Hajibal: Where villagers flee for ‘better life’
‘Nobody Listens To Us Even As We Voted For Bijli, Pani, Sadak’
Hajibal (Baramulla), June 19: Nobody desires to live here anymore. In the past two years, more than 20 families have ‘quit’ this north Kashmir village in search of a ‘better life’, somewhere down the hills.
About 8000-ft above sea level, the healthcare facilities in this village are dismal. On Saturday a lady lost her child in the womb owing to the village’s disconnect with the main town, villagers told Greater Kashmir.
“There are only two persons driving healthcare facility in this village: a nursing orderly and a sweeper. They come here three days a week and stay in a shack. There are no doctors and no medicines,” said Syed Bashir Ahmad, a villager.
He said in the past there have been many deaths due to lack of healthcare facilities in the village. “Her (the lady’s) pain started all of a sudden. We tried to take her to Baramulla hospital but it didn’t mature because we had to come down from a steep of 8000-ft. How could we do that?” Bashir said. “We have been continuously urging the authorities to provide us better healthcare facilities, but to no avail. Nobody is listening to us, even as we voted for Bijli, Pani and Sadak.”
Hajibal is barely 18 kilometers from the main town of Baramulla. Although a road is being constructed to connect this village, there are no signs of its completion.
What the villagers here do could be seen as an activity of the 19th century. If households have to buy rations – as there are no shops in the village– they send two of the family members in the wee hours to the main town. They return at midnight—fatigued.
The village is facing acute shortage of safe drinking water. “In absence of proper drinking water, our life has become miserable,” said a group of villagers.
The other problems they face are absence of electricity, poor road connectivity, little transport facilities and dismal facilities for school education.
Three schools have been established in the village. They lack staff and basic facilities. There are seven teachers for about 110 students. There are no toilet facilities for the students, except for some makeshift arrangement.
Stretched over more than three hills, Hajibal is a three-mohalla village with no ration depot. “We have been left to fend for ourselves. For a 5 kg bag of wheat we have to walk a distance of 18 kilometers of difficult terrain,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, another villager.
A low intensity breeze often grounds wooden electricity poles in the village. Locals said they have been sending their children to main town for study. “These wooden poles can be deadly for our kids,” said Ghulam Qadir. “Since we are being provided minimal electricity, the life of children has become difficult. They are not able to study properly. With the result we are forced to send them to the town for studies.”
Villagers alleged that they are being fed with “contaminated water” for drinking purposes. Transport is a dream for the villagers. “If only we are connected properly, we can live like other people do. If only the under-construction road is completed soon, we can at least transport patients to the main town,” said a group of students.
“We request the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to fulfill his promise of providing better civil amenities,” they said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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