Kupwara border villages cut off for weeks face immense hardships

The villages include Kandi, Dildar, Chamkoot, Jumgand, Pathra, Madian, Naga, Konia and Machil.

Residents of several villages near the Line of Control in Kupwara district are facing immense hardships as they have been cut off from the district headquarters since the beginning of the year following heavy snowfall.

The villages include Kandi, Dildar, Chamkoot, Jumgand, Pathra, Madian, Naga, Konia and Machil.

The villagers say they have remained cut off from the district headquarter for weeks now and were facing hardships.

“Being a hilly area, we have received heavy snowfall. Authorities have so far failed to restore the road connectivity,” said Tasaduq Hussain of Jumgand village near the LoC, adding, the heavy accumulated snow has prevented the border residents from even trekking to Kupwara town.

Residents of Keran were facing acute shortage of cooking gas and vegetables for weeks now.

The road connecting Keran with Kupwara is closed since last Wednesday.

“We appeal to the authorities to restore the road or arrange some other way for supplies to our villages. We are completely without gas and vegetables,” said Zubair Ahmad of remote Tangdhar.

Keran area of this frontier district lacks basic facilities like healthcare and electricity besides other essential supplies.

Snowfall usually blocks mountain passes in the high altitude area and the already dilapidated road, the only surface link connecting Keran with rest of Kashmir. 

But this time the crucial road has remained closed for more than a month, aggravating problems for the inhabitants, said a resident Rashid Ahmad.

“For first aid residents visit the local primary health centre. If any pregnant women need to go for checkup they have walk on foot around 30 kilometers to Kralpora health centre as the road is closed,” said Naseem Ahmad, a local.

“We are on the mercy of Almighty.”

Ahmad said residents somehow manage eatables but access to healthcare is the worst hit.

Machil area too is cut off from the district headquarters for more than a month now.

“It is for the first time in recent years that our area is cut off for a month now, we are facing shortage of eatables, but the healthcare in the area is badly hit,” said Rashid Ahamd, a resident of Machil close to the LoC.

“The health facility should have been improved here, but unfortunately not. Authorities as always leave us to the mercy of Allah.”

Absence of mobile telephone facilities in this digital age has made things worse for the border residents.

“When the entire world has become a global village, we are deprived of mobile and internet facility. Due to this we are unable to remain in touch with our children studying in Kupwara, Srinagar and outside the state,” said Tariq Ahmad of Keran village.

Keran and surrounding 16 areas receive electricity for only three hours in 24 hours. 

“We still illuminate houses at night with candles and age-old kerosene lamps.”