Machil residents aghast over lack of basic amenities

Greater Kashmir

Residents of Machil sector in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Sunday accused authorities for failing to provide them basic amenities resulting in severe hardships to the inhabitants.

Residents said that the much hyped power station which was inaugurated by district administration few months ago does not cater the whole area of over two dozen villages instead is confined to only two villages Machil and Dodi. “I am unable to understand why only two villages are getting electricity via the newly established power station and rest of the villages have been left out. What was the fun of glamorizing the power station at national level if it does not fulfill the basic aim, said a local from Chontwari area of Machil.

Another resident alleged that they were promised supply of electricity at the time of inauguration ceremony of power station but nothing has changed since then and barring Machil and Dodi rest of the villages are being provided only few hours of electricity from a genset installed in the area several years ago.

Mobile connectivity is still a distant dream in Machil area, people living here feel isolated and dejected in absence of mobile connectivity. “When rest of the world is approaching 5g we have been deprived of the mobile connectivity and to talk of internet is a dream for us,” said a local from Ring Balla. Another resident alleged, “After the outbreak of COVID19 when authorities directed school teachers to take online classes in the whole UT but in Machil that was not possible due to absence of internet.”

Lack of better health facility is another aspect which tells upon the inhabitants. “Although a Primary Health Centre (PHC) was established several years ago but lack of staff and other facilities has always been a great discomfort for us,” said Alif Din from Ring Payeen. “We are compelled to shift pregnant women either to Kupwara or Srinagar for lack of gynaecology facilities here and the expenses on shifting them has always been very high,” he added.

Residents also showed strong resentment against Roads and Buildings department for miserably failing in maintaining roads in Machil. Residents said that the maintenance of roads should be handed over to Beacon or PMGSY department.

Although community bunkers are being built to prevent human loss by cease-fire violations but residents were less enthusiastic citing reasons of lesser space in bunkers and them being away from their homes. They demanded construction of individual bunkers instead. Machil which consists of eleven panchayats remains cut off from the district headquarter for 5 months because of intense snowfall and due to which people tend to face immense hardships. People here demand that authorities should manage regular helicopter service during the winter to minimize hardships of people.

Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Anshul Garg while acknowledging the fact said that although people living in Machil face hardships but district administration is taking concrete steps to redress their grievances. When asked why only two villages are being rendered electricity from the newly constructed power station, he said that in shortest span of time electricity will be provided to other villages as well. Anshul also said that from this year helicopter service will be available for Machil during winter so that the connectivity is not halted.