SHOPIAN: Decades of assurances and tall promises have passed, but Dachoo and its adjacent villages in Hirpora belt of district Shopian are still cut off from the rest of the world for want of a bridge over the Rambiara rivulet. The villagers can only say that all the promises of different governments have amounted to nothing but a bundle of false hopes.
Around 500 households in this tribal area struggle daily with the lack of road connectivity, even in this era of technology where crores are spent on different road, electricity and water supply projects. But the inhabitants from these areas can only accuse the state’s different dispensations of consistently maintaining a step-motherly attitude towards them.
The area is situated besides Hirpora village along Mughal Road, and people here are mostly dependent on daily wages and rearing cattle and sheep. Most locals have to cross the Rambiara every day to earn their wages and for their children to go to school.
The villagers said that on the 25th of this month, the concerned Tehsildar came to the village to take stock of the damage caused by flash floods at Dachoo village but refused to cross the wooden bridge as he was scared it would collapse. “See what is going on with us when we cross this wooden bridge made of two logs every day,” said local resident Bashir Ahmad Mir wryly.
Villages sorely in need of the connectivity a bridge would provide are Dachoo, Krichpathri, Sarbal, Guttan and many tribal areas.
“Very few people in our area are educated or employed. We want to educate our children to have their best future and we have admitted our children in different schools based in Shopian. But being a forest area, heavy rains are the order of the day here, and our children are unable to cross the rivulet due to its heavy flow of water, which adversely affects their education,” said Muhammad Nafie, another local, while adding that hundreds of requests by the villagers to higher authorities have been disregarded.
The worst problem people here face in the absence of a bridge is in cases of medical emergency. “During high flow of water, we were forced to take a patient on a wooden stretcher walking six kilometres of forest path to reach a village which has a road, but the route through it is almost 27 kilometres to Shopian town,” laments another villager, Abdul Hameed Lone, who added that they were now fed up with protests and blocking roads since their demands have never been met either way.
Deputy Commissioner, Shopian, Owais Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the villagers’ demand is genuine and needs to be addressed. “We have written a project report to the government for the sanction of funds. We wrote them for two options, one is a temporary bridge and the other a permanent solution which may cost more than two crores,” he said, adding that the area will soon be connected with a temporary bridge so that the area’s inhabitants would not suffer any more.