Mon, Jun 26, 2017 | updated 12:48 PM IST

Interior Jammu cries out for better road connectivity

Updated: Nov 01, 2016 08:51 IST      
Interior Jammu cries out for better road connectivity

By Tanveer Ahmad Khwaja

Jammu [India], Nov. 1 (ANI): There is a fairly good road between Jammu and the border district of Poonch and travelling can become quite a herculean task, especially if one needs to delve into the interior region, as there are hardly any roads beyond the main road.

The buses plying on the road charge Rs. 300 for a distance of 235 kilometers. This is reasonable, but if one needs to travel further into the interiors, things become difficult.

It does not take much to understand how skewed the planning has been, as arterial roads are there and there is adequate transport that ply on these.

The interior roads are virtually non-existent and by reverse logic, transport facilities are poor.

This is a quintessential developmental paradox that neatly distinguishes between the urban and rural; between the mainstream and the margins.

Nowhere is this discrimination clearer in a sheer physical sense, than in the pattern of road connectivity. The travel to one of the interior tehsils becomes harder and harder. In village Hadi, it hits rock bottom. Here, roads are virtually non-existent. This village of 7955 strong (Census 2011) is roughly divided into two areas governed by separate panchayats, simply called "Upper Hadi" and "Lower Hadi".

The administrative division consists of ten wards that cover both the Hadis. It is not that Hadi has no roads in the village at all. There are roads but the coverage is not uniform.

Mohammad Arif, 32 working as a casual labour says, "Of the ten wards in Higher Hadi Panchayat, roads go to only two -ward no 7 and ward No. 10. There are no roads to reach the other eight wards. This means that even to purchase essential commodities such as dry rations, most people have to walk for miles. The other alternative is to hire a horse. This turns out expensive, costing Rs. 400 for a trip. On a regular basis, this is unaffordable for most."

The skewed pattern of development is curiously reflected in the ubiquitous bus ticket. The journey from Jammu to Poonch costs Rs. 300, but within Hadi village in the district, people have to fork out an astronomical amount of Rs. 400!

If there were roads, the cost would drop drastically to mere rupees 10 or at the most rupees. 20. The villagers are aggrieved and rightfully so.

Villages such as Hadi in this border district should have been on the radar of road connectivity, years back. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PGMGSY), a centrally sponsored programme launched on 25 December 2000, has been in place since.

It provides for all weather road connectivity in rural areas of the country and envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in hill states, tribal and desert areas.

Abdul Hamid 60 recalls a time when there was a spurt of interest by the administration in this regard. "About five years ago, a survey team came here and did some work. After that, nothing happened - neither did they come back, nor has there been any sign of road construction since then", he rues.

Every time a political leader visits the place, predictably prior to elections, the community raises the issue. Yet this goes unheeded as new dispensations come to power. The political class as well as the administration has remained impervious to the stated needs of the people of Hadi.

Yet Abdul Hamid is hopeful. "We don't want to get into the details of where the roads should be built. We can leave all this to the Department. We badly want the road to come up. If that happens it will be the greatest gift for us, " he says.

The completion of the NDA government's two years in office is a good time to take stock of this high priority sector that drives not only economic growth but social progress as well.

Marking the occasion, a news channel presented a report card on the performance of its ministers. A panel of the country's top 50 journalists gave their ratings on individual ministers.

The highest ratings went to Nitin Gadkari, Minster for Road Transport and Highways. Interestingly, Mr. Gadkari had stated that road projects languishing for years, would be cleared by the completion of the two year period of the present government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It is noteworthy that this was followed up with action- funding support for pending projects, weeding out non-performers amongst contractors and opening up Rs. 3.5 lakh crore worth of projects in different zones in the country.

This renewed policy focus and programme action has led to tangible results. The average highway construction that fell from seven kilometers per day in 2013 to an abysmal two kilometers per day in 2014 rose under the minister's stewardship.

On assuming charge of the Ministry, Mr. Gadkari had set a punishing pace to achieve 30 kilometers of road construction per day. Although this is yet unreached, the present pace of 20-21 kilometers per day is a manifold jump.

But somewhere along the way, are the margins of the country losing out in this race to achieve targets? How else can you explain the paradoxical situation in Surankote, Poonch?

In the more than 15 years of PGMGSY and two years of completion of the present government, this underdeveloped border region is still struggling to get a road.

It may be a long haul yet for the anxious, yet hopeful villagers of Hadi; on the other hand, swift action by the government could very well turn things around. But for the present, the people in Hadi village, Surankote in Poonch are not cheering for the remarkable feat achieved in road construction in the country. (ANI)

J-K Deputy CM says tight security in place for Amarnath Yatra

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 12:47 IST     

Jammu and Kashmir [India], June 26 (ANI): In the wake of the Amarnath Yatra 2017, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh asserted that all security arrangements have been made and the public need not worry about anything.

Full Story >>

Gorkhas dejected over questions raised on them being Indians

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 12:16 IST     

Darjeeling (Assam) [India], June 26 (ANI): As the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling entered its 11th day on Monday, the Gorkhas expressed their dejection over doubts being raised about their nationality.

Full Story >>

BJP President Amit Shah arrives in Puducherry

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 11:40 IST     

Puducherry [India], June 26 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah arrived in Puducherry on a two-day visit on Monday.

Full Story >>

Etah (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 26 (ANI): A woman in Uttar Pradesh's Etah district allegedly thrashed her 85-year-old mother-in-law and pushed her off the terrace for not registering the property in her name.

Full Story >>

Seven killed, 5 injured after jeep rolls down cliff in Shimla

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 11:06 IST     

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], June 26 (ANI): At least seven people were killed and five others suffered serious injuries when the jeep they were travelling rolled down a cliff in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh last night.

Full Story >>

Fighting Pakistan's dirty war in Kashmir Valley amid bad politics

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 10:37 IST      By: Col. Anil Bhat, VSM (Retd)

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): The heinous abduction from a marriage ceremony in Kulgam town and killing of Lt. Umar Fayaz followed by the brutal massacre and mutilation of six Jammu and Kashmir policemen in Anantnag district and the barbaric lynching of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ayub Pandith by a mob outside Srinagar's Jama Masjid, mark an unprecedented high in the Pakistan-sponsored and supported proxy war and radicalisation of the Kashmir Valley.

Full Story >>

President, PM extend greetings on Eid-ul-Fitr

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 10:35 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Full Story >>

UP CM Adityanath greets people on Eid ul-Fitr

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 08:15 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 26 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday greeted the people on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the culmination of the fasting month of Ramadan, is being celebrated across India today.

Full Story >>

BJP backs PM Modi's Emergency remark

Updated: Jun 26, 2017 07:35 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Emergency remark saying that the young generation must recall and remember the dark chapter in the electoral history.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): Calling for an end to violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh issued a special message of peace and brotherhood on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 26 (ANI): The Congress on Monday slammed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for targetting Opposition Presidential nominee Meira Kumar, saying that the former should refrain from doing such things while holding a responsible position.

Full Story >>

New Delhi/Kolkata [India], June 26 (ANI): After senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said that his commitment to party president Sonia Gandhi was over, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said the grand old party should introspect as to why their own party leaders are going against it.

Full Story >>

Darjeeling (Assam) [India], June 25 (ANI): Hailing the decision of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to levy 12 hours relaxation for the Muslim community to observe Eid in the protest-torn Darjeeling, Jama Masjid Imam, Ahmed Ali Kadri on Sunday said that demands of the agitators should be met.

Full Story >>

Operation Prahaar shakes confidence of Naxals in Sukma

Updated: Jun 25, 2017 23:48 IST     

Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India] June 25 (ANI): The Operation Prahaar is believed to have shaken the confidence of Naxals here in the area, as for the first time the security forces delved deep inside the Naxal core area in Sukma and launched a major offensive against them.

Full Story >>

'Greed for power' is keeping RJD-JDU united: BJP

Updated: Jun 25, 2017 23:47 IST     

Patna (Bihar) [India], June 25 (ANI): Amid speculations of rift between the grand alliance of Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after difference of opinion on the presidential nominee, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said the coalition of the two parties was a 'mismatch' adding that the disruption being witnessed was obvious.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 25 (ANI): Despite Center's ban on the use of red beacon, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Mahesh Trivedi was caught taking use of the facility here.

Full Story >>

Eid to be celebrated across India on Monday

Updated: Jun 25, 2017 21:21 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India) June 25 (ANI): Eid-al-Fitr will be celebrated across India on Monday, announced Muslim cleric Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahal here today.

Full Story >>

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], June 25 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday announced Rs.five lakh ex-gratia for the kin of a tourist family and three local youth, who were killed after the gondola cable in the tourist resort of Gulmarg snapped after a tree fell.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 25 (ANI): Elated with the visit of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind in Uttar Pradesh, state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday asserted that the former's nomination is a victory in the fight for social justice in the country.

Full Story >>