Poor living conditions, insufficient space irk KPs

A view of Pandit colony at Veervan in Baramulla district. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
A view of Pandit colony at Veervan in Baramulla district. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Waseem Ahmad
SRINAGAR, Sept 14: Failure of Government in providing basic facilities and inadequate space in Pandit colony at Veervan area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district is badly affecting the lives of Kashmiri Pandits.
Located merely two to three kilometers away from main Baramulla town, the fabricated huts in the colony housed about 140 Kashmiri Pandits where multiple families share one-quarter.
The Colony housed employees who were appointed under Prime Minister’s special package for Kashmiri migrants, but unfortunately the colony lacks all the basic civic amenities.
As per the residents, the colony lacks the basic amenities like proper healthcare, clean drinking water, lack of space, sanitation and essential supplies. “Lack of basic facilities is affecting lives. These are not quarters, these are like cow sheds. There is no water available in the colony and we have to fetch the water from a very long distance. The colony lacks medical facility and there are no essential supplies available. Government has pushed us into ghettos that are unsuitable for the humans. We have been deceived by the Government as we were promised that the colony will have all the facilities but the condition of the colony here is very pathetic,” Ashwani Bamu, a Kashmiri Pandit said.
Besides, lack of basic facilities in the colony, Ashwani said that the new employees who are coming here don’t have accommodation in the colony and they have to live in rented buildings outside the colony without any security. “Over 50 employees mostly females have to live in rented buildings outside the colony as there is no space available in the colony. They have to suffer a lot. There is no security for them as well. We approached the higher ups to construct few more fabricated sheds in the colony for them till the new concrete quarters are made but no one paid heed to our pleas,” he said
The Pandits said that the Relief and Rehabilitation department recently issued a notice regarding construction of 20 more quarters in the colony but that decision was also deferred. They said the authorities had identified land at Kanispora area for the construction of concrete quarters but the work was not started yet.
The AEE, Relief and Rehabilitation department, Girdari Lal Mehta, said that the minor problems faced by the residents will be soon resolved and the construction work of the new quarters would also be started. “The face-lifting of the colony was done last year but some families were in Jammu at that time and their quarters were locked that is why they were not repaired. The other problems faced by the residents of the colony will also be soon sorted out. We have identified a land for the construction of new quarters and the land acquisition case of that is going on. The project has been handed over to the JKPCC and the construction work will be soon started after the case is solved,” he said.