Tosamaidan, the largest meadow in Kashmir Valley is becoming battle ground for 2014 Assembly Elections and all the three major political parties including Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are using new tactics to appease the voters.
All these parties have started rallying around the campaign to oppose the lease extension to Army for Tosamaidan firing range in central district of Budgam which expires March 2014.
Spread over around 3000 kanals of land, Tosamaidan meadow in district Budgam was taken over by the Army for 50-year lease in 1964 for the purpose of conducting artillery drills in the area. The Army has now approached the Revenue Department for extension of the lease as it has made a permanent base in the alpine meadow.
According to locals, all the political leaders are busy in assuring people that they would allow lease to get extended. In Shunglipora area of Khag, State Congress Chief, Professor Saif-u-Din Soz went a step ahead by claiming that he would press upon Congress High Command in New Delhi to intervene into the matter and stop the extension of lease.
“I assure you that lease would not be extended but you people have to make our candidate Nazir Ahmed Khan successful during 2014 Assembly elections. Congress party is the only party which has access to power corridors in New Delhi,” Soz told people during rally.
Reports said that National Conference is also playing active role and is given an impression that this party is going to oppose the extension of lease by tooth and nail. Party’s probable candidate, Abdul Majid Matoo is rallying people around him and is going door to door to garner the support of the people.
Sitting MLA and PDP leader Dr Mohammad Shafi Wani has threatened that he would start ‘Satyagriha’ if the government would extend the lease to Army. “Being the representative of people it is my duty to be on forefront. Whatever I have been doing is apolitical. It’s my belief that if we all stop politics on this issue only then we would be able to attain our goal,” Wani told CNS adding that he is going to launch an agitation in this regard from Tuesday.
Besides political parties, J&K RTI Movement and Tosamaidan Bachao Front (an amalgam of Panchayat representatives of Tosamaidan area) has also been set-up to press upon the government not to extend the lease to Army.
Peoples Democratic Front Chairman, Hakim Yasin has also started making people aware about the ugly impact of the extension of lease. He said that it is right time that we bring Tosamaidan on tourist map and add its beauty.
‘As per official records more than 60 people have been killed and hundreds have got maimed permanently due to mishaps by unexploded shells