Bandipora villagers ferry patients on cots, drag oxygen cylinders on snow-covered road

Monday morning a couple of youth, alternatively dragged an oxygen cylinder on the snow-covered road to an uphill village of Panar in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

As youth kept pulling the cylinder with a rope tied to its neck on the icy road towards the village, another group rushed out with a cot carrying a sick woman who wailed in pain.

Without taking rest anywhere, they carried her 2 kilometers on their shoulders to Ahmeshareef where from she was taken in a vehicle to the hospital.

“It is akin to living in the 1980s,” an elderly villager, Moulvi Muhammad Yaqoob said.

He said after the snowfall, they had been stuck due to un-cleared roads and no vehicular movement to the village.

Yaqoob said that the oxygen cylinder was a lifeline for an ailing villager for the past six months.

The patient’s poor family had arranged the oxygen cylinder on its own, bearing all the expenses and brought it all the way from Watapora village, at least 7 km from Panar.

Like Panar, the adjoining villages – Kawthar and Tangath – too have a similar story to share.

Annoyed at the troubles they go through, the villagers protested against the R&B department for failing to clear the roads of the snow even weeks after the snowfall.

“The administration did not take any seriousness in resolving the issues of the public,” the villagers said demanding the road to the village be cleared of the snow at the earliest. “The Deputy Commissioner should himself visit the village and see how we are suffering.”

They said that most of the children of the village could not be administered polio drops due to the snow-covered road.

“The vehicles couldn’t reach our village and the immunisation staff had to foot the distance but they could not reach to everyone,” said enraged Manzoor Ahmad, a middle-aged villager. “On Monday, we took our children by foot to the health centres to get their immunisation done.”

He said that the administration had not carried any snow clearance of the road to the village as a result of which vehicles were not able to ply on this road from the day Kashmir received the snowfall this winter.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Executive Engineer R&B, Bandipora Abdul Hamid said, “The snow has been cleared from the road. Some snow remains on the road as the machine can’t go deep. Also, the area is mountainous and does not face the sun, resulting in frosting. Salt will be sprayed.”