A dirt track and four streams to cross; life in Gujjar Basti of Shangus

A dirt track and four streams to cross; life in Gujjar Basti of Shangus
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Brariangan: More than 400 Gujjar households are living in extreme conditions in absence of a proper motor-able road to their villages, here in Brariangan area of Shangus in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The locals say they have to carry their sick and their dead over their shoulders through a difficult terrain and their children struggle to go to school for they have to cross around four streams to reach school.
The area is locally known as Ram Latti neighborhood and consists of villages like Ramnag, Wanburu and Haji Mohalla-with a population of over 5000.
A dirt track has been recently paved under MNREGA but the track is far from motor-able and the difficulties the villagers have been facing for ages remain intact.
The residents told Kashmir Reader that they have been ignored by successive governments on the development front and the hardships their forefathers used to bear are now faced by the younger generation as well.
“The recent snowfall, you can see, the path is not even fit for walking, leave alone driving a car over it,” Muhammad Iqbal Khan, a local teacher told Kashmir Reader.
He said that falling ill in the area was a nightmare, for the sick need to be carried over shoulders across three to four streams between the Gujjar Basti and the main road.
“Even school children have to cross these streams, which remain gushing with water during summer time,” Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, a local police man told Kashmir Reader.
The residents rue that the politicians only visit them during the time of elections.
“They don’t see us as people. We are seen as votes. We have no rights,” the locals lamented.
They said that years of running from pillar to post has yielded a dirt track. The locals say that they are so desperate that they worked as laborers for the MNREGA track to their village, with the hope that the road will change their fortunes.
“But it has done nothing. We still carry our sick on shoulders and our children still have to cross four Nallahs to get to school,” the locals said.
Local lawmaker, Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, of the Congress, told Kashmir Reader that he has managed to put the road into district sector.
“The tendering for construction of a proper road and a bridge has been already initiated. Hopefully the work will be started soon on the project,” Bhat said.