By ABID RASHID BABA
Dear Mr. Bukhari
Last time, I shot an open letter, your timely response worked well. We were battling with electricity woes and you ordered a 250 KW Transformer to end the power crisis. Thanks for the favour. Today, I am back with an avalanche of issues concerning my hamlet.
During election campaigning, I remember the frenzy herd clad in green shouting atop the caravan of vehicles, “Czhe ha sa gachi 24 gaenti power poshun, Czhe ha sa pazzi Basharat saebas vote trawun (You will be having round the clock power supply for you shall vote in favour of Basharat Bukhari).” It was perhaps a poll plank since our bulbs blink often even after having a receiving station in your native village.
I live barely two miles away from Tehsil headquarter Kreeri. My dusky hamlet has a typical pastoral smell and dung scattered along the roads. Road connectivity is the first sign of a developed nation. But Choora-Thindma road via Athoora is crying for attention. The potholes and the sad saga of congested road irk commuters beyond bearing. The routine patchwork is done just to hide the rot. During election campaigning, you had promised road-widening and macadamizing. Well-maintained roads are still a dream.
Mini-buses plying on the route billow clouds of dust thus compound the already complex issue. During peak hours, the menace of overloading has troubled the populace. One quick solution is to have a special bus service for students. It will surely lessen the mess.
“Values of games in education”- is an essay we were asked to cram in our school days. The key motive was to inculcate the true spirit of sportsmanship. But the sorry state of affairs of Kohinoor Cricket Ground is an ugly story. It has been badly politicised. Half a decade back, it was a bustling place. Why this playground looks bushy plus deserted is an uncomfortable question many refuse to answer. Last year, it became a bone of contention and gave birth to a rift in the hamlet.
Then a Revenue minister, you mobilised the entire revenue force in the district to earmark the 300 Kanals of illegal occupation of state land by the villagers but why only three households were pressed to surrender it. What about the rest of the 99% is a history. ACR Baramulla maintained a guard book but dumped it deliberately.
Kahcharayi occupiers are your vote bank. Hundreds of trees were numbered and declared as the property of the Panchayat are being cut down. The messy playground is a controversy now. You overlooked and ignored this grave issue. Till date, no retaining wall has been constructed for the new road leading towards the ground.
A Panchayat building has been constructed on the fringes of this playground more than a decade back. It crumbled twice. What remained is a heap of rubble. Why not to dismantle the poor structure and construct a new under RGSY scheme?
In the last fiscal, the J&K government booked an expenditure of INR 1122 crore on the labour and material component of MGNREGA. Can’t we have the cemented pathways out of our own share? MGNREGA has also undertaken the development of village sports grounds entailing funds exceeding Rs 2 lakh rupees. Sports enthusiasts want the fencing of the ground. Hope you will not disappoint them, now.
Dear Sir, you sanctioned a public park on a hilltop where we used to graze our livestock. The pathetic part is that the hill was bulldozed which erodes the land and even a slight drizzle drains the muck downwards which inundates the households living beneath it. It has been reduced to a useless plateau. Of the earmarked 15 lakh rupees, nobody knows how much was spent on it by the Floriculture department.
My village lacks public convenience. Under Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, INR 13,948 crore has been allocated in FY 2017-18. Give us our share as a responsible head of our constituency. The hot demand is to have four public washrooms at two separate locations. In this much hyped ‘Digital India’ era, we don’t have an ATM booth at Athoora branch of the JK Grameen bank. We travel either to Choora or Kreeri to withdraw a small amount.
A decade back, a water reservoir was constructed in the outskirts of my village. Till date, there is no electricity supply for a watchman who stays there all night. Villagers are up in arms against the decision of having a locker of India Post in a tailors shop in Athoora. Can’t we have a proper post office with an employee on duty?
Health is a key sector. The Primary Health Centre (PHC) is a long pending demand. It will ease the inconvenience we face daily. Last year, electric poles were erected along Athoora-Saloosa road sans cemented base. These poles are now posing a life threat in Kohinoor colony due to fragile plinth. Literates account for approx.70 % of my village folks. The young brainy brains believe that there is a dire need of a public library.
Education is the most abused sector here. A primary school was upgraded to High School in 1981 with a two-story structure in nearby Athoora. In 2007, it was upgraded to a Higher. Secondary Institute but a decade later, not even a single classroom has been built for it. They operate in a Primary school building since there are only two rooms available for teaching. It is plagued with plethora of issues.
What stops you to visit the institute and look after the creaky infrastructure? The profuse leakage in PHE’s service pipeline has posed a serious threat to an existing laboratory which was constructed worth 15 lakh rupees. It has been declared unsafe and is on the verge of collapse as the water seeps beneath it. The crux is that students are bereft of lab work. Who cares? They deserve the buildings and a playground. Education needs a major overhaul.
On the other hand, we have only 50 students in Government Middle School with six buildings. What for? Isn’t it a case of negligence and administrative lapse? With no checks and balances, these blunders create a mess. We can have PHC, Public library and Post office in two of its buildings. Everyone wants a paradigm shift but none wants to bell the cat. They don’t unveil how much sanitary napkins they have provided to girls under RKSK scheme. They have to run Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation Programme (WIFS) but the status is bleak.
Nearly 90% of my villagers voted for you despite a boycott call. They pinned hope on you that you will voice their pleas at a higher platform. It is high time to reform my village on war-footing. I hope you will address the aforementioned grievances and issues to make it an ideal village.
—The Author is working as an Intern at Jammu and Kashmir Government Grievance Cell. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org