Girls’ education, drinking water facilities, health infrastructure and better roads are some of issues that will be the focus of development for Himachal Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members who have adopted a village each under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Barring Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda, who is yet to adopt a village due to his busy schedule, most of the MPs are keen to make their efforts count.
Girls’ education is Shanta’s priority
Shanta Kumar 80
Party: BJP; Constituency: Kangra
Village adopted: Parchor, 55 km from Chamba
Why: Shanta says, Chamba figures among the most backward areas of the state and therefore he wanted to adopt a village in the district. “Someone among the party workers suggested the name of Parchor. I have heard that it lacks basic amenities. I will focus on girl’s education, besides improving health infrastructure and the child sex ratio,” he says.
Wishlist: Parchor village pradhan Raj Kumar says the village needs road connectivity. “The nearest road is 3 km away. It needs proper drinking water supply and the sub-health centre should be upgraded. Science and commerce streams should be introduced in the village school. A rest house needs to be built in the village so that the village can be developed as tourism destination,” he says.
Anurag wants to develop Dehlan
Anurag Thakur 40
Party: BJP; Constituency: Hamirpur
Village adopted: Dehlan, 9 km from Una
Why: Anurag Thakur says though it is one of the most densely populated villages in Himachal, yet it lacks the basic facilities. “The village needs health, education and sports infrastructure. It can be developed into an industrial township and generate jobs for local residents. The social, economic, personal and educational issues will be taken up while developing the village,” he adds.
Wishlist: Ujagar Singh and Rama Devi, the pradhans of Dehlan Upper and Dehlan Lower, want the primary health centre upgraded to a civil hospital. “Youth have excelled in basketball and kabaddi and therefore we seek a stadium and other facilities for the sportspersons," they say.
Villagers look for better roads
Virender Kashyap 63
Party: BJP; Constituency: Shimla
Village adopted: Jagjitnagar, 8 km from Kasauli
Why: Virender Kashyap says that it was a difficult choice to adopt the village among the 754 panchayats in the Shimla Lok Sabha constituency. “I had asked the party workers to name two villages each from among the five blocks of Solan district. In a draw, Jagjitnagar was finally selected,” he informs.
Wishlist: Gopal Singh, pradhan, Jagjitnagar says villagers look forward to better roads, drinking water and irrigation facilities. “The village is hopeful that developmental activities will now be expedited,” he adds.
Sharma wants to focus on education
Ram Swaroop Sharma 56
Party: BJP; Constituency: Mandi
Village adopted: Manali village, 3 km from Manali town
Why: Sharma says the village has an old temple dedicated to Maharishi Manu, which will be developed on the lines of Kurukshetra. “The village was chosen after consulting the party workers. I will also promote wool craft, dairy farming, vegetable production, leather and iron industries. I want to focus on education, health and cleanliness,” says Sharma.
Wishlist: Hukam Ram, village pradhan, says despite being a tourist hotspot, the village lacks basic facilities. “Widening of the approach road, sewerage disposal, parking facilities and developing Manu temple should be the priorities,” says the pradhan.
Thadi wants health and educational facilities
Bimla Kashyap Sood 72
Village adopted: Thadi, 15 km from Shimla
Population: 800 (approx)
Why: Sood says she zeroed in on Thadi village of Kasumpati assembly segment after consulting the party workers. “Though I have visited the village on several occasions, the priority areas will be decided after meeting villagers’ representatives. I want to develop each village of the state. However, as I had to adopt one village, I asked the party workers, especially workers for Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha -- the women wing of BJP -- and they suggested me to adopt Thadi village,” she adds.
Wishlist: Thadi sarpanch Asha Kumari says the village is looking forward to better healthcare and education facilities.
Thakur for Masrur as famous tourist destination
Viplove Thakur 70
Village Adopted: Masrur, 36 kilometers from Dharamsala
Why: Thakur says though the village has the only monolithic monument in the state known as Masrur rock- cut temple and is close to famous tourist destination, it still is among the least developed villages in Kangra district. “The village lacks basic amenities. Because the roads are in poor shape, it hardly finds place in tourists’ itinerary. It lacks infrastructure to host tourists,” says Thakur, adding that her priority will be to develop the village on analogy of villages situated near Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia.
Whishlist: Masrur panchayat pradhan Prem Lata says the road connecting the village is in dilapidated condition and need to be widened. “Besides, the village lacks rest houses for tourists. It also needs a proper health care institution to cater to the need of locals and tourists,” she adds.
Nadda yet to decide on adopting a village
JP Nadda 53
Village adopted: Not yet decided
Nadda has not yet adopted any village, citing busy schedule as he is party’s general secretary and in-charge for Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Nadda has also been inducted in Narendra Modi’s cabinet as health minister. He says he will soon consult party workers to adopt a village.
“I remained busy due to hectic schedule and after Himachal’s tour, I will have to travel to Jammu and Kashmir to supervise the election preparation,” said Nadda, who is also BJP’s election in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, where polling is scheduled to take place in five phases, starting from November 25. Since session of Parliament is also in progress, Nadda says he would be busy with that as well.
Contributed by: Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur, Roop Upadhayay, Punkaj Bharatiya, Saurabh Chauhan, Bhawani Negi. Photos by Santosh Rawat