More than two dozen men in Uttar Pradesh’s Paschimpara village have been waiting for over seven years to tie the knot and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.
That’s because this area on the outskirts of Kanpur city has no electricity and its neighbours are unwilling to marry their daughters into this so-called black hole.
Paschimpara with 500 men and 200 women mostly comprises people from backward castes. At least 30 men here are looking for brides. The residents don’t marry within the village because of religious reasons.
“In the 1990s, when (SP chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav was in power he promised to give us electricity. Then the BSP government came to power and renamed the village ‘Ambedkar Gaon’,” headwoman Ram Kali Sahu said. “Now, that the SP government is back in power, the village is also known as Lohia village, but we are still waiting for electricity.”
The villagers are among hundreds of millions of people in India presently living off the grid with clumsy policies, inadequate management and environmental concerns impeding efforts to generate sufficient power.
Paschimpara residents say they have approached several MLAs in the past few decades but no one has done anything to help them. “Politicians only visit us at the time of elections but don’t bother to resolve our problems after that,” said 62-year old Sumitra Devi.
The villagers, however, are hopeful that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will live up to his promise of electrifying 18,500 villages within the next three years. The PM made this announcement in his Independence Day speech this year.
Most of the men here have studied up to Class 12. Some girls after completing their higher secondary education teach younger girls for free. These youngsters too have requested Kanpur district magistrate Dr Roshan Jacob to provide electricity to the village.
“We will speak to (power suppliers) KESCo or Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd and ask them to try and set up a plant to provide electricity to the village,” Jacob told HT.