Last year a bazaar was established at Kotli Loharaan, though at a long distance

SIALKOT-Amid the fuss over relief through Sasta Ramazan Bazaars, hundreds of Sialkot border villages including 85 far-off Bajwat villages, are deprived of the facility as the district administration has no established any bazaar.

Local people are compelled to buy daily-used commodities from local shops in these villages.

According to the report of a survey, these border villages are located in the electoral constituency (NA-72, Sialkot-I) of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting.

Last year, a Sasta Ramazan Bazaar was established at Kotli Loharaan, though at a long distance, to facilitate the population of these villages.

This year, the Sialkot District Administration has closed the Sasta Ramzan Bazaar at Kotli Loharaan, reducing the number of Sasta Ramazan Bazaars from eight to seven in the district.

Though the administration did not show no solid reason for closure of the Sasta Ramazan Bazaar, it has virtually deprived the rural population of the otherwise (minimal) benefits of the facility in the holy month of Ramazan.

Now, people of 85 Bajwat far-off villages and hundreds of other border villages have to travel about 140km long distance (two ways) to reach Sialkot city for buying daily-used commodities “on subsidised rates from Sasta Ramazan Bazaars in Sialkot city.”

Sakeena Bibi, 65, from village Gangwal-Bajwat said that it is very pathetic on the part of the administration, which has deprived the rural population of the benefits of Sasta Ramazan Bazaars. “Look we could not reach Sialkot city after travelling long distance in such hot weather to buy daily-use commodities from Sasta Ramzan Bazaar,” she regretted.

Another elderly farmer Ghulam Rasul,69, resident of village Papeen-Bajwat said, “We people in Bajwat villages only know the meaning of Sasta Ramazan Bazaars and deprived of the benefits of the facility.”

Kotli Loharaan-based youth Kamran flayed the district administration for closing the sole Sasta Ramazan Bazaar, saying it is great injustice with the rural population of border villages to deprive them of the facility.

Village Chaprar-based Rana Moon said that the district administration has established no Sasta Ramazan Bazaar to facilitate people of border villages, despite repeated appeals made by locals.

Village Koobey Chak-based Muhammad Iqbal urged Firdous Ashiq Awan to take notice of the situation.

Kamran Malik, a village Bajwat based youth, said, “I am lucky I have reached Sialkot city after travelling about 70km to buy some daily-use commodities on subsidized rates and now to travel 70km to reach back home in such hot weather.”

A number of residents of border villages regretted that it is great pity with the people of Bajwat villages that no Sasta Ramzan Bazaar has been set up. They said that people of these villages were unable to cross three rivers - Chenab, Jammu and Tavi, besides, travelling more than 110km to reach nearby Sasta Ramazan Bazaar in Sialkot city.

Locals have strongly protested against this “step-motherly” treatment by the district administration.

Hafiz Muhammad Ahsan, a local spokesperson for Special Assistant to PM said it was a great pity with the people of constituency (NA-72, Sialkot-I).

He said that Firdous Ashiq Awan has taken very serious notice of negligence of the district administration for not establishing Sasta Ramazan Bazaar in her constituency.