69 Years On, Electricity Yet To Reach 9 Kupwara Villages

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Kupwara: Manigah, comprising of eight villages with a population of 10,000, is barely 8 kilometers  from the district headquarters of Kupwara in North Kashmir.

Shortage of water, dilapidated roads and absence of health centres and educational institutions are a stark reality here and residents tread miles to seek such facilities but it is absence of electricity which pinches people most.

In these areas even electric poles have not been erected so far. “We are living without electricity even 69 years after India’s Independence and there has been no progress on the ground despite repeated assurances given to them by local legislator during 2014 election campaign,” the residents said.

“During election campaign on the directions of locals MLA the officials from Power Development Department brought a power transformer that was kept in Manigah to give us an impression that our villages will be electrified. But as the election was over, the PDD officials took away that transformer back to their office,” an elderly resident Ali Muhammad said. “The people in power make misleading and false promises to take our votes. Besides physical suffering we undergo psychological turmoil as well.”

 Roads and water supply are the lifeline of any village and town. Manigah area has neither. “Since we don’t have any approaching road in the village, we had to unload all the material before the nallah and take it from there manually on our heads.”

 Health care facilities are located several kilometers away from the distantly placed hamlets. In case of emergencies, locals carry the patient on their shoulders in a cot. Crossing strenuous paths of hills and forests to reach hospitals located in the district adds to the gravity of the medical crises.

Similar is the case for education in Manigah, Haihama villages. Parents do not send their children to school as with the meager income that they earn they could only provide one thing: food or education.

“Cattle grazing are our main occupation as we lack all the basic amenities of life. When we compare our life with the urban populace, we find as we are still living in Dark Age,” the locals added. They said that some children who are keen to study are forced to use candles to prepare for their exams. “The government should listen to our woes and provide us with electricity at an earliest.”

 A Civil Society member from frontier district Kupwara said that they have every reason to believe that the remote villages of frontier district Kupwara are deprived of all the basic facilities. “The situation of the villages lying on the borders of Kashmir Valley is perhaps the worst of all.”

Local legislator Abdul Haq Khan who is also the Rural Development Minister admitted that these villages lack electrification and said that all these villages will be electrified under a new scheme launched by the Government of India.

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