Protests Erupt in IIOJK over Development Projects and Water CrisisDecember 28, 2023
In a display of widespread discontent, the town of Katra in the Reasi district of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a complete shutdown in opposition to perceived anti-people policies of the authorities. The focal point of the protest was a proposed ropeway project in Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills.
According to recent reports, shopkeepers and other stakeholders staged a protest rally, expressing concerns that the construction of the ropeway could lead to job losses for them. Additionally, anxiety surrounds the ongoing work on the Delhi-Katra Expressway, with fears that it may divert traffic directly to Tarakote, sidelining the historic town of Katra.
The demonstrators took to the streets, rallying against what they perceive as a threat to their livelihoods. The protest, however, concluded peacefully after assurances from the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The board promised a second meeting next month to address the concerns raised by the shopkeepers and service providers before commencing work on the proposed project.
Simultaneously, residents of Magam, Budgam, expressed their frustration with a continuous 17-day water crisis by staging a protest against the Jal Shakti Department. The protesters gathered at the Jal Shakti Department, Handwara Division, condemning what they perceived as the department’s failure to ensure a regular supply of drinking water to the area.
During the protest, residents voiced their discontent with the perceived inefficiency of the Jal Shakti Department in resolving the prolonged water scarcity issue. Slogans were raised against the department, highlighting dissatisfaction with its handling of the water supply problem. The residents asserted that the area had been grappling with a severe water shortage for the past 17 days, and they criticized the authorities for not taking effective measures to restore the water supply.
These protests underscore the growing frustration among residents in the region over perceived neglect and unfavorable policies, both in terms of developmental projects and essential services like water supply. The incidents reflect a call for greater responsiveness from authorities to address the genuine concerns of the people and ensure sustainable development without compromising their livelihoods.