BJP MLC expresses hope to see the Valley to be a great tourist destination; people hail army  
Jehangir Ahmad
Srinagar, July 17: The maiden Bangus Valley festival, organized by locals in collaboration with army, gave locals an occasion to vent grievance and to attract the attention of the government towards their plight.
“Water from Bangus is supplied to entire Kupwara and Baramulla while locals are kept bereft of the potable water,” a local speaker said in his address to gathering, around 5000 people, at Bangus Valley.
“Around 10 thousand people are living in this meadow. They are without drinking water. There is no road connectivity either. Education is important but here in Bungus, there is no school. At least government should establish a mobile school here so that the children from downtrodden people can avail education benefits,” another speaker said.
Talking about possibility of having road connectivity, the speaker said there are at least three ways to reach Bungus. “One is from Rajwar, second is from Mawer and third one from Chowkibal but at all three places, there is no direct road connectivity upto the bungus. People have to travel by foot around seven kilometers to reach the Bungus which is very much hectic,” the speaker said.
Hailing the role of army, the speaker said: “We are very much thankful to army for everything. If people of this area get any assistance, that only comes from the army. Army is providing medicines to the poor people besides conducting health camps. We are caring them and they are caring us.”
The speaker said that whatever is provided to people comes from the army.
“Does the government have duty towards us? If someone among us falls sick or any domestic develops any problem, army provides helping hand including medicine.”
General Secretary Bungus Development Youth Forum, Ghulam Rasool Geelani while speaking on the occasion said that the organisation is a society and it works to highlight problems facing locals and endeavours to ameliorate them.
People from several villages from Mawer, Rajwar and Tanghdar come to graze domestic animals and stay here for almost six months.
The locals, he said, provide them whatever they can manage in difficult times. The locals, he said, are craving for even fundamental rights.
“The festival has been organized to highlight the plight of people and we seek to bring to the notice of the government all the difficulties faced by us,” he said, adding, “Our Prime Minister, Narendra  Modi wants to uplift the downtrodden sections of the society and we are eagerly waiting for his assistance to uplift us,” he said and sought attention of the chief guest, Surinder Ambardar, BJP MLC.
“The Bangus Valley has a huge tourism potential and if the government develops it, the youth of Bangus Valley will get employment and in turn hundreds of families will be benefitted and their living standards would get improved.”
Deputy Commander of 7 sector said that soldiers and locals live like brothers here. He stressed need for providing better education avenues to the locals.
Commanding Officer, 21 RR while speaking on the occasion said that army was with people.
“People talk about Gulmarg today but it was not developed overnight. Somebody might have organized a small festival leading towards developing of the Gulmarg and today it’s a name on world’s tourism map. My sincere prayers are that this Bungus festival may prove to be precursor for Bungus Valley to be the most frequented place for tourists across the globe,” he said.
Senior BJP leader and MLC Surinder Ambardar said that it was historic opportunity for him to be in the beautiful Valley. “This place doesn’t belong to people of Kupwara or people of India alone, this is tourist destination for people from across the globe,” he said.
Echoing the army commander, the BJP MLC expressed hope that the Bangus too will fine on the world map as best tourist place like Switzerland.
“I remember that when Prime Minister Modi inaugurated Udhampur tunnel, he called talking development to every nook and corner of Kashmir. He said that people will never support sponsors of terrorism but they will go with development. The tourism potential will be utilized to the optimum,” he said.
He also highlighted various initiatives taken by the Prime Minister in alleviating the problems of poor and steps taken for better living condition. He also highlighted the Prime Minister’s leading campaign against open defecation through Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. He also announced to set up within a month mobile school for the children of the area and has also announced setting of 25 eco-toilets in Bungus.
Meanwhile, army also distributed 25 solar lights and announced to distribute 100 more in next month.
Bungus Valley youth Forum, Patron and President of Kissan Morcha President Ghulam Mohidin Sheikh also spoke on the occasion and urged government to take notice of their plight.
At last before the function culminated, the local boys presented some interesting games including Wushu, Karate followed by horse ride which caught the attention of all the visitors in the health resort meadow.