Literally consigned to living in darkness for 66 years since the nation awoke to the light of freedom, the Shikarpur village of Murshidabad is finally set for a tryst with one of the basic fruits of modern civic life-electricity.A fairly non-descript village ensconced in a remote corner of Murshidabad, Shikarpur would retire early after sundown, with no electric poles and neons to light up its streets and homes. But not any more!
Home to nearly 2900 people, of whom 1030 are registered voters, the village in the Beawa gram panchayat of Farakka block is finally ready to step into the age of electricity. Local administration will conduct a survey for an electrification programme following the upcoming assembly bypoll in neighbouring Rejinagar.With agriculture being the primary source of livelihood for locals, the village would shut down post sundown. However, word of the impending electrification programme has brought happy tidings after years of waiting, filling the locals with renewed hope.
Upset over the continued neglect to one of their pet demands, the locals had even kept away from polio programmes to press for power. But their cries fell on deaf ears, with the district administration failing to mobilise steps to bring electricity to the village. However, the local administration has now finally pledged to go all out to bring electricity to the village, just in time for the upcoming panchayat elections. Work on the survey will begin once the bypoll verdict in Rejinagar is out.
“Shikarpur lies in one of the remotest corners of Murshidabad, with no concrete road linking the village. One has to make a detour through three villages of neighbouring Jharkhand to reach Shikarpur. The only other way to reach there is by boat on the Ganga and Padma. It even takes hours to reach here from the block headquarters at Farakka,” a senior official of the district administration told HT.
“We had mobilised an electrification project a few years back, but couldn’t do much in the face of resistance from villagers in Jharkhand. It wasn’t economically viable to raise electric poles over the Ganga and Padma at the time. Hence the project fell through,” the official said.