The Aam Aadmi Party has accused the Punjab government of ignoring the problems of Dalits in the state and dividing the people on cast lines.
AAP patiala coordinator Balbir Singh gave this statement, when he reached Thuhi village with his team on Saturday, after reading the Hindustan Times story on the inhospitable conditions in which Dalits of the village are being made to live. The HT highlighted that the Dalits of the village have to live in between two sewage ponds, created by the drainages exiting from two villages– Thuhi and Thuha.
The villagers said that the gram panchayat had passed a resolution a year ago, which has not been worked on by the administration. Sarpanch of Thuhi patti told that he has again moved the agenda and the gram panchayat would sit on August 17 and again pass the resolution to shift the sewage pond to another piece of land in Shamlat () beyond the residence.
The party workers collected a contribution to fill diesel in the motor to push the water to bigger drain. The motor was not used owing to petty politics of both the gram panchayats. The party leaders met the other villagers and Sarpanches of both Thuhi patti and Thuha patti and motivated them to solve the issue of drainage by sitting on one table.
The villagers showed them the whole village how the water was logged in the streets since the rain on Thursday night and also listed the problems related to MGNREGA, unemployment and health. Jabir Singh Jassi, AAP worker said that the whole village was troubled by the poor drainage system since the rain water enters the houses of both the villages whereas the sewage water rises in the houses of Dalits which is bad for everyone’s health.
The party leaders promised to set up the water treatment plant to use the water for irrigation which would result in cost effective farming on coming into power. Dr Balbir said the Dalits that they could demand the cleaning of the pond also under a central government scheme for the time being.
However, the activity made the local leaders a bit uneasy.
Ex Sarpanch and nephew of ex minister Harmel Singh Tohra, Palvinder who is brother in law of the current sarpanch of Thuha patti said these are new comers in politics and don’t know the ground issues. “They (dalits) are living in Shamlat land which belongs to both the panchayats” he added. When asked that the government has policy to give 150 sq yard plot to homeless and poor families, he said that he was not aware of the scheme. “Show me in any village if the such plots have been given. The policy must be in papers only” he added.