Rafiabad still craves for development

Waseem Ahmad
RAFIABAD: Rafiabad constituency in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district craved for development with majority of the areas facing electricity, drinking water issues and have dilapidated roads.
The Assembly constituency of Rafiabad is a part of Baramulla Parliamentary constituency. In 2014 Assembly elections, Yawar Ahmad Mir of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defeated former Congress leader Abdul Gani Vakil with a margin of 2334 votes. Mir polled 17918 votes and Vakil polled15584.
As per the inhabitants of the constituency, the power scenario in Rafiabad tehsil is a dismal one as most of the villages hardly see electricity.
They said more than 25 villages of the upper belt of the area receive only one hour of electricity in 24 hours. The area receives electricity supply from Watergam receiving station, the only receiving station providing power supply to almost 200 villages.
The residents further stated that there is no accountability for the PDD and there is no justification for them to raise bills on account of electricity which has not been provided by the department.
The situation is no different in most of the areas where the electricity is giving nightmares to the general public. “The PDD is taking the villages of Dangiwacha, Rawoocha, Chanam, Hachipora, Sheikhpora, Chatoosa, Zeathan, Kangroosa, Pakhwara, Hanoora and Pazwalpora for granted”, said residents.
People alleged that besides the poor power supply, the department distributed electric poles unfairly. “They provided electric poles to most of the villages, but our village Pazwalpora received nothing,” Farooq Ahmad, a resident said.
While common consumers including students are bearing the brunt of the unscheduled power cuts, the crisis has hit even the traders mostly. “We are paying commercial tariff but unfortunately PDD is resorting to unscheduled power cuts. If the problem persists we will be forced to take the extreme step of stopping payment of power dues,” the residents threatened.
The residents of Kandi belt of Rafiabad’s Dangiwacha said that the situation is worse as they have to reel in darkness for hours.
The vital road connecting various areas of Rafiabad with apple-town Sopore is in highly dilapidated condition causing huge inconvenience and economic losses to local residents.
Locals said that Ladoora-Sopore road that connects villages falling in the jurisdiction of Rohama and Dangiwacha tehsils, Qaziabad and Baramulla with Fruit Mandi and main town Sopore has been left unattended.
They said the transporters are facing a multitude of problems as it takes them a minimum of two hours to complete a half an hour distance.
The residents said that from Ladoora to Achabal, the single lane road is in bad condition and the passenger vehicles take half an hour to traverse the five kilometer road stretch. “The dilapidated condition of the road has made it scary to travel on it. Many people have taken their private cars off the road to avoid inconvenience and damage to their vehicles,” they said.
Residents of Marazigund area of Rafiabad complained that they are facing shortage of drinking water in their area and despite repeated pleas to the concerned department nothing has being done.
The residents of Ladoora area also complained that they are facing unscheduled power cuts and alleged that the Power Development Department is not providing electricity as per schedule. “We have been paying regular power bills but still we are facing acute power crisis. We were facing acute power shortage and the unscheduled power cuts have become a cause of concern in their area”, they said.
The residents of Shutlu area demanded up-gradation of power transformer in the area as the only transformer in the locality has been damaged for unlimited times since past two years. “For 70,000 polulation, there is only one 63 KV transformer which has got damaged more than 15 times, while authorities had provided 100 KV transformer for 20 families in the other Mohalla of the village, which is injustice to us. The 63 KV transformer can’t bear much load especially during the winter,” they said.
The old and worn out power transmission lines in dozens of villages of Rafiabad area are not only posing a threat to the lives of residents but these areas face an acute power shortage due to deterioration of the transmission infrastructure.
As per the inhabitants, the power transmission lines supplying electricity to dozens of villages in Rafiabad area are worn out and most of the times fall either due to snowfall, fast winds or due to extra load.
The residents of Chakloo, Ladoora, Nadihal, Traqpora, Watergam, Hadipora and other adjacent villages said that since the inception of these transmission lines, hardly any repairs have been done.
They said that there has been no replacement of electric wires and poles since these villages got electrified. “If Power Development Department (PDD) lacks funds for replacing the wires then the department should inform us so that we can collect funds at village level. These decayed wires pose a threat to our lives. We appeal the State administration and concerned department to replace all decayed power transmission lines for the safety of people here,” they said.
“These transmission lines pose a big threat to the people as the wires are worn out and wooden poles are damaged. We have apprised the PDD authorities time and again about the grim situation with the request to change the old, worn out wires to safeguard the lives and the property of the residents but so for no heed has been paid to our demand,” Mohammad Yaqoob, a resident of Chakloo said.
The residents of other villages of the constituency also claim that no repairs have been done since the Rural Electrification (RE) Scheme was launched decades before.
They said that there is a dire need of removal and substitution of portable wires, electric poles and other infrastructure in almost all the villages of Rafiabad.
The residents of the constituency also expressed their resentment over the delay in the completion of Mini-Secretariat at Watergam.
They said the construction work on the Mini-Secretariat was started in 2012 with an estimated cost of Rs 5.56 crores but six years have passed and the project is still incomplete.
Locals alleged that Government is showing indifferent attitude towards the project as the construction work is often stopped. “Government is not serious about this project. Six years have passed since the work on the project was started and we are yet to see the complete building,” Bashir Ahmad, a local said.
Bashir said the Mini-Secretariat was sanctioned to accommodate all the Government departments of the district in a single place and to provide hassle-free governance to the people. “It was supposed to ease the woes of the people and to ensure that people do not have to travel long distances to get their things done,” he said, adding people have to travel long distance for petty issues.
The residents of the constituency also complained that the construction work of the Degree College at Hadipora is going on at slow pace and authorities are acting as mute spectators. They said the construction of the college was started in 2017 and it will take years to construct the college at this pace.
The residents of Hibdangerpora area said that a bridge in their area which connects them with Seelu Sopore has not been completed despite work started several years ago. They said only pillars of the bridge have been made and rest of the work is pending.
The former MLA of the constituency, Yawar Ahmad Mir, said that various roads in the constituency under various Central schemes were developed and works on several roads area sanctioned and the work is going on.
“Approximately, 80 kilometers of road were macadamized in the constituency in the state sector which includes inner links as well. Besides, various roads were developed in the constituency. Three roads including Lodura Mandi, Ruhama Brana Dab and Watergam to Hamam were taken under Central Road Fund (CRF) and the work on them is going on. Two roads Shiploo Waltroo of upper belt and Khushipora patoosa were developed under NABARD. Under PMGSY, various roads in Ketardajji, Tangmulla, Hachipora chatusa, Najar Muhalla were developed,” he said.
In Healthcare sector, Yawar said hospitals for several areas were sanctioned and the construction of some buildings has been completed and work on some is under process. “Construction of Primary Health Centers (PHC) at Achbal and Dobgah has been started and are near completion while as PHCs for Hamamarpora and Chatusa areas, Sub Centres for Venkara and Naribal areas have been sanctioned. The biggest achievement for us is that we upgraded PHC Rehaama to Sub-District Hospital (SDH) and created 40 posts for the hospital. Besides, funds that were pending for Dangiwachi hospital and Watergam Trauma centre were also released.
The Ex-MLA said people of the constituency are facing water scarcity issues because the water supply schemes are gravity based schemes and water flow is slow in our Nallahs that leads to water scarcity in the areas. “My focus has been to shift the schemes from Nallahs to Jhelum river and we were able to provide water in various villages of the constituency and in other areas like Kandi area. We will also lift water from Jehlum and there will be no water scarcity issues after that. The work is going on slow because the funds for the projects were diverted and they were only on papers, so it became difficult to arrange funds for the projects,” he said.
He said several receiving stations were upgraded in Nowpora, Hadipora and Watergam areas and new receiving stations in Achbal and Panchga were created. Besides, he said transformers were created in the villages where ever it was needed, new electric poles were erected and overall HT/LT lines were improved.
Yawar said a Degree College at Hadipora area of the constituency was sanctioned and the work on it is going on.
He further said that several school buildings were constructed and several school were upgraded in the constituency. “New buildings for High schools at Rebban and Achbal were constructed. High Schools of Rethan, Ladura and Khamua were upgraded to Higher Secondary Schools, Middle schools at Rauchad Panzla were upgraded to High schools. Several SSA schools were developed in the constituency. We also provided computers to 10-12 schools,” Yawar said.
The ex-MLA said to encourage youth towards sports playgrounds at many villages were developed.
He also said that two bridges of Arhama and Ludura bridge were constructed and bridges for areas in Dobgah Dharpora and Gunipora have been sanctioned.
He further said that about 30-35 ration depots were sanctioned. Model villages at Kandi area were made and an Animal and Sheep husbandry centre was also approved.