Locals make strong pitch for District status to Basohli, Billawar tehsils

VISHAL. Updated: 9/17/2020 10:45:16 AM Front Page

JAMMU: While the Delimitation Commission is looking to increase the pace towards redrawing the constituencies for the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as political activity begins to open up soon with leaders representing different outfits have started holding deliberations and meetings, the voice for district status to existing tehsils Basholi and Billawar in Kathua district, have started pitching high and reached to the national capital through media.
Using social media as a tool to raise voice furiously, the netizens have started knocking the doors of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Election Commission of India and numerous appeals to the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Kumar Sinha as well on social media seeking District Status to prominent tehsils of the Hilly District.
District Kathua, having 11 Tehsils including Kathua, Bani, Basohli, Billawar, Hiranagar, Nagri, Marheen, Dinga Amb, Lohai-Malhar, Mahanpur, Ramkote, is surrounded by Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Doda, Udhampur and Jammu with an area of 2502 Sq Kms and as per (Census 2011), is having a population of 6.16 lakhs and five of its tehsils are Assembly Constituencies.
However, exclusive pages on Facebook, Whatsapp groups, Twitter Handles and Instagram Accounts have launched the movement on social media demanding district status to these tehsils based upon its geography, population and area.
#UniteForBasohliDistrict is among one of the prominent Twitter accounts pitching voice for district status demand for Basohli.
“Work to complete the delimitation process in one year has begun in full swing and hopefully timely completion of the process will take place,” an official said.
He said that the Centre and the State Governments are aware of everything with context to the demands and different voices being raised from different quarters, adding that “every voice will be heard” before deciding on the delimitation of constituencies.
Pertinently Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also said in his Independence Day address this year that “India is committed to holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir once the delimitation exercise is complete”.
“The government has already set a timeline of one year starting from March 2020 for the Election Commission of India, which means outer limit is one year and they are on job,” official sources said.
The Delimitation Commission has been set up to redraw the boundaries of the electoral constituencies for J&K and North Eastern States, an official in the Government said adding, “demand for District status to Basohli and Billawar is gaining momentum. Undoubtedly, Kathua district is having a vast area and being a hilly region barring Hiranagar, Kathua Town, deserves to have more districts but the final call has to be taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs at the time of speeding up Delimitation process, which is underway as it has slowed down due to COVID-19 pandemic.”
Recently, a delegation from Kathua district also submitted a memorandum to the Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha and urged to provide district status to Billawar and Basohli, tackle rising unemployment problem and regularize daily wagers of all the departments.
Basohli is situated on the right bank of River Ravi and was known for the palaces which are now in ruins and miniatures paintings (Basohli Paintings). The tehsil has an average elevation of 460 metres (1509 feet). Before the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam (Thein Dam), Basohli was just 32 km from Kathua but now due to the dam it is about 72 km from the city.
According to 2011 census, Basohli town (urban) had a population of 5433.
Meanwhile Billawar had a population of 11,916 and has two boroughs - old Billawar town and Phinter area.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly will increase to 114 from 107, with due reservations for SC and ST communities. The seven additional seats are expected to be ST seats.

Updated On 9/17/2020 10:48:08 AM

Comment on this Story