Lance Naik Hemraj’s ultimate sacrifice at the India-Pak border still lingers in the minds of Indians, but the lofty promises made to his family after the incident have largely been forgotten.
The soldier’s body was found beheaded after a skirmish with enemy forces in January 2013, and the then army chief and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav were among the big names who visited his village, Sher Nagar in Mathura district — promising everything from land and jobs for the family to water supply and schools for the village.
However, Hemraj’s widow, Dharamwati, who was in Agra on Tuesday to meet officials of the power corporation over the issue of electricity supply to her village, said “many of these promises are yet to be complied with”.
“A major promise made at the time was about providing better road connectivity and water supply to the village,” she said. “The water in our village is saline and we have to walk for kilometres to get potable water. A water tank being constructed in our village has been lying incomplete. Also, our village is located in the ravines of Mathura district and the link road constructed is damaged.”
“The village has been included in the list of Lohiya villages, but facilities are still to be upgraded,” she added.
Though five acres of land were promised, she said the family received only three acres, and her brothers-in-law are still waiting for the promised jobs.
“We were also given assurances that our village would get an intermediate school (up to Class 12) but any such initiative is still to commence,” she said.
Dharamwati, who is presently living in an army accommodation in Mathura, said even though her children were studying in the army school, she was worried about how long the facility would continue. “But I have no complaints with the army,” she said.
Although the government had proposed to install Lance Naik Hemraj’s statue at a park in the area, it failed to deliver. The family ultimately bore the entire cost of the installation, the martyr’s widow said.