Uttarakhand MPs leave adopted villages orphan

  • Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times, Rudraprayag/Dehradun
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2016 20:48 IST
Sangeeta, who was widowed during the 2013 disaster, with her daughter at Rudraprayag’s Devli Bhanigram village. (Anupam Trivedi/HT photo)

A majority of villages adopted by members of parliament in Uttarakhand under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) for improving basic amenities have shown little progress even after 17 months, say villagers. 

The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2014 to develop model villages through effective implementation of existing schemes and certain new initiatives. However, villagers complain that the MPs seldom visit the adopted villages. 

Devli Bhanigram in Rudraprayag district, about 250 kilometres from Dehradun, still struggles to recover from the 2013 calamity. It was adopted by Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Pauri Garhwal and former chief minister Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri in January last year. 

About 17 months down the line, the villagers allege they haven’t noticed any substantial change after the MP adopted it. The village had hit the headlines in June 2013 when 54 male residents of the village had died in the Kedarnath deluge that left over 30 village women widowed. 

Sangeeta Bagwari, a mother of three, who lost her husband in the floods, says, “I once saw Khanduriji. But I cannot say whether the village has been benefited after he adopted it. Our condition remains the same.” Other residents say the village was connected by a kuccha road long ago, but it has yet not been blacktopped. Social worker Keshav Tiwari says, “A lot of work is yet to be done. The MP visited the village thrice but the road is yet to get a facelift.” 

Some 170 kilometres from Devli Bhanigram is located Lambagar village in Chamoli district. The village was first adopted by former Rajya Sabha MP Manorama Sharma. After her demise, actor Raj Babbar, who was elected to the upper house, adopted the village last year. But, he is yet to visit the village and initiate works. Manorama Sharma’s daughter-in-law Asha Dobriyal says, “We have requested the MP several times (to visit the village). But, he has so far only given assurances.” 

Another Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mahendra Mahara had adopted Raulmel village in Champawat district. But, he too is said to visit the village rarely. Official sources say the MP has spent R 25 lakh under the MP local area development fund to carry out development works under SAGY. However, the result is yet not visible. A similar complaint is from Suphi villagers. The village falls in Bageshwar district and was adopted by BJP MP from Almora Ajay Tamta in Jan 2015. However, he was not available for comments. 

Pushkar Dhami, BJP MLA in whose constituency, Nainital MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari has adopted ‘Sarpuda’ village, says the MP regularly visits the village and spends money wherever it is required.

“There is no dearth of funds. I can’t give you the exact figures on spending but certainly projects to the tune of `50 lakh are in the pipeline,” Dhami says. 

However, among the lot, Haridwar MP Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank seems to be seriously undertaking development work in ‘Govardhanpur village’.

He says the village stands on top in terms of development spending as projects worth `1.5 crore have been sanctioned under his supervision. 

“Nishankji is soon going to adopt another village too,” says his spokesperson Ajay Bisht.

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