Bandipora: The shortage of officials including junior engineers (JEs) in Gurez Valley of north Kashmir is affecting the pace of the developmental works.
The Valley remains accessible for a very short duration of time given the heavy snowfall in winter. As a result, the Gurez Valley has about only six months to execute the developmental works related to construction and roads.
The remote Gurez valley has three community development (CD) blocks. These blocks are specially designated for rural development under the block development office (BDO) who work under Rural Development Department (RDD). These are Bagtore, Kanzalwan, Gurez and Tulail.
Moreover, only one BDO is working with an additional charge of two more blocks, having an extreme staff crunch. So the affairs, as per the locals were being handled by the assistants not qualified for the job.
As per the local sources, many developmental works vital for the community and the rural development -- health, roads, water schemes, et al -- are pending before the offices. They cite reasons that estimation plans for tendering and submission to the higher authorities to avail works remain hampered due to the absence of engineers in the CD blocks.
"Most of the budget to rural areas like Gurez comes under Capex, which is for blocks and Panchayats," BDC Tulail, Aijaz Raja said. He said that numerous requests to avail sufficient staff to the authorities have borne them no fruit.
The valley has 20 Panchayats and among these eight falls in the central Gurez. "Last year over Rs one crore funds lapsed due to shortage of engineers," Abdul Raheem a Sarpanch from Dawar Gurez said.
He said they required at least "three junior engineers for smooth estimation and quick allotment of developmental works".
Meanwhile, the Greater Kashmir also accessed a letter addressed to the deputy commissioner Bandipora, requesting at least two junior engineers be posted to the Gurez division rural development department.
The officials accepted that there was "no JE posted in the RDD department" in Gurez and that they have requested the same from the higher authorities.
Sub-divisional magistrate Gurez, (SDM) Mudasir Ahamd said, "I have written and requested for the posting of JEs in the RDD."