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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scene of rural development in Jharkhand

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Surveys conducted by different organisations reveal a sorry state of rural development in Jharkhand. About one lakh and twenty five thousand persons leave the state every year in search of jobs. They carry away their children with them. About six lakh children accompany their parents to work sites and leave their schools in particular seasons. Most of these children are either not enrolled in any school even in their school going age or they are bound to leave their schools for months as they cannot live in villages without their parents.

A large number of men, women and children migrate to other states during winters. There they work as labourers at brick kilns. This large number comprises a big percentage of girls in their school going ages. These migrating girls and women face serious exploitation and physical abuse by agents and contractors at the sites of their work.

Even after sixty years of freedom of the country, about 4,800 villages do not have access to electricity. Some of these villages do have electricity poles and wires hung on them but no supply. Lakhs of people living in 2043 villages do not know about electricity. Out of every 1000 sq km, only 109 sq km of the area has roads. Medical services provided by the government lack 94% doctors, 76% staff nurses and 38% laboratory technicians. About 22% primary schools and 3% upper primary schools do not have play ground for students. Only 3% primary schools and 21% upper primary schools have access to electricity.

The mention of above reported facts does not mean that the government at state and district levels and doing nothing. A number of plans and projects being implemented in the state include MANAREGA (sponsored by the Central Government), Indira Awas Yojna, Swarn Jayanti Rojgar Yojna, Watershed Development Programme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, state sponsored Gram Setu Yojna etc. Besides these, a number of projects are being run by the financial help of Members of Parliament and Assemblies.

Millions of rupees are being spent every year on these projects. Media reports reveal that a big part of money for these projects and programmes is shared by middle men in the names of commissions etc. Here is a case of the story of the development of the village of Bagwan Birsa.

Ulihatu is the name of the village of Bhagwan Birsa. The 11 km long link road to this village is certainly black and smooth. But it does not certainly mean that the picture of Ulihatu village too is similar to the 11 km long pitch road. The nearest medical facility  for villagers of this village is found at a distance not less than 11 or 36 km. Even at this distance, villagers are not supposed to see any specialist doctor there.

People of the Ulihatu village are not strong enough financially to afford a four wheeler vehicle to carry their patients to a hospital located in the nearest city. Local newspapers report that the only reason behind construction of a pitch road to Ulihatu is periodic visits of leaders for paying homage to Bhagwan Birsa. About 0% of the people in this village do not have BPL numbers. Electricity poles were installed three years ago but the village has not seen an electric bulb so far. It is reported that villagers prefer work for 40 rupees per day instead of 120 rupees per day work of MANAREGA.

It is a good initiative that the government of Jharkhand has properly started a programme of upgrading 100 villages as ideal villages. Villages of Shaheeds and revolutionaries are to be taken for Upgradation in the first phase. It is planned that each one of these villages would have one village council and one village culture centre. The village council is planned to have library, healthcare centre, village council hall, stage, and campus, centre for adult education etc. The village council will be responsible for the organisation of cultural programmes.

Key Words:season,brick kiln,electricity, laboratory, Swarn Jayabti Rojgar Yojna, library

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