It is difficult to imagine that even after the nation celebrated its 69th Independence Day, there are some villages in the country where electricity has not reached and children still use lanterns to study at night.
A tehsil of Unnao, called Purwa, located in Uttar Pradesh , has always been in the news for the difficulties that people have to face because of lack of basic amenities .
Gulariya panchayat of Purwa is the second biggest panchayat, with a population of approximately 30,000 people. Out of 32 villages here, electricity has yet to reach 27 villages due to which the villagers have to face a lot of problems in their everyday life.
The villagers here complain that people at the higher level are responsible for the state of affairs as they have not taken any initiative to improve the situation. The head of Gulariya panchayat, late Udayveer Singh who headed the panchayat for almost 32 years gave no heed to this grave problem.
Udayveer Singh died in 2014 and his son Balbeer Singh won the elections. But the state of affairs still hasn’t changed. The villagers say no initiatives have been taken to solve the issues in the region.
The people here have lost all hope and their anxiety is very evident when you talk to them.
“The village lies between the borders of Unnao and Raebareli which is one of the reasons that this village is not developed,” blurts Balbeer Singh the head of Gulariya panchayat.
He added that work is in progress to bring electricity to the village and a 38 KB power plant is being set up.
The reason for delay according to him was the low budget allocation. On the other hand the MLA of the constituency, Udayraj Yadav who has been in power since 20 years denies that there could be any such issues in the region. People say that he has never visited the villages till date and the panchayat head, Balbeer Singh is also seen only during the elections.
“Both of them have never come to the village,” adds Bajjulal Tiwari a villager form Chandri Khera.
Ironically Uttar Pradesh is one of the states in India where the use of electricity is the highest in the country. Recent media reports suggest that the power deficit Uttar Pradesh would soon get an investment of about Rs. 880 crores in solar power projects totalling 110 megawatt.
UP is targeting 500 MW of solar energy by 2017 under its Solar Power Policy 2013. Despite all this the people of the state have been facing grave problems and have been living in total darkness.
On one hand the Prime Minister has been talking about ‘Digital India’ – there have been talks about making the whole country digitised, but will this progress have any meaning when many of our countrymen are still living their lives in total darkness.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav stated recently that major developments have taken place in the state. Around 16 lakh laptops have been given away to the students. But electricity is required to make these laptops function.
The Charkha Development Communication Network points out that places like Gulariya hold a mirror to the Central and State Governments to see what Uttar Pradesh really looks like and how people in this state are living in darkness and how many villages are struggling for the basic facilities in their day to day life. The powerful politicians should make efforts to provide basic ‘power’ to the people.
The views expressed in the article are that of the author Suraj Singh