Say they were promised jobs in lieu of land
BUDGAM: Several villages in Budgam district are without water for the last two days as landowners of three filtration plants have locked down the plants in protest against the department.
On Thursday the landowners of Kharian, Zoogu and Dam-Pathri filtration plants locked the plants stating that the government had taken their land for the plants promising government jobs in return.
“However, till date government has not provided us even a single penny,” they alleged.
Meanwhile, affected villagers alleged that the district administration was least bothered to sort out the issue.
Javid Ahmad Dar, one of the landowners, told Kashmir Reader that decades have passed since the department took the land for setting up the plants with an assurance the families would be provided government job, “but till date there seems to be no progress in redressing our long pending demands”.
“What is our crime? If providing land to any government department is crime, then come and hang us and if it is good work then why won’t you compensate us?” Javed said. “We are not rich people, we don’t have crores of bank balance, rather we are totally dependent on the agricultural land that we provided for the construction of the projects,” another landowner said.
“The authorities grabbed our land and when it comes turn to reciprocate they pay no heed to our demands,” they alleged.
“We tried to convey them by all means but they don’t pay listen to us. Now when it went beyond the tolerance level, we locked down the plants”.
“We know the people are suffering but we have no other means to protest now,” they said.
Kashmir Reader received several complaints from the Arizal, Khag, Chill, Brass, Khanpora, Zokipara and dozens of other villages that the taps were running dry for the last two days.
“Our taps are running dry and our animals are yearning to get water to kill the thirst,” they said. “We have been forced to drink contaminated water.”
“What is our crime, it is a dispute within the department and why shall we face the brunt. We are already facing water crisis in area and now this has added more miseries to our problem,” said Shabir Ahmad Dar, a villager.
Another villager, Bashir Dar from Chill said they contacted the department about the status of water supply.
“They said that it would be restored within half an hour but two days have passed and we are craving for a single drop of water,” Bashir said.
Executive Engineer Public Health Engineering Budgam Ghulam Ahmad Beigh said that negotiations were going on with the landowners.
“Their files have been sent to the higher officials for approval and it takes time. It can’t happen all of a sudden,” Beigh said.
“I met them today and assured them that I will accompany them to Chief Engineer’s office,” he said.
Asked when the water supply would be restored, he replied “The water supply has not been restored yet, however, the landowners assured that they will unlock the filtration plants by this evening”.