We compile a list of the burning demands of Paddar in this article.
1. Schedule Tribe Status to all the communities of Paddar
The neighbouring areas of Pangi (H.P) and Zanskar (Ladakh) once dependent on Paddar area in respect of commodities upto late 70’s have progressed leaps and bounds by virtue of constitutional mechanism of Schedule Tribe and Hill Development Council instruments leaving area of Paddar far behind in all walks of life. The people of Paddar area have age old relations of Roti and Beti with the people of these areas and have all the similarities whether socio-economic, geographical, customs and rights with Pangi and Zanskar but Paddar has witnessed the heights of bias, neglect, discrimination and step motherly treatments during last 70 years. Few years back the Govt. of India was to grant ST status to a tiny sector of Budhists living in the upper reaches of Paddar. Not even a single male/female matriculate student of this community is unemployed but a large chunk of other students are crossing age bar limit every month despite higher degrees. The people of Paddar demand either Schedule Tribe Staus to Paddar or Hill Development Council for the Sub Division Paddar on the pattern of neighbouring Pangi and Zanskar area so as to give an end to the age old discrimination.
2. Kirthai Hydro Electric Power Projects in Paddar
This Kirthai Hydro Electric Projects in Paddar, Kirthai I 930 MW and Kirthai II 390 MW are being talked of for the last more than 35 years but every time is being put off on one pretext or the other by the successive governments either on the region or religion basis reasons best to the rulers of the time. Therefore, we strongly demand that this project may be taken up at the earliest so as to give employment to thousands of local unemployed youths.
3. Degree College and ITI to Paddar
The entire Sub-Division Paddar stands declared as Reserved Backward Area (RBA) but is lagging behind in respect of literacy rate compared to other similarly situated backward areas like neighbouring Zanskar and Pangi areas of Himachal Pradesh. Out of about 41 colleges relocated the demand of Degree College for Paddar people has not been paid any heed. Strange enough the poor students of the remote areas of Paddar like Suncham, Hango, Haloti, Tun, Bhatwas etc. have to travel a distance of more than 50 kms on foot to reach Higher Secondary School, Atholi and then 65 kms by Bus to reach District Headquarter for higher education. At present there are 8 High Schools in the whole Sub-Division Paddar. Therefore, we demand opening of a Degree College in the entire backward (RBA) area Paddar by upgrading existing 30 years old 10+2 School at Atholi.
4. The need of Mata Machail Shrine Board.
The pilgrimage tourism in the area is picking up fast. It is therefore demanded strongly that Mata Machail pilgrimage be formed a Shrine Board on Mata Vaishno Devi pattern so that the affairs of the pilgrimage is handled smoothly.
5. Upgradation of Girls High School Atholi to Higher Secondary Level.
The only girls High School Atholi Paddar need be upgraded to higher secoondary level so as to provide opportunities to the poor local girls for getting higher education who otherwise abandon their education after middle or matriculation due to poverty or inaccessability.
6. Gulabgarh to Machail Road
As is known the Machail Mata has become a center of religious pilgrimage for thousands of devotees from within and outside the state. This portion of road about 35 kms, although taken up under PMGSY, is on a very slow pace. In addition, the remote villages like Kabban, Ungai, Chitto, Tun, Gandhari etc. need also be connected with road.
7. Munsif Court in Paddar
It is heartening to point out that all judicial court i.e Munsif, Sub-Judge and District and Session Courts are stationed at District Headquarter Kishtwar and the poor people of Paddar have to come down after travelling a distance of 30-40kms on foot and 65 kms by Bus for seeking justice at Kishtwar. It is therefore requested that the Munsif Court may kindly be sanctioned for Sub-Division Paddar by shifting the same from Kishtwar.
8. Extraction of world famous Sapphire in Paddar
For reasons not known, the extraction work of Sapphire from old famous Sapphire mines of Paddar situated near Machail have not been started for last decades as a result unemployment to the poor has been denied. It is therefore prayed to kindly issue the orders for extraction of Paddar Sapphire which may give crores to Government coffers.
9. Pseudo-Secularism of successive Governments
Glaringly, the Paddar area has all the similarities of hostile weather and other socio-economic conditions with that of the neighbouring Bhalessa and Warwan areas. These areas have been provided representation in the Upper House six times and first time respectively ignoring Paddar again either on region or religion basis. We strongly demand that Paddar area be given the opportunity of representation in the Upper House.
10. Ban on cutting of green forests through SFC
Despite the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on cutting of green gold forests, ruthless cutting of green trees is going on unabated in connivance with administration, forest mafia and politicians through SFC posing a great threat to the environment strongly demand that cutting of green/fallen/dry forest may kindly be banned/stopped showing due regards to the directions of the Hon’ble Apex Court.
11. Scholarship to the students of Paddar area.
Scholarship on the pattern of Pahari speaking students of poonch, Rajouri as also Zanskar may kindly be provided to the Poor Students of Paddar area studying in various academic/professional Institutions in various cities and towns of state.
12. Electrification of more than 20 revenue villages of Paddar.
More than 20 revenue villages are still in the darkness like the men of primitive ages. It is demanded that all these villages like Palaali, Machail, Hango, Haloti, Suncham, Ishtiyari, Gandhari, Kabban, Ungai etc. be electrified. Till then these villages be provided solar lights on priority basis.
13. Gearing up of the construction of Atholi-Gulabgarh suspension bridge.
It is strange that the Atholi Gulabgarh Bridge in question has not been completed despite the lapse of more than 8 years to link the two developing townships of Atholi and Gulabgarh.
All the demands are genuine and needs to be addressed as early as possible for the betterment of the Paddar area.
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