domana: A large chunk of people of Raipur-Domana constituency which comprised of 29 panchayats (23 of Block Bhalwal, 4 of Marh Block and 2 of Satwari Block) and nine Municipal Corporation wards including areas like Paloura, Roopnagar, Barnai, Bantalab etc, expressed disappointment over the performance of previous MLA of the Constituency, Bali Bhagat in last over three years.
Bali Bhagat had won the seat in 2014 on BJP ticket defeating his arch rival and Congress candidate Mula Ram with a huge margin of 32,143 votes. A major part of the constituency is water starved areas (Kandi belt) including Bantalab, Raipur, Kot Bhalwal, Karwanda, Seri, Tara, Gharota, Amb, etc.
The team of Excelsior conducted a tour of Raipur-Domana constituency and met cross-sections of the society to know their views on the performance of the Bali Bhagat as MLA of the constituency, in his over three year term.
Most of the people to whom Excelsior team spoke, expressed unhappiness over the work done by the ex-MLA Bali Bhagat, who also held the portfolio of Ministry for Health and Medical Education from April 5, 2016 to April 30, 2018. Some also alleged that they have not seen even once the face of the Bali Bhagat in their area since he took over as MLA in 2014 what to talk of development works.
People said that Bali has done a little work in last three years in his constituency. People of this constituency, particularly of Kandi belt are yet deprived of basic amenities like water, electricity and good roads, health facilities, besides proper public transport facility. Many roads of the area are in worst condition and needs immediate blacktopping while the network of electric cables are in worst condition and people have to remain without power for days together even if mild wind blows. Same is the case with drinking water supply as they get supply once or twice a week and that too for some minutes.
Ramesh Kumar, a basket maker and a labourer by profession, of lower Karwanda said that there are about 50-55 families of Harijans living in their mohalla and all of them voted for BJP in 2014 Assembly election hoping that Bali Bhagat who himself is a Harijan, will initiate some development works in their area but he disappointed us like his predecessor, and even a single development work was not taken up in their area. Even approach road to our mohalla, which was constructed about 10 years back in Mula Ram’s time, is in worst condition.
Suresh Kumar of village Seri Panditan said that approach road to a village is considered as face of the village but road to their village which is about 7 kilometre in length is full of pot holes and at some places, it has turned into a nallah which is full of gravel. He said that the road was blacktopped last time about 10 years back and now it is craving for blacktopping. However, he expressed satisfaction over health facility and works of lanes and drains initiated in the area.
Neeraj Kumar of Kot Panchayat, however, lauded Bali Bhagat for development works done in the area. Pointing towards cremation ground of the area, he said that it was an open ground around one and half years back but now you can see that whole area has been fenced with boundary wall, cremation place has been covered properly with teen sheets and tiles have been laid from the entrance gate to cremation place. Moreover, he also sanctioned Rs 3 lakh for a community hall to be constructed at Mohalla Badhani and had promised to sanction more funds for the same.
Parkash Singh of Amb and Tirth Ram of Simblewala criticized the ex-MLA for discriminating with people of the constituency. Both alleged that Bali favoured only his workers and well off people. He said, “We didn’t demand jobs from him, the only thing we wanted was development of roads, lanes and drains, etc but what to talk of sanctioning development works, he even did not show his face once to us after election”.
Preetam Singh of Gharota (Thathi) said that they are about 400-500 houses in this area and all are voters of BJP but it is quite shame for the party that no development work has been initiated in this area during last 10-15 years despite the fact that the seat is with BJP for last over eight years. He said that most of the lanes in this area are kuccha and without drains. He said a Primary Health Centre was opened at Gharota some years back but there is not even drinking water facility for the patients what to say of medicines.
The negative comments for Bali Bhagat also came from Prakash Singh Chib of Domana who said that pond of the village is on the verge of extinction as in last 30 years even a single penny was not spent on de-weeding and un-earthening of the pond. “Earlier, we used to drink water from this pond but now even our cattle do not drink water from here”, he said, adding a single tile has not been laid in the lanes of this area in last three years.
Garib Dass of Barnai expressed satisfaction over condition of lanes and roads of the area but complained of choked drains and heaps of garbage in the area. He said Safaikaramcharis of Jammu Municipal Corporation come once in six months to clean the drains which remain choked and emits foul smell while garbage collector come on alternate day and charge Rs 100 per household for the same.
MK Bhat of Sidhi Vinayak Vihar (Pounichak) complained of low voltage in the area, saying a 100 KVA transformer is feeding about 100-150 houses due to which there is very low voltage. “The lane of the Mohalla, which is about 600 metre in length, is also ‘kutcha’. We went 2-3 times to Bali Bhagat but got only fake assurances”, he added.
“The worst condition of road from Sari to Daichak itself reveals the false claims of development in the area”, Mela Ram of Sari Rakwalan replied when asked about development works initiated during over three years stint of Bali Bhagat. He said that road is full of potholes as well as pools of water and same is the case with lanes while the ‘Sua’ (canal) flowing along the road is also ‘kutcha’. “Where is the development”, he questioned.
When contacted, ex-MLA and the former Minister, Bali Bhagat claimed to have initiated and completed many development projects in the State. He said that in his over three year term, he has spent 75% of his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to improve power supply in his constituency by installing more than 217 new transformers.
“If we talk about health sector, Sub District Hospital (SDH) status was recently got approved for PHC Bhalwal from the State cabinet, which also accorded sanction to creation of 32 additional posts for the hospital”, Bhagat said, adding with an expenditure of Rs 22 crore, the building of the Hospital is under construction and almost at completion stage. Besides this, he said a PHC at Domana and one at Muthi were sanctioned by him as Health Minister in the recent past while a Sub Centre has been started at Gurha Pattan through internal arrangement.
As far as road network is concerned, the ex-MLA said, about 250 kilometres of roads (which include all main link roads like Kot-Purkhoo, Raipur-Domana, Bantalab-Barnai, Kangar-Mishriwala) in his constituency have been blacktopped in his over three year term. “Widening and blacktopping work of main road from Bantalab to Barn was completed at a cost of Rs 17 crore last year and in the 2nd phase, road from Barn to Doomi will be blacktopped and widened”, he added.
Listing his achievements further, Bali said that with his efforts a Government Degree College has been opened at Mishriwala which has started functioning while about 1000 toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission have been made in poor households of the constituency in his short stint.
“In last three years, about 25-30 cremation grounds were developed and bathing ghats constructed there for the females so that they do not have to bath in the open while the matter of raising boundary walls of various schools and making playgrounds for the students was taken up with School Education Department”, the ex-MLA of Raipur-Domana constituency claimed.
Two bridges on Ranbir Canal (one at Mishriwala and other at Simblewala) have been approved as a result of his efforts and soon work on these bridges will be started,” Bali Bhagat said. He said these are his achievements only in a short stint of 3 and half years and if he gets full term, he would have changed the face of Raipur Domana constituency.