The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after coming to power in 2014, has failed to take off in at least three of the seven BJP ruled Lok Sabha constituencies in the national capital.
Under this scheme that was launched soon after PM Modi formed government at the Centre in 2014, the seven BJP MPs took up the daunting task of personal, human, social and economic development in their adopted villages with an end-of-2016 deadline in mind. However, when these correspondents visited the villages Sabhapur, Chilla and Pilanji, adopted by BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari, Mahesh Girri and Meenakshi Lekhi respectively, not much transformation was noticeable. Lack of coordination among Delhi’s AAP government and BJP MPs is not helping the situation.
Sabhapur Village is located around 25 km from the heart of the national capital on the remote outskirts of Delhi’s north east border. A small part of the village’s agricultural land also falls in Uttar Pradesh. The village was adopted by celebrity turned politician Manoj Tiwari who is a Lok Sabha MP from North East Delhi constituency.
Sabhapur has a largely Bramhin and Gujjar native populace. The village has a population of nearly 18,000 people. It is devoid of basic essential amenities like a hospital or even a government dispensary. In the event of a medical emergency, villagers say that they have to travel a distance of at least 20 km to get medical help. The village also lacks a proper government or private school for children. The only government school in the village is a senior secondary school but it teaches students only up to primary classes.
At least 4,000 children from the village and nearby areas come to study at the single floor school which functions in two shifts. As many as 100 students sit in crammed classrooms. The teachers are not enough to maintain a favourable child to teacher ratio, and there are no rooms for teachers to teach classes above the primary level.
Pandit Rohit Sarpanch, son of the former Sarpanch of the village, told The Sunday Guardian, “MP Manoj Tiwari doesn’t come to the village. He has only visited twice in two years… The first time he came was after he won the election, and the second time was to inaugurate a village entrance gate.”
While visiting the village, these correspondents found it relatively clean and well-maintained with concrete roads in several areas, but the drains in the village were, however, left open and there were no signs of CCTVs, medical dispensaries or a community hall.
“The cleanliness of the village is done not by any government body but by the youths of this village who formed a yuva sanghathan. We, from time to time, take up the cleaning drives to keep the drains clog free and the surrounding areas clean,” he added.
The villagers complained of lengthy power cuts of three to four hours daily. A proper pipeline necessary for drinking water to be supplied to every household has not been laid. A BJP worker and teacher in the village, Harbeer Master, also complained about the “invisibility” of the MP. “The villagers are very angry with their MP as their problems are neither being heard nor being solved. Even when we try to meet him as party workers, he does not have time for us. We had also written to him for several times, but to no avail,” Harbeer Master said.
“The village does not even have a proper conveyance system in place; it was impossible to reach here through public transport before. It was only after AAP MLA Kapil Mishra intervened (Sabhapur falls under Kapil Mishra’s Assembly constituency Karawal Nagar), two buses started plying to and from the village regularly. Kapil Mishra along with the local counsellor Annapurna Mishra also helped us by constructing metalled roads in the area. She has also been working for prevention of malaria and other vector-borne diseases in the village, but the MP has done nothing apart from just making a gate at the entry of the village.” Harbeer master added.
Chilla village, located near Mayur Vihar, is one of the 44 villages adopted by Maheish Girri who is the Lok Sabha MP from East Delhi. According to Girri, the village has developed massively after he adopted it.
Populated by about 22,000 people who are mainly Rajputs and Gujjars, the villagers are primarily engaged in farming and animal husbandry.
Sunil Choudhury, the local BJP leader of the village, said, “Since the adoption of the village, new roads have been made and new sewage lines have been laid. Villagers are getting piped drinking water. Apart from this, we have also started opening bank accounts for the villagers under the scheme, ‘banks at your doorstep’.”
“Medical van facilities have also been put in place as there is no dispensary available in the village. Personality development classes for the youth have been started under the Skill India Programme,” he added.
However, local residents of the village have a different story to tell. Rakesh said, “Drinking water is a big problem here; no piped water has reached us yet.”
According to the residents, security has also been a major problem. Another resident of the area, Bhajan Lal, complained: “Roads have not been built here and cleanliness is also an issue. Right at the entrance of the village is a huge garbage disposal area which is cleaned only after three to four days. The counselor Nikki Singh does whatever little work has been done here. The local AAP MLA is also of no help.”
When asked about the complaints of the villagers, Maheish Girri said: “Yes, I understand there are problems. But, the state government should also cooperate with us. Boundaries of the villages are not well defined and, thus, I am not able to achieve what I dreamt of.”
Girri also said: “When we started our work, the development process was smooth. But ever since the AAP government has come to power in Delhi, it has started causing hindrance to our work. These works need coordination from the state government agencies. But, we have been working relentlessly to achieve our development goals.” He added, “Urban and rural villages are different and have to be looked at differently. The issues that urban villages face are mainly related to water, schools, electricity and drainage.”
Pilanji Gaon is situated in the New Delhi constituency. It was adopted by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and it also falls under the Assembly constituency of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Most of the village is in a dilapidated condition. Villagers said the MP has not visited the village after winning the election. The major concerns of the people remain cleanliness, water shortage, dirty water supply, clogged sewer lines, lack of medical facilities, and no community centre.
Villagers complained that they take their grievances to the MP, MLA and even the NDMC and Delhi Jal Board but their pleas fall on deaf ears.
The village is densely populated with an approximate population of 20,000 people. Chaudhary Budh Ram, resident of Pilanji Gaon, said, “The MP has not visited the village in the last one and a half years. When people go to her office, she assures us that she has sanctioned funds for the village for its development but we have seen zero improvement.”
Another resident Om Prakash said: “We have stopped getting drinking water at our house. We have to survive on bottled water. Even the Aam Admi Party has not done anything here. This is the Chief Minister’s constituency but he has also not visited.”
The villagers said that no intervention has come even after repeated incidents of dengue and other diseases every year.
Dhir Singh Pradhan, a resident who deals in construction material, said, “There are dengue cases every year. But no medical clinics, awareness camps, fumigation or preventive tasks are carried out. No work has been done to turn this village into a model village. It’s all a hoax.”