Changing face of Uttarakhand villages
Changing face of Uttarakhand villages
By Ravindra Saini
It didn’t take us long to drive out of Dehradun. Leaving behind the hustle-bustle of the capital city, it was time to enjoy the soothing green of the country side. A serpentine road first took us uphill, then downhill through Lachchiwala forest, along dry river beds of seasonal rivulets, and finally to Ranipokhari, one of the model villages developed by Uttarakhand Government under its Atal Adarsh Gram Yojana.
All the 670 Nyay Panchayats of the state are covered under this programme. Dehradun district alone has 40 such villages, including Ranipokhari. The first thing that one notices about Ranipokhari is that the conventional rural set-up is missing here. As one enters the village, there is huge market area where the weekly market comes up every Friday. The animal husbandry centre has a new building. The Panchayat Bhawan, next to a government school, is almost complete. There’s also a small public library that mainly caters to the local high school students. The neat streets have dustbins at almost every one km. Shri Pankaj Yadav, the village Pradhan, tells that unlike several villages across the country, every house here has its own toilet. “We won the Nirmal Gram Award for rural sanitation in 2009. The Award was presented by the President of India,” he said recalling the proud moment.
Shri MM Khan, District Panchayati Raj Officer, explained. “Any model village should have 16 facilities—motorale roads, power, potable water, inter-level educational institution, ANM (auxiliary nurse and midwife) centres, Anganwadi, PDS shop, rural sanitation, irrigation facility, Panchayat Bhawan, Krishi Nivesh Apurti Kendra, animal husbandry centre, cooperative society, market, bank and telephone. Of the 40 model villages in Dehradun district, till date 24 score 100 out of 100 in all these 16 areas. The rest will have all the facilities very soon.”
During the last five years, the local residents have witnessed many changes. The local police Chowki has turned into a full-fledged Police Station. There’s a gas agency catering to the village. Every child goes to school. The state government provides free education to 78 girls and 76 boys. Besides, those who can afford it are sending their wards to private schools. Twelve Anganwadi workers monitor the health and nutrition of 261 infants. The mini bank, with 1440 members, has a deposit of Rs 24 lakh as loan last year. The local post office has 25,000 account holders. And what comes as a pleasant surprise is the fact that the Punjab National Bank has opened its branch and ATM here. Of the 8000 odd residents, nearly 50 per cent have ATM cards.
As I was about to leave, 26 office-bearers and district officials enter the school building for their monthly meeting to monitor the development work here. The biggest improvement has been witnessed in the process of monitoring, with more than one person cross-checking the reports. Also, now we have a state-government appointed nodal officer. However, there are certain areas that remain untouched. For instance, we need an overhead tank to tackle water shortage and generator to operate water pumps.
The BJP-led Uttarakhand government headed by Chief Minister Major General (retd) Shri BC Khanduri took many novel initiatives for developing the villages, which had so far been neglected in terms of development. With a view to ensuring the all-round development of villages, the Atal Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched in all the 670 Nyay Panchayats.
“The basic concept behind launching the Atal Adarsh Gram Yojana was to drive away regional imbalances by extending basic infrastructural facilities in all these villages in the first stage. Later on, other villages also have to be provided with these facilities,” said Shri Khanduri while talking to Organiser.
The Atal Adarsh Gram Yojana is something that could prove to be a milestone in the development of the state. The Scheme is bringing the far flung rural areas of the state into the mainstream of development and the Vision-2020 of the State government would get proper shape, once these villages are provided with basic infrastructural facilities.
Best Railway Service Award
Smt Ramalakshmi Chandrasekhar, Station Master, Thiruvanantha-puram Central, was honoured with cash award, certificate of merit and gold medal for meritorious work from General Manager, Southern Railway, on December 23 at Headquarters Chennai as part of 56th Railway Week 2011. She is the wife of Shri S Chandrasekhar, special correspondent of Organiser, Kerala.