats I have established Higher Secondary Schools but because of discriminatory attitude of the previous dispensation upgradation of schools in certain areas could not be done”, Saroori said, adding “it is due to my efforts that Thathri and Chatroo got Degree Colleges and the same are functioning from rented buildings mainly due to court orders”.
In response to a question, he held delay in providing compensation to the land owners responsible for delay in completion of work on roads taken up under NABARD and CRF. “As far as health sector is concerned 23 new Sub-Centres are functioning and 16 NTPHCs have been sanctioned due to my persistent efforts”, he further said, adding “Inderwal was one of the backward constituencies in the State but today it is much better than any other constituency in terms of basic amenities”.