Mixed public response despite no sufficient progress on developmental projects

Ex-MLAs’ Report Card  Constituency: Ramnagar R S Pathania (BJP)

Nishikant Khajuria
RAMNAGAR: Even as there seems no sufficient progress on new developmental projects, which have either got virtually stalled or being executed at snail’s pace in the Ramnagar Assembly constituency, there was a mixed public response over the performance of Ranbir Singh Pathania as MLA, who was representing this constituency since 2014 Assembly polls after defeating heavyweight and three-time Legislator Harsh Dev Singh.
A ground level assessment of the constituency hint that support base of both these former MLAs was almost intact while the majority voters are also clearly divided on choice between the two, irrespective of their performance as public representative.
According to the locals, biggest problem of the constituency is extremely poor condition of the roads. All the roads, not only in the interiors but also main roads like Ramnagar-Basantgarh road, Ramnagar-Ghordi road, Ramnagar to Rang Plant, Ramnagar to Phalla road, Ramnagar to Sattian and Ramnagar to Sullian road are in bad conditions.
Maximum of the PMGSY roads, which were started years ago during the tenure of then MLA Harsh Dev Singh, are still without blacktopping as little work was done in this regard during the last three years, alleged Thakur Dass, an Ex-Serviceman at village Kanah Morha Massal. While pointing towards big potholes on the Ramnagar – Ghordi road, he informed that the said road was blacktopped in 2014 and not repaired since then.
However, supporters of R S Pathania claimed that series of RTIs, filed by his political opponents were cause of delay in several projects as the officers prefer to allow the funds getting lapsed instead of inviting any trouble for them. Despite sanctioning of projects for repair and upgradation of roads under different heads, there has been virtually no progress on work by the concerned executing agencies, particularly Public Works (Roads and Building) Department.
The Sub-district Hospital Ramnagar, where a number of posts, including that of Surgery, Anesthesia, Child Specialist are lying vacant, has turned into a merely referral hospital. The situation in interiors can be gauged from the fact that there is not even a single Allopathic dispensary from Roundomail to Kulwanta, a stretch of around 50 kms, comprising a number of villages.
Primary Health Centre, Kirchi, which was established four decades ago in 1979 and recently upgraded as NTPHC, is still being run from a virtually decayed wooden structure as no hospital building has been constructed so far. The only post of Medical Officer, two posts each of Nurses, Medical Assistant and Nursing Orderly (NO) are lying vacant, said Girdhari Lal, ex-Sarpanch of Kirchi.
As far as educational scenario is concerned, the roadside school are overstaffed while those in the interiors are facing acute shortage of teachers. Middle School Cheri Bungla and Middle School Ronak Phalngu each have two teachers only whereas the students’ strength in each school is around 150. Similarly MS Pulgoo also has only two teachers, including one ReT while the number of students there is around 70.
At Higher secondary School Ramnagar, admission for Commerce stream has been stopped because there is no post of Lecturer of Commerce whereas a post of Lecturer in Statistics is sanctioned but the subject is not introduced.
At the Government Degree College Ramnagar, Commerce, Dogri and Sankrit etc have been introduced but the same are not taught at HSS Ramnagar with the result that there is no feed. The schools have urinal but no water facility. Government Degree College Majalta is still being run from a Middle School as land for the same could not be identified in the last four years.
Because of political interference, the entire Bus Stand area of Ramnagar has been encroached upon by the Reharis and vendors. Political patronage to these encroachers is evident from the slogans inscribed on some of these Reharis and hence whenever any anti-encroachment drive is launched, the area is once again intruded upon by these powerful vendors. Even as a separate Rehari zone was created for the registered vendors, no one was shifted there.
The water filtration plants are not functional with the result that people of Ramnagar town are forced to drink contaminated water while the situation in other areas can be gauged from the state of water supply in town itself. According to Gian Chand of Dalsar, scarcity of drinking water is a major problem for them.
No serious efforts were allegedly made for uplifting economic level of the locals even as Ramnagar people are well known for their skills. Despite having wide potential in tourism, pilgrimage, adventure tourism, horticulture, sericulture, apiculture and even small-scale industries, people from Ramnagar still have to shuttle from one State to another in search of bread and butter for their family.
For ITI at Ramnagar, land was acquired at village Kirmoo in 2004 and a sign-board was also slung there displaying site for ITI Ramnagar but little headway has been achieved so far. Despite a decision taken by Chief Minister-led DDB meeting in 2015 for setting up of the ITI campus at the earliest, there was no further progress on providing technical education and skill development training to youth of Ramnagar.
Tourist spots at Tamdyal, Kair Gala, Ponara Shiv Gali, Ponara, Keya, Gandh Top, Pachound, Kot, Siameri, Dudu, are still awaiting required attention of the concerned authorities.
However, despite all this, there was apparently no public resentment against R S Pathania even as support base of former MLA and his arch rival Harsh Dev Singh was also intact. Through his monthly Janta Darbars (Grievance redressal camps) in various far-flung pockets of Ramnagar and detailed three- day tour of Dudu-Basantgarh area on bi-monthly basis, Mr Pathania seems to have managed remaining in touch with the people of his constituency. “If we compare 18 years of Harsh Dev Singh as MLA with three and half years of R S Pathania, performance of the later is not disappointing,” said Girdhari Lal of village Flungoo, who works as a labourer. Listing achievements of Mr Pathania as MLA, he hastened to add that Harsh Dev Singh was also good but his workers misguided him.
Highlighting his works , R S Pathania drew attention towards his achievements, which include opening of two Degree Colleges at Majalta and Dudu- Basantgarh, taking up road projects worth more than Rs 700 crores under PWD/ PMGSY/ CRF, commissioning of 87 foot bridges, opening of 120 new ration depots, upgradation of schools and PHCs, etc
“Blacktopping on more than half a score of roads has been done while work on other half score of roads is underway and is in final stages of completion,” he said and also listed names of such roads, which include roads upto Panjian, Sundla, Pathwar, Bilaspur, Neeli, Khua, Manwal, Katheel-Ganju, Chowki, Birnoo, Paday, Pathwar, Omara, Neeli, Khuga, Kela, Marta-Dheeran road, Kulwanta-Jophar road, Bari-Ladana road, Block boundary Katwalt road, Kaghote-Lehri Shumb road, Plassan-Bainsta and other roads of the area.
Tawi bridge on Rown-Ramnagar road, Nallah-Mallian bridge and Satyan bridge, which were languishing since years, were completed in a record time and dedicated to public while work was started on Siyamehri bridge.
In Education Sector, besides getting two Degree Colleges opened, High schools at Kaghote, Dhamma, Dehari, Satyan, Rang, Panjgrain, Chigla Balota were upgraded as higher secondary schools while Middle schools at Jansal, Surni, Prey, Loudhra, Balandh, Pinger, Baryalta, Nakki were upgraded as High Schools. To promote girls’ education, 3 girls hostels worth Rs 4.5 crores are near completion at Ramnagar, Basantgarh and G S Banj, informed Mr Pathania.
In PHE and Irrigation, Mr Pathania claimed that projects worth Rs 60 crores were got sanctioned for drinking water to all and the work was in progress. For tapping irrigation/drinking water potential of Ujh and Tawi rivers, multipurpose projects have been submitted for approval, he added.
In Health sector, four new PHCs were opened at Marta, Pinger, Panchound and Dudu-Kirchi besides 14 Sub-Centers and 12 Health & Wellness Centers. Further, he added, process has been initiated for setting up of an accidental hospital at Manwal. Integrated 100-bedded AYUSH Hospital was set up at Ramnagar while additional administrative blocks for CHC Ramnagar, PHC Majalta and PHC Bharnara were sanctioned under PMDP. Two ambulances and digital X-ray machine were provided in Ramnagar out of CDF, he added.
For improvement of power scenario in Ramnagar, Majouri and Battal- Manwal grid lying incomplete since 1994, were completed and dedicated to the public. Work was started for new grid at Dhema while an alternate 33 KV line connecting Ramnagar was made fully functional.
State of art multipurpose stadium for Ramnagar is being constructed at an estimated cost of Rupees 17 crores, which is about to be completed shortly while Thial- Chougan stadium, languishing since a decade, was also started with a cost of Rs 88 lakh.
“For making Ramnagar a Smart Town, well equipped with modern amenities including proper sanitation, planned lanes and drains, Sewerage Treatment Plant and Bus Stand, a detailed project has been conceived and tenders floated,” Mr Pathania claimed.