Of the six lakh Indian villages, our hamlet is drenched in an avalanche of grievances and problems. There is no elected representative. The last lawmaker of the erstwhile constituency will again try his luck in the ballot-battle but the concern that who will own us is growing shriller.
This write-up is an attempt to present how sincere is the administration in reforming our villages since official pressers suggest that we are on the path of development.
Regional in spirit and national in flavor, three phases of community mobilization program were held so far. The facilities mandated to change the economic landscape of villages are yet to see the light of the day.
While the government touted it as a path-breaking step - a noble initiative; the opposition called it a vaunted project - a carefully crafted political move. But in the countryside, it invited mixed reactions.
In the jam-packed hall of the government middle school, the mandatory photograph was clicked as the clock ticked 10:00 am. Without a compound wall/fencing, the school is facing encroachment now. Boys come here for gossip and evening smoke.
There is no night chowkidar for the protection and safety of the buildings. The amusement park on a hilltop, where we used to graze our livestock, is the finest example of the wastage of taxpayer’s money.
The pathetic part is that the hill was bulldozed which erodes the land and even a slight drizzle drains the muck downwards which inundates the households living beneath it. It has reduced to a useless plateau.
“Values of games in education”- is an essay we were asked to cram in our school days. The key motive was to inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship. But our playground has been badly politicized. A decade ago, it was a bustling place. It turned bushy and remained out of bounds for a decade. It became a bone of contention between different groups.
A Panchayat building had been constructed on the fringes of this playground sixteen years ago. It crumbled twice. What remained is a heap of rubble. The poor structure has been dismantled by its caretakers, the miscreants. Panchayat is a very powerful institution.
There is no proper waste management system. The concerned Block office constructed a big dustbin. It stinks and the stench is nauseating for the neighborhood. It is a joke in the name of rural development. My village lacks public convenience.
SBM promises Shauchalya, but our share is lost in the concerned block office. In this much-hyped ‘Digital India’ era, we don’t have an ATM booth in the nearest branch of the JK Grameen Bank. We travel two miles to withdraw the currency. India Post operates from a small shop. No separate office-(bearer).
Wooden poles were erected in 1974 to supply electricity to our village. But almost half a century later, the same old worn-out wires are dangling. The wires are not replaced for reasons better known to the relevant department.
Livestock is the greatest asset. There is no building for the Animal Husbandry department. Horticulture and agriculture are the movers and shakers of the economy for over 80% population.
There is not even a one-room office of either of the departments. For the 5,000 odd souls living in the panchayat halqa, not even one Primary Health Center has been approved despite repeated demands.
One laudable work done by the irrigation department that merits special mention is the dredging of the khalri canal.
Education is the most abused sector. A primary school was upgraded to High School in 1981 with a two-story structure. In 2007, it was upgraded to Hr. Sec. Institute but fifteen years later the senior secondary school has no playground of its own.
Revenue records available suggest that it owns 14 Kanals and 7 Marlas of land, but the government is sleeping on the proposal of having a playground for the budding sports enthusiasts so that they can represent the country on an international platform.
There is an immediate need for a public library and a rural information center. During peak hours, the menace of overloading has troubled the populace. One quick solution is to have a special bus service for students. It will surely lessen the mess.
Villages come out in droves to vote for the capable and competent candidate because they trust the democratic setup. Villagers vote for these basic rights. Hijacking of the centrally sponsored schemes in bureaucratic hassles is not new.
The district collectors must respect the aim of this movement called back to village. They should keenly monitor the work and get the correct understanding of developmental shortfalls. B2V, a govt-public interface program is a good example of governance at the grassroots level.
But without deliverables, it is a time-buying exercise- a pure eyewash.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.