April 1999 News

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Border children live with bleak future

9th April 1999
Daily Excelsior
By: Hardit Singh Gill

BRARIPURA: No electricity, non-existant health care facilities, contaminated water supply, bleak future of the children, unprecedented shelling from across the border and to top it, the complete apathy of the Government functionaries has become fate of the residents in some Border areas of the Uri.

Termed as the ‘Oasis of Peace’ in the turbulent Valley being just three kilometers away from border, the villages of Braripura, Kathal, Maiyan, Jambur Pattan, Dachhi, Nagadai, Bijhama and some other areas of the Uri are facing a steep decline in their educational and social standards.

With schools also being severely understaffed, the primary and secondary level education of the areas is worst hit and the youth have taken to loitering and roaming at the cost of studies.

"There are no teachers in some primary schools of our area, so peons and class four employees are teaching" says Sayed Sidiq, a teacher by profession.

"Senior schools are also understaffed resulting in the degradation of our educational standards" he added.

Giving further details the residents revealed that Higher Secondary School Bijhama has only 3 teachers instead of required 11. Similarly Kathal school has only 1 teacher, Nagadai school has no principal and although middle school for boys and girls has been clubbed together at Maiyan, still the teaching strength is only 5 instead of 18.

In absence of the required environment for studies, the students in the area are neglecting their studies and have taken to roaming purposelessly.

"Such idleness may easily push them onto the path of gun and subsequent destruction, so it is a high time for the Government to look into the educational requirements of the area" stated another teacher of the area.

Another resident from Maiyan village complained that, the power lines in their area were washed away with floods, two years back. But since then the authorities have not restored power.

Stating that the power generating station is so near to them and yet the power so away, residents of Maiyan said that they have approached the authorities time and again, including Finance Minister who comes from Uri itself, but nothing has been done to re-electrify their village.

Another resident stated that the ration is being provide to him on the basis of 1971 census. Even as his family has doubled since, but it's strength continues to remain same on the Ration Card.

Residents also complained regarding difficulties they face in getting their ‘Border Cards’, non-possession of which invites the wrath of security forces on them.

To top the icing, residents further complained that they are facing total apathy from Government officials in the area, and they seldom come to visit them.

"Had it not been the Army which comes to our rescue every time we require assistance, we probably would have perished a long time back as the so called popular Government has left us to the dogs" lamented a group of women, huddled together at Braripura in connection with a civic action programme by Army.

Even as the Army was launching several welfare schemes for the residents, none of the senior Government officials barring some police officers and the District Information Officer were present.

Later talking to EXCELSIOR, a senior police officer said that they have to be very meticulous and strict while issuing the Border Cards as they can be easily misused by anti-national elements.

"Border cards can't be issued to anybody and everybody except the residents and that too after proper verification of the person's character and investigations take time" asserted the officer.

Later Army officials also revealed that the residents of the area are facing indifference of the authorities.

"We know that the teachers are not coming to the schools but we can't drag them to the schools. At the most we can inform civil authorities and it is up to them to take action" stated Brigadier Tej Sapru of the Uri Brigade.

He further revealed that the Army has done a lot of civic action activities for the residents of this area, for which the residents love them but ultimately it is the civil authority which has to take care of them.

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