Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Dalit village in TN awaits electricity

Sivaganga: A Dalit village in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu has been waiting for electricity for the past 56 years.


Their plight contradicts the Tamil Nadu government's claims to have achieved 100 per cent electrification of all villages.

Four of the houses here were built under the state government's group housing scheme. And although internal wiring has been done electricity has been denied for no reason.

Everyday problems

Half the population has migrated. While close to 15 families are still struggling, their school going children have been put in a local orphanage.

"As we are dalits, electricity is denied to us all. Villages around us have lights," says Vetachi, villager.

While there is no way to run pump sets, farmers draw water the whole day using primitive methods, just to save their crop so that they can have atleast one meal a day.

"If we get power, we can dig a well and can save our crop," says S Subiah, farmer.

Bureaucratic tangles

The electricity department blames it on the villagers for not approaching them formally.

While power connections need to be provided within 90 days, the department says the village may have to wait for yet another year.

"After getting sanction and funds we will complete the work. Time frame roughly upto six months to one year," says S P Balasubramanian, Superintendent Engineer.

Although there is a power line just 300 metres away from this village, such is the speed of the bureaucracy its going to take another year to connect this village.

While development has virtually come to a stand in this Dalit village, there are 78,000 similar villages in the country still waiting to be electrified.

Source: NDTV, December 14, 2004

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