Sonbanjar — J&K’s Budgam village without electricity from decades

Sonbanjar is a remote village of around 120 houses on the borderline between southern Kashmir’s Pulwama and central Kashmir’s Budgam districts.

Srinagar, J&K —

The villagers of a remote village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district have been running from pillar to post with their pleas, asking officials to restore electricity to their village from the last many decades.

Sonbanjar is a remote village of around 120 houses on the borderline between southern Kashmir’s Pulwama and central Kashmir’s Budgam districts.

As per the local residents, the village is without electricity from the past more than 20 years. The villagers complain of government apathy as they are forced to live in the dark in the digital age.

“The village was electrified some 20 years ago. But many electric poles and wires were damaged following storm and heavy snowfall in the later years. The damaged infrastructure has not been put in place since then and we are forced to live in the dark. Our repeated pleas to the government have fell on deaf ears,” said Mohammad Qasim Paswal, Naib-Sarpanch of the village said.

Shakoor Ahmad, another local said, “Residents, who are better off, buy solar power setups on loan. Since we are Scheduled Tribe, we get some subsidy. But the poor in this village use lighted wood sticks and candles to do household work. We also use lanterns.”

Given the absence of electricity, the houses do not have a single power plug-point. Many people go to nearby areas where there is electricity to charge their mobile phones and battery-powered lights.

Many students also complained that they can not continue their studies through online classes due to non-availability of electricity. “We have to literally struggle every day to charge our mobile phones,” a girl student says.

When questioned, Nazir Ahmad Malik, Executive Engineer, PDD Pulwama said the village is getting electricity from Budgam.

Concerned AEE of the area, however, informed that a transformer is installed at the village. He said two more transformers will be installed soon in order to restore electricity.

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Dil-Paziir (Urdu; meaning ‘heart-pleasing’) is a special edition news series by Digpu, sourced from conflict areas, starting from Kashmir. Our local journalists have successfully shared many inspirational stories from the valley. From the invention of E-Charkha to the first-ever cricket tourney for Blind sportsmen, all the stories make us awe-struck. These are NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.

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Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories that need to be told. With a special focus on data journalism, the journo also writes about happenings, events and everything that matters.

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