RAJOURI: The border constituency of Rajouri, represented by PDP leader Choudhary Qamar Hussain in the last Assembly still lacked in many ways as the basic public issues like water supply, road infrastructure, power supply and health care remained unaddressed during the regime of ‘PDP-BJP’.
This constituency, was earlier presented by Congress MLA Shabir Khan, and before him, by the National Conference. It has seen change after every term. The people generally claimed that they were not happy with the performance of the recent MLA from PDP. They said even after four years, they hardly see any change in the constituency and basic issues were still there.
Ch Qamar, who secured 26,954 votes during 2014 Assembly elections had defeated his nearest rival, Ch Talib Hussain (BJP), who has taken 24,464 votes while Cong candidate and former Minister Shabir Ahmed Khan secured 24,296 votes, out of total 87255 votes polled. Excelsior team had extensive visit of this constituency and collected public feed back about the performance of their recent MLA. Their views are being put to the public domain.
Mohd Farooq, ex-serviceman from Manjakote said that there was acute shortage of water. Moreover, electricity supply is made available hardly for 10-12 hours a day. There is Primary Health Centre but it is facing shortage of doctors and other staff besides much required equipment. The NREGA payments of the labour class are pending for the last 1-2 years. But the CAPD ration supply is almost satisfactory. Shabir Ahmed, trader from Manjakote said there is no proper cleanliness in the town and moreover, there is shortage of teachers in local Higher Secondary School. The people are suffering due to long power cuts and low voltage problem, he added.
Faisal Hussain from Dudasan village said that the area is facing acute shortage of water since long. There is no dearth of water sources but PHE authorities have not formulated any Water Supply Scheme for the area. He said former MLA Qamar Hussain has failed to bring any respite to the people of the area. Power supply position is also grim and the condition of the road is also not good. Ch Chirag Din said that a dug well had been started during Cong MLA Shabir Khan’s time but later that too, was abandoned by the new regime. No new MGNREGA works have been initiated in the area. The ration supply is also not adequate. No kerosene oil supply is provided to the public by the Food & Supplies Department, he said.
Abdul Rahim Bhatti from Saj village alleged that toilets were constructed in the area but most of the people have not been provided full amount by the RDD authorities. There is no water for drinking and under such circumstances toilets can not be made operational in remote villages. There is massive power curtailment and health care facility is also inadequate. Maqbool Hussain from Palangar and Nazir from Kopra Top alleged severe water crisis in the area and maintained that PHE authorities have failed to provide supply through water tankers during hot summer days. They said power voltage is very low and over all scenario is worst.
In Behrote area of Rajouri also, the public is facing drinking water problem. The people said PHE tank always remain dry and pipes are broken or leaking. Entire Kashmiri Mohalla brings water from river which is unsafe for drinking. In local dispensary, there is no doctor and medicines are hardly made available to the patients. Only first- aid is given at this centre and there is no proper monitoring by senior officers.
Zubair Hussain Shah from Thannamandi said that water supply position in local town besides Manyal Gali, Mangota and even at Azmatabad is grim. The people face acute shortage of water and no new water supply scheme has been witnessed in the area during past several years. No alternative arrangements are made by the concerned PHE authorities even during hot summer days. There are long unscheduled power cuts in the area and voltage is also very low. In many areas there are no electric poles and cables have been tied with the trees. The road condition is also grim. There is no proper street light in the town and condition of lanes and drains is also not good. Upper Shahdara Sharief and even main area near Ziarat is also facing water problem during hot summer days.
Capt (Retd) Bashir from Thannamandi claimed that a new WSS was sanctioned recently near Manyal and it will augment water supply position in some parts of this town. He said there is CHC at Thannamandi but only two doctors are available. No lady doctor has been placed in this hospital. There is no X-Ray technician. He said there are nearly 35 villages in Thannamandi area and these all are facing acute shortage of water and power crisis since decades. There seems to be no improvement in these two sectors while road from Rajouri to Thannamandi and Bafliaz is needed to be upgraded. Local Degree college is facing shortage of staff. Nazir Ahmed from Thannamandi also projected the shortage of water and inadequate power supply to the area besides poor sanitary conditions in the town.
Shamim Akhtar, Sarpanch Thathiyali Ponthal (Doongi Block) said that water scarcity, lack of road connectivity, healthcare facilities and adequate power supply are the core issues which the people of this belt area facing. She said a water supply scheme was started in the area about four years ago but that was abandoned by the new regime for the reason best known to the people at the helm of affairs. She alleged that recent MLA was seen during elections only and was hardly seen for normal public interactions. He had not interest in this block and major public issues have remained unaddressed during past 3-4 years, she added.
Ankit Kumar from Bathuni and Sukhjut Singh from Kallar area also projected chronic issue of water and power scarcity. They said this could not be provided regular and enough supply of drinking water even after 70 years of independence. Water and power perhaps are not priority of the Govt. Shakeel Ahmed from Muradpur also projected the main issues of water, power and poor health care. He said NREGA payments of many people are blocked since long and BDO office staff did not give satisfactory reply.
Amit Kumar from Rajouri town said that Ex-MLA from PDP has shown no interest in the development of Rajouri town. No new development project or any public asset was raised by him during his tenure. His performance has remained very low and people of the area will prefer a change this time. The people had high hopes from him in the beginning but he has literally failed to perform. There is no improvement in water or power sector. Other public issues have also remained unaddressed, he said.
One Rajinder Gupta, a trader from Rajouri alleged that he has not seen much change in the facilities in Rajouri tiown except widening of the Bazaar near Gijjar Mandi and some other new points that too, with the initiative of DC Shahid Iqbal. He said Rajouri continued to face water crisis. Power supply position is also not good. No new project for Rajouri was started except Degree College which was sanctioned by the then Union Minister GN Azad. Gupta said he has nothing to do with any political party like BJP, Cong , PDP or NC but this is true that people of this town have not seen much change or improvement in facilities during last four years in the town.
Former MLA, Rajouri Qamar Choudhary when contacted said during his recent tenure he got 29 road projects sanctioned under PMGSY while two roads under Central Road Fund were also got approved in district Rajouri. They included Upper Shahdara Road in Thannamandi at the cost of Rs 13 crore and Nadyal Galuta-Shahdara Sharief Road with the cost of Rs 45 crore. Out of the total, Rs 21 crore got sanctioned so far. The ex-MLA further claimed that 10 new Water Supply Schemes (WSS) were also sanctioned in the area during last three and half years but despite this, water shortage problem could not be addressed in the constituency. The work on these projects was in progress, he added.
Referring to health care facilities, the former MLA claimed that he got a total 18 health sub centres/ dispensaries sanctioned in his constituency during last over three years. Besides this, three hostels for girls were approved at Palangar, Manjakote and Doongi in Rajouri. One Degree College for Doongi ( Sasalkote) was also sanctioned and two High Schools were upgraded as Higher Secondary Schools and two Middle schools as High Schools. In Agriculture, Horticulture and Cooperatives sector, the Government has not provided any assistance to the people of Rajouri area and most of the funds under these sectors are spent mainly in Kashmir, he alleged.