AIIMS Jammu has began to seem like a dream now. The only place we can assure to see AIIMS is in newspapers, atleast for a few upcoming years.
The promise for giving something like an AIIMS dates back 14 years. It was in the year 2004 that the then state and central governments had promised to convert the existing Government Medical College into an AIIMS. Years passed by and the project got cancelled due to; say negligence, reluctance, constraints or something else.
The works of AIIMS Jammu has allegedly been stuck at the land acquisition stage. It is said that around 270 acres of land has been identified and selected at Chak Diwan Bhim Sen and Rakh Barotian villages of Vijaypur.
Since this project too was too good to be true for Jammu; there came the problem of displacement of local Gujjar families. The reader must note that some of the other too-good-to-be-true dreams of Jammu which got shattered were the Bagh-e-Bahu Mubarak Mandi Cable Car Project, Tawi Artificial Lake Project and to much extent the Mubarak Mandi complex restoration.
So it is said that more than 200 Gujjar families are being forcibly displaced from the site identified for the project. Gujjar claim that they have been displaced thrice in the past 20 years with negligible to no support from the governments. They say that they are being sent to a more barren and flood prone area.
They are also said to be given plots measuring 10 marlas per family; which is obviously not enough for a family with dozens or hundreds of livestock.
Political parties, both within and outside the government, are twisiting the ordail of Gujjars according to their own requirements. Some say that they are illegal occupants while others claim their eviction to be religiously motivated.
Some quuestions which arise from all of this are
If the Gujjars really are nomads, why at all do they want settlement? Aren’t they supposed to be on a move seasonally?
Why are the authorities in such a haste to contruct the road when the land acuisition has not completed yet? They never show such commitment to our worn out roads.
Why is development coming at a cost of lives? IIT Jammu too is coming up in a pristine forest land. Although petitions were made to change the location of IIT, but to no use.
The process of filling up the land to raise the ground level is going to be ardous as the site is 3 metres below the national highway. Also, the site is only 4 kms away from international border. Recent history tells us how porous is the international border around Kathua and Pathankot. The hospital could be an easy target of war and cross border terrorism. If this isn’t stupid, what else is!
The only party gaining in this chaos is that of land mafia. Some say, they’ve already begun doing their job; don’t know when our authorities will!