This has been the story of Mendhar for a long time. After J&K became a Union Territory the expectations of the people rose but everything has proved to be a frustrating experience!
‘Nothing was ever done and it looks like nothing will ever be done in this strategic town called Mendhar. The reason is no interest whatsoever has ever been taken and in case it was by default and the job executed the follow up to that remained a straggling affair and thus the people continued to suffer. The town ship which is part of the biggest Sub Division in District Poonch lacks in almost all facilities though the basic infrastructure is there yet the maintenance factor has been a let down everywhere and therefore the people continue to suffer. One of the major reasons as to why Mendhar lags behind is that corruption has gnawed into each and every department and thus their foundations are creaking. Sadly it is because knowingly also the administration does not act. This was an ancient paradigm and the same persists even now’
(Nadeem Rafiq Hussein Khan)
By now the readers must have come to know about the pathetic conditions on the development front as far as improving the living conditions of the people go. This is a township that is in the shadow of LOC and till the end of February 2021 it was volatile due to consistent shelling and the outrage of shrilling bullets moving all over the place as Pakistan was relentless. For the last three decades the people have been on the hook and they have begun to realized that the administration is probably going to do nothing though the promises made have been in plenty only to be broken.
The people still do not know as to what the reasons are but on ground the reality is that people have not been given their due. Some semblance of hope came in when the rural body elections happened where the focal point was governance at door steps. The contestants enthusiastically took part in them hoping that something good will happen for the villages they live in and especially the wards. But nothing happened. Back to village programs were well appreciated but when it came to implementation of works again the result was a lead balloon. This was followed by the DDC elections. Again the enthusiasm was splendid but later on it is just a carry on boy boy sort of a scenario and hence everything fizzled out. So how could the development take place when nothing was done at the basic level, the representatives elected by the people were made to look like non entities because the departments would not care about them since the elected members had no powers and the only thing was that they could meet the concerned official which in any case they were doing before getting elected also.
The basic fault lines is that there are certain departments such as PHE, PDD and PWD (for the time being leave the others out) simply do not like to work in Sub Division Mendhar. The only plausible answer they have is lack of funds and this is a perennial excuse to which no solution has come out and how can it in any case when corruption is the basic key that opens up everything in Mendhar. Stop corruption and everything would be fine. But that looks impossible by the day.
In this regard Advocate Nadeem Rafiq Hussein Khan had plenty to say in fact he has been speaking on this subject ever and over again ever since he walked around with his legendary father the PDP stalwart Chaudhary Rafiq Hussein Khan. This is what he said while speaking to the media:
He took on the administration of Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha for the abject failure in providing basic amenities in the rural areas like drinking water, electric supply and better roads for the people and these three platforms, (bijli, paani and sadak) are the ones on which the contestants in bigger elections (assembly and lok sabha) come for campaigning with hefty promises that are never delivered. This time it may be health and education also which as such are languishing.
Nadeem toured different villages of the remote areas of Mendhar and received many complaints of drinking water problems. The Schemes made in 1980’s to provide drinking water to Keri upper belt coming from a natural spring still is running smoothly with old rusted pipes given by Sardar Rafiq Hussain Khan when he was MLA in 1980. This was told by an old woman who had seen all the upheavals in her life in Mendhar but was still carrying on gamely. If the concerned department cannot replace rusted pipes of 43 years then this speaks of their efficiency! Why is it called public health engineering at times baffles many.
In 2008, a water scheme was given to the village Keri Kangra from Neeli Daav but still is incomplete and has yet not reached the second stage. By the way, it is not moving anywhere. It is quite certain that it will never get completed. The delay ensured that the village suffered and the reason was obvious, non-implementation of the scheme and it was an agency known as Jal Shakti that was on the job. It was really a deflating attempt at supplying water.
The same was the case with the Manjari-Mohra water scheme of Jal Shakti and that too is lying incomplete. This too was sanctioned by Late. Sardar Rafiq Hussein Khan. This was disclosed by one retired lecturer Majeed Mughal of Dharan Mohalla who at that time gave a piece of his land for boring and pumping station. Why were they not completed is anybody’s guess and you do not have to go far to search out the answers.
The slogan of the government for providing water to villages is sounding hollow now because on ground nothing practical is happening. The old water schemes are lying in a depleted state like these ones in Gursai Tanvi, Gursai More, Gursai Sar Sangiote, Dhargloon, Surhoothi, Ari, Chattral Pathanteer and the border belt of Balakote.
All these were to be completed by Jal Shakti but nothing ever was. Where did the sanctioned funds go? The officials of that time know the best. If the spade work has been done then might as well complete them.
Nadeem did mention that he had met the District Development Commissioner Poonch and had also submitted to him a detailed general grievance memorandum of Mendhar Sub Division to him and that included pending projects of drinking water, transformer repairs which is perennial problem, sports stadium that is a big necessity for the youth, road connectivity, black topping of roads such as BG-Mendhar-Balnoi road and a Trauma health centre for Balakote. All these are basic requirements of the people in a civilized society!
If a place has to be developed then the basic requirements have to be there and once they are there then they have to be maintained. It cannot be possible that once a job has been executed and the funds for maintenance do not follow as and when they are demanded. But the question is that are they ever utilized? The general grievance of the people also is that very substandard material is used though on the ledgers everything would be spick and span. It’s time that all this is checked because the government exchequer has been looted and it’s time to stop the loot and get on with things in a proper manner!