BUDGAM: A shutdown was observed in Chrar-e-Sharief town of Budgam district on Monday against what the residents called negligence of the development issues of the town.
The call for the shutdown was given by the Alamdar Traders Union Chrar-e-Sharief. All shops, schools and commercial establishments in the town remains shut.
Holding banners and placards, the protestors chanted slogans against official apathy.
“In ‘90s when Chrar-e-Sharief was known as a stronghold of militants, it received less attention from the successive governments in the matters of social development. The notions about the village – being hub of militants – are still lingering in the minds of authorities with government showing indifferent attitude to the village,” a protestor said.
The residents said that though it was represented by National Conference’s A R Rather for almost 36 years they were kept bereft of basic facilities “while as the adjoining villages had been provided every facility by the government”.
“This is the only town in district which lacks basic facilities. We have been always at the receiving end due to the constant negligence of the authorities towards us,” General Secretary Alamdar Traders Union Wani Muzamil said.
He said officials never visited the town to redress the grievances despite intimating them on the issues they were confronting.
“We have thousands of grievances. Despite apprising these to the district administration, our town is still being ignored on every front,” he said.
The electricity transmission lines are hanging low which could cause a casualty anytime. “The lines are lying so low that we have adapted ourselves to these. But if someone else comes here he will get electrocuted,” another resident said.
“We have been requesting authorities about the problem, but they have turned deaf ears to it,” he said. He added that the unscheduled power cuts are also a constant annoyance.
Same is the condition of health care. Although the sub district hospital has been established here but the residents said that instead of acting as a sub-district hospital it acts as a sub centre.
“Healthcare has been the biggest problem of the village. We have to go to other adjoining villages even for basic treatment,” Bashir Ahmad, a protestor said.
“A patient can’t even go for ultra sound and for basic facilities. A specialist has been transferred six months back but till date no one has replaced him due to which the equipments worth lakhs have gathered rust,” he said.
Same is the case with education, he said, adding, “A degree college exists but lack of proper accommodation has been the main problem. Few years back medical steam has been introduced but till date to stream could not be started in the college due to shortage of space,” he said.
Police and civil officials including from the power department visited the spot and assured redress to the issues.
“We have asked them to give us time up to April 15. And we are hopeful that their demands would be redressed as soon as possible,” Officials said after meeting the protestors.
However, locals threatened of a bigger protest if grievances were not redressed by the given time.