Watchi residents stage protest, accuse government of encroaching stadium land
Shopian: Residents of Watchi village in Zainapora Sub division of south Kashmir’s Shopian district have accused the government of encroaching the land meant for construction of a stadium for local youth.
The villagers alleged that the land demarcated for the stadium has been encroached as a Panchayat ghar is being constructed on the land besides a CRPF camp is also being raised there.
Locals said that two decades back the land near high school Watchi was declared as sports stadium and was even maintained by the local administration so that it could be ued for sports activities for the local youth.
They added that few years back few structures for police post were constructed there shrinking the land meant for the stadium besides that few flood relief sheds were also constructed on the land.
The protestors said that during Covid-19 lockdown authorities laid the foundation of Panchayat ghar on the land and now they are planning to construct few structures for a CRPF camp as well.
“Watchi and its adjacent areas are known for drug addiction and dozens of youth are involved in drug addiction, however by snatching our only existing stadium, it seems authorities want to involve the entire population of youth in drug addiction,” Irfan Ahmad, a local resident said.
He added that on one the one hand the government is claiming to engage more and more youth in sports related activities but on ground the claims are proving to be a mere eyewash as no land will be available for sports activities now.
“We have informed concerned authorities several times in this regard but nothing has been done so far,” he said.
The locals have now pinned their hopes on Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and DDC Shopian to get their grievance redressed.