M. Majid Malik
In absence of bridge in Shingani area in Bhalessa Doda district , people risk their life everyday to cross the river.
Just some kilometers from Gundoh headquarters, students from about a dozen villages carry their bags on head and cross the river.
“With no foot bridge in our area, we are forced to cross the swallowing river with bags on our heads. Even teachers have to carry the mid-day meal on their head while crossing the river. Sometimes the water is knee-deep,” said a student and added; “we usually skip our school owing to heavy rains or when water level has gone up in the river. “We use temporary installed wooden planks to cross this Nallah which is very risky, sometimes our bags slips and drown in the water and we have to go back home. Both boys and girls are scare to cross. If there is rain, we skip school due to risk of slipping.” students said.
The group of students said it is very difficult for girls to manage. “The boys don’t have much problem but the girls face problem crossing the bridge. If there is fog in the morning, then we face the risk of slipping. The hazardous river crossing is a lifeline for the residents, who have no choice but to face danger every day in order to go shopping , schools , college or meet friends and family who live the various other villages of the Shingani river in Bhalessa area of Doda district.”
This log on the river is only way to government High School Bharthi ,GHSS Gowari, GHS School Kilhotran and Degree College Kilhotran.
“We are forced to live the life which our parents used to live as there is no change in our lives here in terms of roads, medical, electricity and potable drinking water. Since decades, neither our elected representatives nor government in power took stock of our situation, said Sanjay Manhas a local of Bhalessa.
The parents are concerned about the safety of their children who use this wooden crossing daily to go to school. They want government should sanction proper iron bridge on this Nallah so that people could not face much problem in future.
“The matter has been taken up several times with the concerned authorities but due to their casual approach, the residents of the area have suffered a lot,” alleged locals.