Srinagar, Nov 28: People of Fakir Gujri, a small but beautiful hamlet located on a hillock, on Srinagar outskirts has been voting for the past 60 years to see their homes rebuild and schools, colleges for their children, but to no avail. This time, people of this area have decided to vote for local candidates—an opportunity given to them by first ever District Development Commissioner (DDC) polls with a hope that the area will witness better housing, quality education for their children.
“Sixty years have passed. We have always voted in favour of one or the other party, but nothing on ground happened in Fakir Gujri area,” 80-year-old Ghulam Rabani told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
He said that the people of Fakir Gujri have never boycotted polls. “We had been voting for development, but all the politicians ditched us on one or the other pretext. They came in cars to seek votes leaving behind tall claims and hollow promises,” he said. “Today, we have an opportunity in the form of DDC polls where we can choose our own candidate, who belongs to our own community. Perhaps, he would understand our pain and issues better than those who backstabbed us.”
Fakir Gujri witnessed a direct contest between a BJP candidate and an independent candidate from the area. “We have a golden chance to elect a candidate who lives in our area. If he would fail like those who got our votes in the past, we can tomorrow hold him with his collar and make him answerable,” said Muhammad Rafiq Bara, who was waiting in a long queue, to exercise his right to vote.
In Fakir Gujri, people have been craving for development that includes better housing, drinking water, roads, schools and colleges. “Look at our area, we are living in dilapidated houses, plus we don’t have schools and colleges for our children here,” said Muneer Ahmed Kohli, a local resident, adding that “Today, we have voted for development and better housing. We hope to see construction of new houses for every voter in Fakir Gujri besides, we hope to see schools and colleges in our area so that our children can get quality education at their door steps, which has been a dream so far.”
Showkat Ahmed Khatana, another resident, said that roads are in shambles in Fakir Gujri area while education for children is full of challenges. “There should be at least a few higher secondary schools and half a dozen primary schools here. Besides, there should be quality health care centre or a mini hospital to meet emergency needs,” he said. He said that after choosing a candidate, “we will ensure that he delivers as DDC polls are being held with an aim that one would get governance right at the door steps. We have voted for our local candidate today with a hope that our issues are addressed on priority and without delay.”—(KNO)