Shahid Majeed Mir Sector
Infrastructural Lacunae in Machil Sector even in 21th century is to remind the grand old days of Stone Age
Jammu and Kashmir is located at northern cusp of country. It holds a special status in the federation of India. It’s a geographically significant areal expanse engulfed with highest fold mountains of world -The Himalayas. The state is thus physiographically a story of valley and mountain topography. The middle Himalayas represents the mountains of Kashmir with local calling of Pir Panjal. Therefore the infrastructural development in whole state seems uphill task especially in the valley and regional division of Ladakh.
The central and state government remain busy all year round to pursue developmental works along length and breadth of valley. The link roads of Ladakh and Srinagar, Srinagar and Jammu, Srinagar to other districts etc runs past through difficult terrains. Apart from this the Road management is far better than previous decade. And other services have improved a lot more throughout state with untiring efforts of state government.
However the outcome isn’t satisfactory at extreme cardinals. The far flung areas lack the basic necessities even in this digital world or what is more commonly referred as Global village. On this orientation the Machil sector reckons significance.
As is known in the geopolitical language, Jammu and Kashmir shares disputed boundary in this part of Kashmir which amplifies the constraints put up by highly rugged terrain and harsh climate to improve infrastructural facilities in this region. The common folk are sharing nip and tuck life style of Tribal. They completely lack the basic necessities like Roads, Electricity, and Education et al.
The problems of region are numerous. Some of the major obstacles in way of common people to live can be broadly outlined through Social, Political and Economic categories. Machil sector is politically a significant region with shares boundary of neighbourhood with PaK. It is usually a peaceful region as far as cross border firing is concerned. However the continuous onslaught of Pakistan firing with intermittent periods of tense strife disrupts normal life. For this Government need to engage politically with Pakistan whose process is on.
Apart from this some quick access cemented shelter huts can be looked out to prioritize this vital issue related with life of people and their livestock. The accessibility of region is still miniscule with absence of Roads and means of Communication. The hilly terrain makes it difficult for common people to move.
It sustains stagnant nature of economy and prevents the reach of medical facilities and other such necessary amenities from district headquarters. The communication is either unheard of or completely absent in this digital world. The network towers have not been established which renders mobile communication an utopian dream for people.
The Z-Gali crossing remains engulfed with snow in most part of year which further adds tragedy to people. The mobilisation of people is curtailed to an extreme extent. Medical emergencies are dealt by traditional ways which lefts many people dead in the midway.
The Electricity which is so essential in modern way of life is not the part of life in Machil sector. The infrastructure required for reach of electricity was never tried to be established. There’s an immediate need to focus on this aspect. For Education the region fails miserably. Although institutions necessary for imparting education are present upto high school level but they are in desperate need of upgradation. The youth are facing immense difficulties to tread down the required distance for any dream of higher education. Therefore the upgradation of educational institution to secondary level shall be immediately perused. As is said Education is cornerstone of society. The lack of institutional capacity and the absence of adequate Teacher to Pupil ratio in existing institutions curtail the progress of this vital attribute of society.
The established educational institution is equipped with bleak infrastructure and a miniscule number of Teachers. The absence of playground in the said institution speaks volumes about the Government slogans of sports skill development. There’s an immediate urgency to fix the bolt in educational sphere. A new and innovative way of learning approach is the need of hour for people facing wide ranging difficulties.
The Machil sector is socially a backward region ostracised from direct contact of its own district in modern world. Although ALC category status has been bestowed but the social exclusionary level is not compatible with existing measure. The category status of society is synonymous with their progress.
The existing benefits provide them ample sops but the overall outcome could have been better. As is said “The policy is as good or as bad as its implementation”. The social status though beneficial is demanding necessary functional support in other categories like education. And the amplification of special category status to make it more inclusive and more beneficial.
Moreover, the required process to acquire the category certificate need to taken up with Revenue department for simple procedure to make it affordable for common man. And the added services in the required category should also be looked for. The community is living an isolated life style on traditional means which needs innovative way to reorganize the means for modern amenities.
On the law and order issue, Police station is situated at far off place. And the inadequacy of staff amplifies scope for law and order issues. The people are wrestled with problems of FIR reports because of the absence of any station house officer.
The habitual criminals roam freely along streets and make the life of people difficult. The problems crept due to robbery and thefts are meal of the day in community. Apart from all these problems the Economy of region is in dire need of revival else the people may face threat starvation. Earlier the people used to carry the weaponry and food supply like goods of security forces from plains to hills with the help of donkeys.
With time the subsidiary arrangements were placed for mobilisation of weaponry and other necessary items of security forces through specialised roads which put a full stop on economy of people. The local dwellers became jobless and led to subsequent social tension. Mostly the local people were engaged in the said economic activity apart from miniscule share of livestock. However the security conditions prevent the take up of livestock as viable option.
Overall the problems of community are numerous which need to be assessed at earliest. First and foremost in this direction is the implementation of Tunnel proposal to make all weather mobilisation possible in the hinterland. Since the project has long been debated but the ground is unaware of any such work.
As quoted by Dr Manmohan Singh” Roads are lifeline of economy”. The connectivity will promote trade and commerce with nearby market and easy travel of passengers. The medical emergencies can be dealt with at ease thus saving the precious life. The Electricity project under Saubhagya Scheme needs to expedite for this region. Neither any step was taken in this direction in neither past nor the government is having any such plan in near future.
The Digital India program is incomplete till the integration of far flung areas. The reach of network towers should be taken with private companies. However onus lies on Government of the day to make it possible.
The establishment of SHO in the locality could improve law and order situation of region. It will put curb on all illegal activities being promoted due to absence of Police. Moreover the establishment of separate Naib Tehsildar ( NT) can be looked for to improve governance efforts. Unless and until there remains a strict supervision of all the departments under magistrate, the presence of local services is indeed impossible.
The Machil sector is interwoven with common problems which demand urgent attention of authorities. It needs a Government with farsighted vision and enthusiasm to essentially expedite developmental work in region. The Governor of the day is having an obligation to take note of this serious inept attitude of successive governments which prevented development of community at par with other regions. Let’s hope the authorities awake from slumber.
Writer Shahid Majeed Mir hails from Misribehak Machil Kupwara and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org