BUDGAM: Muslimabad, a village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, is located at a distance of just 5kms from the Srinagar city, and yet it lacks all basic facilities including drinking water and power supply.
Despite being so close to the summer capital of the state, Muslimabad has poor and electricity supply while it also lacks a proper drainage system.
Rafiq Ahmad, a resident, told Kashmir Reader that the area is completely dependent on tube-wells for water. Besides, he said, a water tanker supplies drinking water to the area once every fortnight.
The water, he said, is storied in tanks and used for cooking and drinking while the tube wells provide water for cleaning and agriculture.
The residents said the approach roads to the village get inundated during rains, with the residents forced to take alternative routes to home.
“In our village, the tall claims of development fall flat. We neither have direct water supply nor a drainage system,” Mehraj-u-Din, a local, said.
“When it rains, we have to take alternative routes to reach our homes. We have requested the legislators of both National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, but in vain,” he said, adding, “They had promised action, but nothing has changed in the last 10 years.”
About 15-years-ago, Muslimabad was created out of Chak, a century-old village, Chak has better roads and drains as compared to Muslimabad despite being older than the two.
The villagers said they are supplied untreated water.
The story of other new-carved villages like Buti Bagh, Khurma, Samad Colony, Ratnipora, Lassipora, Bandibagh in the district is the same.
The problem of water in the village has resulted in a dispute between two villages—Nagradkhah and Gund-e-Argam. And the tussle has halted the implementation of water supply scheme in four villages of Budgam in the last 14 fourteen years.
According to the locals the dispute started over the construction of a water reservoir.
“The Nagradkhah residents claimed that the construction will affect agriculture but water supply to around 300 households was disrupted,” they said.
“During this time, we had no option but to utilise water from local streams,” Abdul Samad, former headman of Kurhama village, told Kashmir Reader.
In its latest study, New Delhi-based NITI Aayog has found that 28 percent households in the state is without direct supply of water.
Admitting the problems cannot be resolved so easily, deputy commissioner Budgam, Mohammad Altaf Mir, said, “These problems cannot be solved in one go. Administration has to look for issues before starting a work in a village which takes time.”
“It is easy to form a new village but difficult to develop it. There number is considerable too. Since the problems are spread across the district, we prioritise work,” Mir told Kashmir Reader.
He said, “Initially we give preference to old villages with enough population but work in newly constructed villages is also going and its pace will accelerate once we are done with old ones.”