The Hero of Udhampur
- Bhakti Kothari
- Published on 28 Feb 2021, 4:49 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
Through his various initiatives, IAS officer Piyush Singla is developing the city of Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir, as also uplifting the lives of people and farmers.
- IAS Piyush Singla talking to the farmers
The District Capital and the Northern Command headquarters of the Indian Army, Udhampur situated in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is receiving various facelifts, mainly attributed to IAS officer Dr. Piyush Singla. A 2012-batch J&K cadre, he holds the post of Deputy Commissioner there.
His multiple initiatives are not only helping the farmers and people with disabilities but are also helping to complete activities that have been on hold for years. In the first part of his exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Dr. Singla talks about his work in detail.
Recipient of the National Award in water conservation, the ‘Jeevika’ project has been conceptualized keeping in mind the aim of increasing farmers’ income. Udhampur district consists of 94% rain-fed areas and 6% assured irrigation. He ensured that the farmers were receiving water throughout the year from the large number of perennial water bodies existing in the district.
“For this,” said Dr. Singla, “We created a water harvesting structure with a plastic sheet pond which is further linked to a drip irrigation set. We are doing this on a cluster basis wherein 7-8 farmers each contribute around one canal of area, and thus, one cluster contains 7-8 canal areas, thereby creating a big harvest structure.”
To increase the water efficiency, he has also established a vermicomposting unit to ensure organic disposal and cultivation, and a delivery house for off-season cultivation. He is focusing on integrated farming and an IFS-linked system with water availability round the clock. This will also help farmers in growing their income.
“So far, we have done 30 clusters through which farmers’ income has increased up to 8-10 times. We are in the process of up-scaling it and will shift to cash crops, while also giving a market linkage to the initiative” he told Indian Masterminds.
Bagging the National E-governance award 2020 in the gold category, `Sakoon’ is a digital initiative that ensured that the victims of natural disasters in the region received their State Disaster Relief Fund amounts within 15 days from the date of the incident.
“Normally, for the distribution of SDRF amount, patwaris used to visit the place, capture photos, and further sent the file through a series of hierarchy, which took a lot of time to process. In case of larger calamities, the process of keeping records of so many cases became tedious.”
To avoid the chaos and fasten up the fund distribution process, Dr. Singla came up with the ‘Sakoon’ project, wherein the patwari’s photos directly gets uploaded on the app and through a series of channels, the case gets processed digitally.
“Relief is the one thing that should be distributed promptly because if it is delayed, it loses its purpose. Through digitalizing the process, we are able to provide people with the funds in 15 days, which earlier would take around 3-6 months,” he added.
So far, Dr. Singla has disbursed around Rs 1.5 crore to the victims of calamities in the last one and a half years.
DISTRIBUTING PROSTHETIC AIDS
Through an agreement between Social Welfare Department and a PSU called Alinco, people with disabilities were identified and assessed in the state of J&K.
“A detailed assessment was conducted and rather than having distribution at a centralized level, we wanted to take the project to far-flung areas so that the people, actually in need, and who resided in remote areas got its benefit,” said Dr. Singla.
The administration conducted six different camps in extremely remote areas and distributed prosthetic aids to people in need. He ensured that the rural population was equally benefitted as the urban ones.
“We will keep conducting this in the future as well until we are sure that the entire population of people with disabilities has received the prosthetic aids. Similarly, old-age pensions have also been largely circulated on the push of the J&K Government.
This bridge, which is under construction, was announced by the Lt. Governor. It had been a long-pending project, in demand from people of 13 panchayats, who are living across the Tawi River.
“The river divides the total landscape into two sides. This bridge will be connecting the two sides and will replace an ancient structure. It will bring a new era of development among the 13 ‘panchayats’, as it will bring motor-road connectivity, the flow of material, health facilities, etc. to the region,” he held.
All of this will be possible with the construction of Chenani-Patangarh Bridge, which will be completed soon.
Dr. Singla has done numerous works for the state and Udhampur. We will learn more about it in the second part of the story.
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