Bringing Peace and Prosperity in Shopian
- Raghav Goyal
- Published on 27 Oct 2020, 6:29 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
It took a compassionate IAS officer like Choudhary Mohammad Yasin to douse the anti-establishment sentiments in the restive Shopian district of Kashmir. And how well he has succeeded!
- Mr. Yasin addressing selected candidates for Hadaf UPSC Coaching Program
For a very long time, it was mainly the northern areas of Kashmir valley which bore the brunt of militancy and people’s resentment. Areas like Kupwara and Baramulla remained the hot-beds of anti-India activities. However, in 2009, the unrest started spreading in the southern area of the Valley- in particular Shopian. The gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the security forces in 2016 brought Shopian into sharp relief.
The anger against the establishment burst forth when an unruly crowd burnt down the office of the Shopian’s Deputy Commissioner (DC).
These were the general circumstances in Shopian when in 2019 Choudhary Mohammad Yasin was appointed the DC of this place. Since then, Mr. Yasin has been at the forefront of bridging differences between the people and the district administration. He has also taken measures to improve the livelihood of its residents, particularly the apple-growers.
TAKING CONTROL OF THE SITUATION
In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Yasin said, “Here in Shopian People respond to justice, which is also a tagline that is followed here. Before a judgment on an issue is made, people here want someone who can first listen to them and then act upon any injustice that might have been committed. There are two angles we have been working on Shopian: the law and order and the development work.”
Since Mr. Yasin has been posted as the DC in Shopian, there hasn’t been a single civilian killing in the district. Taking control of the law and order has led to a build-up of trust among people.
STRENGTHENING LOCAL ECONOMY
The major part of the economy in Shopian depends on horticulture, particularly the apple trade. Shopian, which is famous for producing the best quality apples, usually has a blooming business every year. But this business is concentrated in the hands of a few. Which leads to a big disparity in the income of its various residents.
Mr. Yasin said, “This year we undertook a serious step of shifting the current Mandi to a new place, which was 50 times bigger than the previous one. This step was taken to give space to everybody so that even a person having a small patch of apple orchard can sell his produce at the best prices in the market.”
A new ‘Mega Fruit Mandi’ was launched in Aglar with a 31-crore project funded jointly under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and NABARD. The administration managed to operationalize only two phases out of the four, mainly due to factors like abrogation of Article 370, the protests which took last year to boycott the Mandis, and the untimely snowfall in the first week of November last.
But all is still not lost. Mr. Yasin said, “Despite losing a complete season last year which was overtaken by Covid19 induced lockdown this year, we managed to shift the Mandi to a new location. This was a good move. We have witnessed a boom in apple production as compared to 2018. This year, the Shopian district has witnessed “double profits’’ of around Rs1000 crore because people not only of Shopian but vendors from other areas also benefitted by selling their produce in the Aglar Mandi.”
He added, “this year the Mega Fruit Aglar Mandi of Shopia has become possibly the largest horticulture trading point in North India after Azadpur (in Delhi).” Not a small achievement for a district which till recently was reeling under public resentment, and a large credit for the turnaround goes to Ms. Yasin.
Another program launched by Mr. Yasin is titled ‘Back to Village’, which again is a major success in Shopian. In this flagship program by the J&K government, senior officials are deputed for every `panchayat’ in which they stay there for a couple of days and gauge the demands of the people. The third phase of the program concluded this month while the previous two phases took place last year.
An amount of Rs. 6 crores have been spent so far on 141 development works in 98 `panchayats’ of the Shopian district during the first two phases of the program. Mr. Yasin said, “The response was quite positive after we concluded the third phase of this program. The bridge between the people and the administration in terms of interactions has also increased considerably in Shopian.”
Mr. Yasin has also been at the forefront to promote education in the district and is working effortlessly to enroll more and more youth in government jobs. He has also launched a civil service coaching program in the district Mr. Yasin said, “After launching the Hadaf program (for UPSC coaching), 600 applications were received which was quite unexpected keeping in mind the population of the district. Out of 600 applications, we shortlisted 100 aspirants and they were provided with content and coaching. Due to these efforts, two of our students have cleared the prelims exam this year.’’
Besides, Mr. Yasin has taken several other initiatives in Shopian. These have resulted in power availability in the tribal regions, construction of four school buildings and three health club centres, and 14 road projects under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY).
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