KL NEWS NETWORK
Hagnikote is a sparsely populated far-off village in foothills of Nowgam Sector Mountains in North Kashmir’s Langate constituency of Kupwara district. It is the last village on the South-Western side of Tarathpora Tehsil.
Majority of the adult population is illiterate who speak Pahari and make their ends meet by labour work.
The villagers face many problems due to either lack of basic facilities or maintenance of these.
There is no drinking water supply facility available in the village and the inhabitants make beeline to the stream to fetch drinking water.
Rural development department has made a few drinking water facilities available; however, the general public does not get benefited from these facilities. “The families, in whose yard the well is, control and don’t allow neighbours to make use of the facilities,” says Kalam Din, a septuagenarian.
There is a primary school in the village and villagers complain that teachers “are not punctual.” “They are residents of other villages and come to school whenever they wish,” complains Din.
The village has a dispensary and a Para-medic is posted there but villagers complain that “he is rarely seen” at the dispensary. In the event of medical need the villagers have to go to Tarathpora hospital, which is five miles away from Hangnikoot, to get treated.
There is no continuous public transport facility between this village and Tarathpora despite that there is huge need for it. “We go to other villages and towns for work every day walking due lack of transport,” says Bashir Ahmad Cheechi. The patients have to walk on foot to reach hospital in Tarathpora.
“Few days ago my mother fell ill and I had to carry her on my back because we found no conveyance to take us to Tarthpora hospital,” says a teenaged boy Ghulam Mustafa.
As one walks through Hagnikote, the inner footpaths are still covered with a thin layer of snow. Last week village saw heavy snowfall and that cut it off from rest of the valley.
“For four to five days we got stuck in our homes and no one came here to clear the snow,” says Bashir Ahmad Cheechi.
Villagers are aghast at their local lawmaker Engineer Abdul Rasheed for his “carelessness” towards the area. “Engineer sahib is busy winning accolades in city but visits us only at the time of elections,” says an infuriated Mustafa. “He doesn’t even direct the administration to provide us basic facilities.” “How can he direct the officials to solve our problems when he doesn’t even know that we exist!” answers Hussain Khatana with a giggle.