Include snow clearance under MGNREGA scheme : Sajjad Shaheen

Demands snow clearance machines for Banihal
National conference leader and District President Ramban Sajjad Shaheen
National conference leader and District President Ramban Sajjad ShaheenFile/ GK

Banihal, Jan 13: National Conference leader and District president Ramban Mir Sajjad Shaheen has appealed to the LG administration to include snow clearance under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA) scheme in snow bound rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

He urged for sanctioning advanced snow clearance machinery in district Ramban particularly in the snow bound Banihal area.

In a statement, Shaheen said that it is unfortunate that the entire district Ramban which is a high prone snow zone and witnesses heavy snowfall during winters has not even a single snow cutting machine nor snow vehicles, ploughs, cutters, and front-end loaders.

He said the entire district Ramban and Gool receive heavy snowfall and several villages remain cut off from the district headquarters for many days during the frosty winter due to the heavy accumulation of snow.

“Some areas like Mahu-Mangit, Neel, Pogal, Maligam, Paristan, Sarachi receive six to eight-feet snow, and due to lack of the snow clearance machinery the administration fails to open the snow-clogged roads in these areas for several weeks. The administration should procure snow cutters and other snow clearance machinery for district Ramban,” Shaheen said.

Appealing LG administration to undertake snow clearance works under the so that the snow is cleared faster and villagers also earn an income, Shaheen said that there are not enough snow clearing machines in the district Ramban. He added that often JCBs hired from local contractors are pressed into service, which donot solve the purpose as tens of thousand villagers in the snow bound areas remain cut off due to heavy snowfall in the region and a lack of timely snow clearance.

He added that most of the work covered under NREGA often comes to a halt in hilly areas during the winter. This leaves most rural labourers unemployed for several months.

Shaheen further said that it is a common practice during heavy snowfalls that dozens of medical emergencies had to be shifted to hospitals on charpoys, stretchers, tractors or JCBs as most of the roads remain blocked in snowdrifts. People have to often carry the ailing as no JCBs can reach their villages, through knee-deep snow and treacherous pathways.

He has demanded that the government should consider bringing snow clearance in remote areas under the ambit of MGNREGA and utilise funds for snow clearance to provide relief to the people in the harsh and hostile winter months.

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