The Municipality of Kupwara, by adorning the bridges with decorations, sought to create a false impression of the town’s cleanliness and beauty. Meanwhile, they have neglected their duty to maintain the environment and have contaminated the rivers with their waste, which directly impacts the lives of those who depend on the water body
By Kamran Ashraf Bhat
KUPWARA is a district located in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. The district has a population of approximately 875,564 people, according to the 2011 census. Despite being a relatively large district, Kupwara has been plagued by poor development, which has negatively affected the lives of the people living in the area.
The administration of Kupwara has implemented several small beautification projects in recent years, in an attempt to improve the image of the district. These projects have included planting trees and flowers, painting buildings, and creating public spaces. While these projects may seem like a step in the right direction, they do little to address the root causes of underdevelopment in the area.
One of the biggest challenges facing Kupwara is the lack of access to basic services such as healthcare, education, and sanitation. The healthcare system in Kupwara is underfunded and understaffed, with only a handful of doctors and nurses serving the entire district. As a result, many residents are forced to travel long distances to access medical care, which can be prohibitively expensive for low-income families.
Similarly, the education system in Kupwara is in a state of disrepair. Schools lack basic amenities such as desks, chairs, and blackboards. Many schools have inadequate sanitation facilities, which can lead to the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid. As a result, many children are forced to drop out of school early, which limits their future opportunities.
The district suffers from poor infrastructure, which has a negative impact on the daily lives of the residents. Many roads in Kupwara are in a state of disrepair, which makes transportation difficult and dangerous. The lack of reliable electricity and water supply is another major challenge facing the district.
Despite these challenges, the administration of Kupwara has chosen to prioritize small beautification projects over more pressing development needs. While these projects may make the area look more attractive, they do little to address the underlying issues that are affecting the lives of the people in Kupwara.
Moreover, the selective approach taken by the administration in implementing beautification projects is exacerbating existing inequalities in the district. For example, the administration may choose to implement beautification projects in areas that are popular among tourists or wealthy residents, while neglecting other areas where the majority of the population lives.
The town of Kupwara boasts two bridges that have been adorned with faux flowers, multicolored lights, and wrapped with Zoolights. Regrettably, one of the bridges is presented so poorly that it not only lacks sensitivity toward nature but also fails to complement its surroundings. The responsibility of such immature decoration choices lies primarily with the Kupwara Municipality, which has been shown to be plagued with issues of contamination and mismanagement.
It is imperative to consider the underlying decision-making processes that allowed for the decoration of these bridges. The Municipality of Kupwara must be held accountable for its flagrant disregard for environmental health and human rights, as evidenced by the intentional dumping of municipal waste into the rivers below the bridges using machinery. Such actions represent a clear violation of the law and illustrate a blatant disregard for the well-being of those who rely on the water body for sustenance.
This instance serves as a prime example of how administrations may resort to beautification tactics to conceal deficiencies and violations. The Municipality of Kupwara, by adorning the bridges with decorations, sought to create a false impression of the town’s cleanliness and beauty. Meanwhile, they have neglected their duty to maintain the environment and have contaminated the rivers with their waste, which directly impacts the lives of those who depend on the water body.
This behavior is unacceptable and indicative of the Municipality’s lack of concern and responsibility toward its citizens and the environment. It is crucial that such acts are addressed and remedied through appropriate legal and policy measures to prevent further harm to the environment and its inhabitants.
To address these challenges, the administration of Kupwara must prioritize the needs of the people over cosmetic improvements. The administration should invest in development projects that address the root causes of underdevelopment and mismanagement of resources. This includes investing in healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
The administration should involve the community in the decision-making process. By involving the community, the administration can gain a better understanding of the needs and priorities of the people. This can help to ensure that development projects are implemented in a way that benefits the community as a whole.
In addition, the administration of Kupwara should focus on sustainable development that considers the long-term impact of development projects on the environment and the community. This means that development projects should be designed to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
The small beautification projects may seem like a quick fix to the problem of poor development in Kupwara, but they do little to address the underlying issues facing the district. The administration must prioritize the needs of the people over cosmetic improvements, only then can Kupwara move towards a brighter future for all its residents.
Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
- Kamran Ashraf Bhat is a Film and Cinema Researcher at Bahcesehir University’s department of Cinema and television, Istanbul and former Joint Editor of Daily Inside Kashmir. Kamran Ashraf Bhat writes on geopolitical, geostrategic, environmental and social issues
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