Anantnag: Koil, the most-populous village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, observed a shutdown on Monday in protest against the authorities’ alleged failure to redress the villagers’ grievances.
Amid shutdown, scores of villagers, mostly youth, held protest demonstrations on the streets.
They blocked the Pulwama-Awantipora road with logs and stones till late afternoon, causing inconvenience to pedestrians. The protests continued until the police and civil administration officers assured the protesters that their problems would be addressed.
Protesters said the authorities have failed in raise the embankments of a nearby stream, leaving the area prone to frequent flash-floods.
“It seems the authorities learnt no lesson from 2014 flash-floods that caused heavy damage to the area. Despite our repeated representation to them for strengthening of the embankments of the nalla (stream), nothing has been done. Even a drizzle here causes inundation in many localities,” protesters told Kashmir Reader.
They said the High-Tension (HT) line installed by the Power Development Department (PDD) through the village was posing a serious threat to life.
“The HT is not only close to the residential houses but its improper installation has also created a risk of it falling down anytime,” said a local, Dr Feroz.
He said the gap between two electric poles remains more than 300 feet against the prescribed distance of up to 100 feet.
The area, he said, is subjected to frequent power cuts. “After every two hours, we face a power cut for about four hours,” he said.
People of many localities in the village, protesters said, were suffering due to shortage of drinking water.
“While some areas have acute shortage of drinking water, the supply to other localities is snapped for days together during rain,” resident, Shahid Bashir, a resident of the village, said.
Healthcare care facilities, he said, were too poor for treatment of even a minor injury, with patients bound to visit District Hospital Pulwama for medical help.
Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Neeraj Kumar, said the villagers have “some small issues” that would be resolved soon.
“The only major issue in the area is the threat of flash-floods. But addressing such issues takes time,” Kumar told Kashmir Reader.
He expressed ignorance about the problems caused by HT installation, saying “I will enquire about it from PDD officials”.