Kishtwar is an epitome of discrimination: A local’s point of view


Citizen Journalist Report by Dawood Bashir

Kishtwar, March 05: Kishtwar district, which has a glorifying past since times immemorial has a history that dates back to the era of Raja-Maharajas and was a princely state till 1821 AD. After 1821 it merged with Udhampur district and become a tehsil. It was carved out as a new district from the Erstwhile Doda district in 2007, with a ray of hope for lacs of populace hoping a new era of developmental activities would begin in the area but those aspirations turned to ashes.
Kishtwar district which covers an area of about 7824 Sq. Kms is the third largest district of the state next to Leh and Kargil, it shares its boundary with Himachal pradesh on one side, Zanskar and Anantnag on another and with Doda and Ramban district on the otherside. The geography of the district is very tough and mostly mountainous terrain.
Joke for a Highway
It is connected through all-weather National Highway 1B (244), which due to ill maintenance and repeated rainfall during the last year has turned it into a mere link road.
Sinking Land
The construction of Baglihar Hydroelectric project (BHEP) led to formation of a drastic lake ( catchment area) due to which entire stretch is sinking thereby staking the lives of millions. The urgent need of the hour is the re-alignment of the entire stretch and construction of a tunnel at Sudhmahadev-Marmat and a four way national highway in order to safeguard the interest of over 1.5 million population residing in Chenab valley.
Each Sector suffering
It is very unfortunate to say that each and every sector is in a shambles. Whether it is the Health department, Education department, Revenue department, Tourism department, PHE department, PDD, R&B department, ULB, Sports department and the list of departments continues. The staff position in all these departments is too bad to explain.
Ailing Health
Kishtwar comprises of three sub-divisons viz; Marwah, Chatroo and Padder. Kishtwar district has one District Hospital, one CHC, PHCs, sub-centres and no Sub-District Hospital (SDH) has been sanctioned for such a vast and diverse district.
Marwah sub-division has a Community Health Centre (CHC) and remaining two sub-divisions have Primary Health Centres (PHC) as the highest Health institutions in place have no staff at all. Out of the total sanctioned staff only a few have been filled and even these too remain absent adding to the miseries of poor people.
Power scenario is again at it’s worst, Marwah subdivision which is the largest subdivision comprises of three tehsils is almost totally unelectrified. Padder sub-division does have electricity but only in a few tehsils wherein 11KV of electricity reaches homes despite the 33 KV line that was sanctioned years ago.
Failed Education
Most of the schools in district Kishtwar fall in 3rd and 2nd zone i.e; in hilly areas wherein the staff number are too low and again most of them prefer remaining absent thereby affecting the studies of poor students badly.
Government Degree College (GDC) which was sanctioned way back in 1986 has very few subject combinations and same is the case with Kishtwar campus of Jammu University where the PG subjects are of no use because these subjects don’t even exist at college level. Government Polytechnic College (GPC) is being run on private accommodation, only the land has been identified and construction process hasn’t seen the day’s light.
No tourist for Kishtwar’s beauty
Despite the fact that the government of J&K created Kishtwar Development Authority (KDA) in order to tap the vast tourism potential but no such efforts are visible on ground and the department has miserably failed in attracting the tourists.
The meadows and picturesque beauty of Marwah, Padder, Warwan, Sinthantop, Margantop, Mughal Maidan needs to be brought on the tourism map of India. The snowclad peaks of Kishtwar viz; Cerro, Brahma, Sickle Moon etc are world famous which attract foreign mountaineers every year and one notable inter state link Killar-Kishtwar is also famous globally which also attracts many a thousand tourists.
Mineral Wealth
Kishtwar district has an enormous potential of mineral wealth. Sapphire mines of Padder are world famous but the work on extraction of mineral was abandoned due to reasons best known to the authorities. It is the only district in Jammu division where saffron is grown economically.
The state of J&K actually has the potential of becoming the richest state in South-Asia with highest per capita income but that is possible only if the whole of Hydroelectric potential is tapped fully, and the biggest contribution in that way will be of Kishtwar district which has a potential nearing 9000 MWs of hydroelectric power generation in these projects which are sadly in pipeline Ratle, Kiru, Kwar, Pakal Dul, Bursar Kirthaie etc.

Kishtwar has an important role to play in Jammu and Kashmir’s prosperity, but none of the governments has paid any attention to the district.

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