Bridging the Vale

Published at November 29, 2018 02:05 AM 0Comment(s)4227views

Bridging the Vale

Dargam, a small village in Baramulla remains cutoff from nearby areas and the rest of Kashmir by a stream that prevents crossing over as there is no bridge built over it. According to a report published in this newspaper, the residents of Dargam have been demanding construction of a bridge for over four decades now. Compare this report with another recent one on the connectivity in the state – Border Roads Organisation said on Tuesday that it is going to construct an all weather road to make Ladakh accessible throughout the year. Media reported it with the spin that “the road will also be a strategic advantage in the Kargil region”. Roads and bridges mean a lot in the valley where numerous villages remain disconnected with the state. Isolated from the rest of the state, for people living in these villages alienation within the state is deep-rooted. That people in villages like Dargam are left out on a limb, is one side of the story – the other side, equally grim is the approach of the government and authorities who have been entrusted the job of connecting regions and therefore people. For strategic advantage roads can be extended to any length and breadth, whereas to alleviate the sufferings of hapless people who see hope in only reporting their detachment, the state may take more than four decades to hear their pleas. It is also unfortunate because the government promises and claims equitable development, but that does not show up anywhere. To this day development has remained confined to what government considers ‘key areas’ – be them cities, urban centers or towns. People’s demands cannot be the same, but good governance calls for equitable development. In city people demand flyovers and grade separators because there is too much traffic on roads whereas people in villages have been dreaming for a small bridge to be connected with the rest of the state, dreaming the same dream for more than four decades. The government cannot afford to ignore the villages and deprive people living in them of basic facilities. It affects all walks of life as isolation means zero accessibility to health services, education or trade. Dargam is just a case in point, as there are dozens of villages in the state of detachment in Kashmir. While local representatives have been trying to bring a change, the legislators are mostly accused of favoring their own villages and towns or areas from where they get most of the votes.     




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