Residents of 550 villages lament that LS aspirants overlook rural issues in discussions

Tribune News Service

Manmeet Singh Gill

Amritsar, May 19th

When it comes to elections, all the candidates in the fray have promised to transform Amritsar into a world-class city with state-of-the-art facilities, but at least 550 villages in the Lok Sabha (LS) constituency residents feel left behind. They complain that their concerns are rarely mentioned in discourse about political parties and their candidates.

Although nearly 60 per cent of the population of Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency lives in rural areas, the main focus of political parties and candidates is on cities and their residents, lamenting village residents. They complain of poor road connectivity, health facilities, schools and even electricity supply.

Residents said that rural primary health centers and community health centers previously had specialists, but they have been moved to urban areas. “Currently, most clinics in mohallas have community health officers, some of whom do not even have MBBS. In case of an emergency, people have to go to the city for treatment. No,” said Raman Kumar, a resident of Daoke village in the border area.

“It may sound strange to people who live in cities, but there is no waste collection system in any village. Waste dumping is seen along roads in almost all villages,” said Jasveer Singh. he complained, adding that no political party or candidate even cared about the issue.

A resident of Mohawa village Gursevak Singh said, “In September 2016, a school bus fell into a drain, killing seven school children. Eight years later, more than 20 bridges over the drain are still in place. “There are no handrails. None of the candidates even promised to install handrails,” he said, adding that the roads were in poor condition in most areas.

Rural residents said while issues such as state-of-the-art railway stations, improved air links and the development of tourism facilities found room for discussion by political parties, village issues were often ignored.

“There is no doubt that improved air connectivity and increased tourism are good for the city’s economy, but why is there silence on issues such as declining water tables? They are forced to dig tube wells up to 400 feet deep. It costs at least 200,000 rupees to install one tube well. Why are they promising canal water to their farmland? said another village resident.

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