BUDGAM: Residents of Cheki-Kawoosa village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district blocked the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway on Monday, to protest water scarcity in the area.
Holding placards, with messages depicting water scarcity and the apathy of the government, the protestors said “a new dam” should be constructed for the area.
The village comprises of almost 3000 households.
Holding a traditional Kashmiri urn, a metal container for potable water, Haleema-45, lamented that the village gets “no portable water” from last few years.
Adding to the crisis, she said, the village was getting water from Mazhama water tank for half an hour daily, but “that has been stopped for the last nine days”.
“Our clothes have gathered dirt and dust, and we even can’t wash them,” she said.
Blaming the officials for their apathetic approach the protestors said that if the authorities can’t fix the water problem here, “how they can deal with the big problems?”
“We request the higher officials of the PHE, MLA concerned, and flood and irrigation department to kindly intervene in this matter,” a protestor said.
The villagers threatened to go for a complete “highway bandh” protest, if their problem was not redressed in a few days.
The protestors were also angry with the former chief minister and currently MLA Beerwah Omar Abdullah, who they said “also acted as a mute spectator” and never bothered to redress our grievances”.
Executive Engineer PHE division Budgam G M Ganie couldn’t be contacted despite repeated efforts.
National Conference, political secretary, Tanveer Sadiq, who spoke on behalf of Omar Abdullah, told Kashmir Reader that they had recently discussed the water shortage issues with PHE officials at DC office Budgam.
“There are 16 filtration pumps, which have been left half way, because of lack of funds in Beerwah. We have personally spent 10 crore in last two years in the constituency but the present government is vindictive. They didn’t pay any heed to public woes in Beerwah since Omer Abdullah was elected as MLA Beerwah,” Sadiq said. “I will personally intervene and see if there is shortage of funds.”