Nightmare for KP's return plan


Shehjar Newsmagazine

ith the state government turning a blind eye towards the miseries of Kashmiri Migrant employees at Vessu, the situation is going from bad to worse. Notwithstanding the tall promises of Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Raman Bhalla and Relief Commissioner, the ground situation is alarming.

Female employees are the worst hit with some whistle blowers being victimised by creating acute water scarcity especially in their blocks. The inhabitants of G & H block are the worst hit as some of the whistle blowers belong to these blocks who have been raising the issue of water scarcity from time to time and confronting the authorities.

Inamtes forced to collect water and wash utencils in a 'Ganda Nallah' that contains all the filth of the national highway

The situation is such that a few female employees have been under acute stress and have turned hypertensive. These employees have lost their private life due to indifference of the authorities as they have to spend most of their time in the morning as well as in evening in storing water which too does not last long as water supply is thrown open only once in twenty four hours that too at the time when employees are on their way back and are unable to store the water because the tanks get emptied till they reach their homes.

When contacted one of the employees of Relief Department at Block A2 told this scribe that he was unable to help as water was a scarcity but was unable to reply why only G&H blocks face acute water shortage. He said that there was no officer incharge at the camp and a couple of them were managing affairs from Jammu itself while DC relief pays occasional visits.

The inmates of G&H blocks said that they have to keep the toilets covered as there was not enough water to flush the toilets thus creating foul smell in the rooms making their life more miserable. They said that they store the water in bottles and whatever they find to keep water for cooking food adding their life has been made miserable by the Relief authorities who were too arrogant to respond to their grievances. There were allegations that some relief officers have allotted quarters to their blue eyed employees for only two persons while others were managing with three or even four families per quarter.

Stinking toilet remains covered due to scarcity of water

There are reports that some close relatives of the relief department officers have been allotted special guest houses to accommodate their extended families who are on summer vacations in Kashmir while others have been running from pillar to post to fight for water etc.

The accompanying pictures are self explanatory as one can see three cooking gases in one small kitchen while rooms have to be shared by two families each leaving no scope for privacy and thus giving rise to BP, Stress, Hypertension and even big quarrels among the inmates.

According to health experts the situation was alarming and day was not far away when stress diabetes would hit the employees besides making them hypertensive.

Observers feel that whole drama of Return Package was only a political gimmick while in reality the package has turned into a nightmare for the migrant employees adding with salaries yet to be disbursed to most of them the employees were also facing shortage of money thus unable to arrange for private accommodation.

The inmates alleged that Relief authorities were behaving as if they were providing alms to these employees by allotting quarters without basic necessities available and that too on sharing basis.

They cited an example of the indifference of the state government saying while Syed Ali Shah Geelani had the time to visit the camp, even if that was for his political purpose, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was yet to visit the camp even though the camp exists on National Highway and recently Omar had travelled from Jammu to Srinagar in his car meeting various delegations on the way but preferred not to stop for a while at the camp and ask the welfare of these hapless employees.

Winter in Vessu Quarters

They regretted that the government has taken them for a ride by providing a few jobs and forgetting all about their necessities at the camp that too when the whole package consists of 6000 employments while only 1700 have been recruited.

The employees alleged that the funds from centre meant for their salaries and welfare were being diverted as most of them have not been paid salaries despite the fact that it was centre that was funding the project.

They also said that they supported the government’s return plan on the verbal assurances of the leaders that all facilities would be provided while now the relief authorities were backtracking on accommodation issue.

The employees said that if this was the treatment the government was meting out to the employees who have become an eye sore for the traditional Kashmiri Pandit leadership for accepting the job offers, one can well visualise how serious Omar government was in taking Pandits back to their homes.

A few employees on the condition of anonymity told this scribe that if the conditions were not improved they would leave the jobs and sit on a dharna at Jantar Mantar at New Delhi on foot to highlight how J&K government was taking KPs for a ride.

Meanwhile a survey of the entire camp is enough to gauge the fact that common sense has not been applied while creating the infrastructure or the gaps have been left deliberately by the engineers and contractors for obvious reasons.

Congested kitchens

A cursory look of the water supply system indicates the loopholes in the system as all the tanks are interconnected having one inlet and one outlet for the water which results in water shortage to many and abundance to others.

Due to this faulty system those who conserve water pay for the follies of those who use more water as with single inlet and out let for all the tanks of two blocks the person who uses more water is actually putting others to trouble for no fault of theirs.

Husband of a camp inmate employee told this scribe that he has collected all the data from the camp and has seen many missing links which indicates huge bungling in the construction of the infrastructure adding he was going to file an RTI besides taking up the case with National Human Rights Commission as well seek a probe into the whole system through Supreme Court.

He said that during his investigation many missing links have come to fore adding he has already sent the data to various authorities because the mafia was too strong to be handled.

He however ridiculed the traditional leadership of Pandits for leaving their community people in lurch for accepting the job offer saying nobody can live on hallow promises of the leaders and they must come forward and take up the issues of the migrant employees facing hardships in Kashmir valley.

He also sought the help of the media to expose the scandal which according him runs into several crores adding this can be another multi-crore scandal in the offing.

Photo glimpses of Vessu Migrant Employee Camp also known as Kashmiri Pandit Colony during last winter and the current water scarcity. Images by King C Bharati

A glimpse of Vessu Quarters

Storing water in whatever they can find

Even in winters water was collected from the fallling icicles at Vessu Quarters

Children of lesser God at Vessu camp

Inamtes forced to collect water and wash their utencils in a 'Gandha Nallah' that contains all the filth of the national highway

Mess in Vessu Quarters

Congested kitchens

Imaginary Rooms separated by beddings, almirahs or blankets to demarcate boundary

This is the only shop at Vessu Quarters

Work on new flats at snails pace

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