Fed-up villagers plant rice on dug-up road

SRINAGAR: The residents of Reshipora village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district have planted rice saplings on the Mirgund-Reshipora road as a protest against “official apathy” towards the dilapidated road.
Bashir Ahmad, one of the villagers, told Kashmir Reader over phone that after receiving no response from the roads and buildings department, they planted rice saplings on the road as it was as soiled as paddy fields.
“The condition of the road is such that it is difficult to distinguish it from the adjoining fields. To travel on the road takes 2 hours for a distance that otherwise would have been covered in 20 to 30 minutes,” Ghulam Nabi, a local, said.
He said that the villagers protested for several days a year ago when about half-a-kilometre of Mirgund-Reshipora road was dug up to lay water pipes for supply to a few colonies in Bemina area.
Abdul Majid, who crosses the messed-up road on a daily basis, said that the act of planting paddy was meant to draw attention of concerned authorities who have been “neglecting” this issue. The road is causing great inconvenience to the local people, particularly to children and aged persons, Majid said.
Executive engineer, Roads and Buildings department, Budgam, Kachu Mehmood said that the department began repairing the road after pipes from the Sukhnag water scheme were laid down, but work was left unfinished because of bad weather.
The executive engineer assured that the repair work would be started in one or two days.
Earlier, images showing paddy saplings planted on the dilapidated road were posted by the local youth and had gone viral on social media. The Roads & Buildings department had come in for much ridicule and criticism for its ‘inefficiency’.