Jitendra faces public wrath; leaves function in huff
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Omnipresent Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on Saturday tasted a bitter pill after large number of angry residents of Kandi belt staged protest demonstration to highlight their genuine grievances related to poor road conditions, lack of drinking water supply and uninterrupted power supply in the area.
The vocal protests erupted soon after Dr Jitendra Singh left the venue of a function where he was invited as Chief Guest. Security personnel had to struggle hard to keep these protesters at bay while Dr Singh was boarding his official cavalcade amid loud slogans.
Dr Singh faced this precarious situation in the presence of special guests who accompanied him to the Government Higher secondary school, Budhi.
The school was adopted by the Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC) India Foundation in partnership with Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) under the corporate responsibility endeavour.
The main objective behind adopting the school was to create better drinking water and sanitation facilities ahead of declaring Kathua as first Open defecation free (ODF) district in the state.
Narrating long list of their grievances, the angry residents of Kandi belt of Kathau district told reporters, they wanted to apprise their Member Parliament about various hardships faced by them. “But instead of listening to our grievances he chose to move away and boarded his car”, the said angrily.
The agitated residents claimed when Dr Jitendra Singh visited their area during campaigning he had assured them of sorting out the issue of drinking water supply and better road network. They alleged now when he is sitting in the PMO people of the area continue to face numerous hardships.
The angry residents claimed they felt cheated as their public representative fled away than facing them.
“Today he ran away but next time when he will visit the area he will be greeted with stones. We are fed up of hearing lofty promises and hollow assurances; we want to see concrete action on ground zero”.
The angry residents claimed that eversince the alliance government was formed, these leaders have been claiming Bio-Tech Park, Keerian Gandyal Bridge, Medical College and Seed Processing Unit will prove to be a game changer for Kathua district by providing employment and as well as opening other avenues of development. “We are not interested in these projects, we want basic amenities in place and these leaders have failed to address our genuine grievances”, locals lamented.
Meanwhile, Dr Jitendra Singh earlier said that whatever be the turmoil and whatever be the circumstances on the borders, this is not going to deter the Modi government’s resolve for “Vikas” (development), particularly of the sensitive areas in a border district like Kathua.
“There is no time to wait for the last gun to fall silent”, he said and added, development process will continue notwithstanding the nature of prevailing circumstances.
Dr Jitendra Singh was speaking at a programme at village Buddhi to launch, the first of its kind, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Development Project in four villages of district Kathua, namely Buddhi, Mearth, Nanan and Nagrota.
The project to be taken up by PwC in collaboration with SEEDS (Sustainable Environment & Ecological Development Society) will, to begin with, spend approximately Rs. 40 lakh and take up the repair and renovation of 19 rooms of school building as well as renovation of four toilet blocks in Buddhi which happens to be one of the larger villages of Kathua district inhabiting more than 700 families with a population of nearly 4000. At the same time, other works will also be taken up which include developing a water harvesting mechanism to promote water conservation system in the community, landscaping of the entire area through planting, etc. and community mobilization and trust building by conducting workshops to promote awareness about the community subjects like storage and consumption of drinking water, management of solid waste, safe public health and sanitation practices, knowledge and environment conservation practices and promoting safety against hazards among students and teachers.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, PwC is a global house devoted to community building and the launch of today’s project also marks the initiation of best global practices for community and rural development in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Its collaboration with “SEEDS” is also expected to ensure environmental and ecological safeguards of international standards, he added.
Lashing out at the drawing-room critics, who have in the last few days been raising questions about the alleged unfulfilled promises by elected representatives in the border area, Dr Jitendra Singh said, we live in an evidence-based era and the evidence is here for anybody to come and see. He said, the first of its kind, project to build 1140 hi-tech Sulabh toilets in border villages of Hiranagar is in progress and nearly 200 toilets are already complete. If anybody has doubt about this fact, he challenged, he can come and use one of these toilets, refresh himself and testify the proper functioning condition of the same.
About bunkers, Dr Jitendra Singh said, those who say no bunkers have come up should go to the LoC area from where the bunker construction has started and gradually, the bunker construction will proceed on towards the International Border. He said, those who mislead by telling the lie that no bunkers have been constructed would do well to recall that the same wise-worthies had, three months back, complained about water having gone into these bunkers because of poor rainfall management during monsoons. If there were no bunkers, then where did they see the water pouring in and into which bunker, he asked. However, he said, Govt is open to the recent suggestion to have individual house bunkers instead of community bunkers and necessary amends will be made accordingly.
About another common accusation about 5 marla land not being provided to the families living in the border areas, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it was he and his colleagues in BJP who first raised this issue when in opposition and in the first year of the Modi government itself, the commitment was fulfilled. If anybody has doubt, he said, he is welcome to visit the office of the J&K State Government Revenue Department where the file is available containing documents earmarking 80 canals of land for the purpose in Hiranagar itself. However, he said, the process of allotment to individual families was deferred in larger national interest when the inputs came from the Defence and Home Ministries that this might lead to borders getting vacated or plots getting resold and thus, an alternative suggestion came up to build government owned hutments without making allotments to individual families. The subject is therefore awaiting a final decision after taking everybody into confidence, he said, and those who try to play politics on this issue are doing gross injustice to national security and sovereignty.
Dr Jitendra Singh asked why not a single leader or political party had hailed the decision by the Modi government to raise the compensation of the border firing victims and make it at par with the victims of terrorism. Why this decision could not be taken in the past 60 years, he asked.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, it has been his commitment ever since he was elected MP from the area to develop Kathua as a model district and as an example for other districts to follow. Today’s launch is one step forward in the same direction, he said.