The festival of lights has arrived. People have got down to the annual ritual of cleaning, decorating and lighting up their houses and places of work, so as to give the best possible welcome to Goddess Laxmi. As we earnestly wait for the fun, frolic and awesome food that come with Diwali, let us take a moment to help our rural brethren get the luxury of electricity and make this festive occasion a life-changing one for them.
How can we help?
The government launched the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) in 2015 with an aim to electrify each and every village of India. It outlaid a plan of $11 billion and has been trying to pull all stops to achieve universal electrification. But, implementation challenges at the ground level have plagued the success of this scheme in some parts of the country. An independent website videovolunteers.org has collected stories from the villages of Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand which are still lurking in darkness, and is trying to push government officials to expedite electrification in these areas. Here are the stories of three of the villages:
- Parevachapa village, Chhattisgarh
This tribal village has been without electricity since the time it was established, 16 years ago. People have been carrying out agriculture, small businesses and daily chores without any access to modern-day technology. Children are forced to study under oil lamps which hurt their vision, and as a result, some of them have dropped out of school. Continuous exposure to fire and burning kerosene also leads to severe breathing problems. The residents have approached the Sarpanch (village head) and the block office of the state power corporation but all they have got are fake assurances.
Call to Action: Help light up Parevachapa village, Pandaria district, Chhattisgarh. A simple call from your phone can help a student study, a farmer work and a household cook. Dial +91-7754254024 and talk to Mr. Dilipkumar Ramesh, the block officer, Electricity Dept., Pandaria, demanding that the village gets electrified.
- Keswar Bigha village, Bihar
A false hope is worse than no hope. Residents of the Keswar Bigha village of Bihar were enthralled when electricity poles were installed in their area a year back under the DDUGJY. Thinking that they will soon get the benefits of electric power, people have been staring up the poles since then. There has been no work undertaken to connect the poles with wires, and this has left the villagers fuming. They have tried to contact everyone from Junior Engineer to Project Engineer, but to no avail. Considering that all the surrounding villages have got electricity, the situation in Keswar Bigha is utterly shameful.
Call to Action: Please call Mr. Vasim, Project Engineer of Karpi, Bihar on +91-7033191330 and demand that they complete the pending electrification of Keswar Bigha village at the earliest.
- Dumburu village, Jharkhand
Imagine what happens when you are in the middle of something and power goes off. Within minutes you are left irritated and struggling. But villagers from Dumburu, Jharkhand experienced another level of misery when their 10kV transformer burnt off in June 2013, just six months into operation. The village has been reeling under a three-year long power cut since then. On multiple requests to the Electricity Department and the local MLA, the villagers did manage to procure a 25kV transformer. But it has been rusting in the shed for the past one year because the department didn’t send any technical team and wires to make the transformer functional.
Call to Action: Help light up the village of Dumburu in Bangaon block, Jharkhand. Call the State Electricity Board Executive Engineer Rajendra Prasad Sharma on +91-9431135941, inform him about the ground reality and ask him to provide a new transformer to restore electricity in the village.
The Logical Indian thanks the community correspondents at videovolunteers.org for bringing out such important stories from the rural hinterland and enabling us all to be active participants in our democracy. This Diwali, let us spend five minutes to make a phone call and make a difference to the lives of the unfortunate people living in these villages.