Gurez: The residents of Choorwan, a remote village along the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez Valley of north Kashmir's Bandipora district, have been living a hard life for decades due to poor condition of the road that connects them to the rest of the valley.
The 5-km long Achoora-Choorwan road is barely commutable and has not been repaired or macadamised for decades together, locals said.
They said that no authority had paid attention to their pleas and demands for development.
"Nobody listens to us. They talk of development, but we haven't witnessed any such thing," said Muhammad Gulzar Lone, a resident of Choorwan.
The village, which sits on the LoC, has remained inaccessible to outsiders for most of the past due to security restrictions.
However, even after the easing of those restrictions in recent years, the village has not seen any improvement in its basic amenities such as roads, mobile networks, health facilities, and education.
The villagers allege that no local officers or even panchayat representatives have visited them to address their grievances.
"During health emergencies, transporting a patient to Dawar, the nearest town with a hospital, is a daunting task. The road is in such a bad shape that we fear the sick may lose their lives before reaching the hospital," Lone said.
The disheartened villagers said that despite living in the 21st century, "development was still a far-fetched dream" for them. They blamed the local panchayat leaders and the politicians who they voted to power for their plight.
"They came for votes and assured development, but no promises have been fulfilled," said another villager, Sabdar Lone.
He asked, "Don't we have the right to ask for our due rights? Or is it that we are poor and living in far-flung areas that we are being denied our rights?"
He said that they regularly send delegations to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate's office and other officers who visit the valley, "But nobody pays any heed," he said.
Assadullah Najjar, Executive Engineer of the Road and Buildings (R&B) Department in Bandipora, who also holds charge of the Gurez division, told Greater Kashmir that the department had been issuing tenders from time to time but it had not received any good response from the contractors.
"The tenders for the 5-km stretch from Achoora to Choorwan have received a poor response," the officer said.
He said that the latest dates are also expiring and they will be issuing the tenders afresh.