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Despite development initiatives, perennial water woes continue to haunt Palamu

The sitting BJP MP banking on big development projects like irrigation projects and medial college to sail over, the opposition voices command man’s concern

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 11, 2019 09:06 IST
Vishal Sharma
Vishal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Daltonganj
palamu issues,palamu constituency,palamu draught
RJD candidate for Palamu parliamentary constituency Guran Ram going file his nomination for the Lok Sabha election at district collectoriate in Daltonganj on Saturday (File)

Recurrent droughts, feudal social structure, subsequent left wing extremism (LWE) and backwardness have been the hallmarks of the Palamu Lok Sabha seat, one of the 14 parliamentary constituencies in Jharkhand.

Spread over two districts of Palamu and Garhwa and comprising six assembly segments – Daltonganj Sadar, Chatterpur (SC), Hussainabad, Bhawnathpur, Bishrampur and Garhwa – the Palamu Lok Sabha seat is reserved for scheduled caste (SC) candidates.

Candidates of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and a top Maoists leader, who contested on a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) ticket, have won this seat during past three general elections and a by-election held since Jharkhand came into existence. But the ground situation has failed to show any discernible change.

In 2004, RJD leader, Manoj Kumar became the MP. In 2009, a top Maoists leader Kameshwar Baitha defeated RJD’s Ghuran Ram who won in by-election. The BJP came to power with the former Jharkhand director general of police (DGP) Vishnu Dayal Ram defeating RJD’s Kumar by a huge margin.

Palamu has witnessed seven droughts in past one decade with people even facing acute shortage of drinking water during summer months across the two districts as the entire Palamu and Garhwa districts are rain-shadow areas. Most of the irrigation projects including Mandal Dam and mega urban drinking water project have failed to either kick off or get competed for decades.

Long hours of frequent power cuts and large scale migration of people in search of employment to other states also mar the constituency.

This time, too, the ground situation is no different, despite VD Ram’s claims to have tried his best to improve the ground condition.

Though Ram managed to completely transformed Kishunpur, a nondescript village selected to be developed as a model village. Bhola Pandey, ex Defence Director, Border Road Organisation (BRO) and a resident of Patan said, “Kishunpur now have good transport and health facility. The standard of education and business there has also significantly improved and the credit for this transformation goes to the local MP and the state government.”

Kishunpur in Patan block of Palamu district now have piped water supply line, a stadium, health centre, street lights, and community toilets.

Even though the electioneering is yet to pick up, a direct fight between BJP and the RJD is on the cards. The BJP has fielded Ram while the RJD showed trust on Ghuran Ram who won in 2007 during a bye-election.

Palamu sitting Member of Parliament (MP), VD Ram claimed that he had been totally committed to all round development of his constituency and would continue to do so if voted to power again. “I tried my best to meet the aspiration of the people and created an atmosphere of security to ensure development during my tenure as an MP. Now, I am again going to bank on development plant this time,” Ram asserted.

Ram pointed out revival of Rajhara coal mine, Sone River water pipe line project, more than 22 irrigation projects, setting up of Palamu medical and engineering colleges and sanction of Garhwa bypass road as some of his major achievements. However, most of these projects were yet to be completed.

Commenting on the sitting MP Ram’s tenure, Ajay Kumar Singh, a neutral voter said, “Though Ram remained in the field, he focused mostly on Patan-Chhatarpur, a constituency represented by his relative as an MLA. Secondly he switched to top gear only during last year of his tenure. That is why his development initiatives are not up to the mark. Still he deserves another chance so that he gets an opportunity to get big projects like medical college and irrigation projects completed under his leadership.”

Ram’s claims do not go down well with the opposition leaders who termed Ram tenure as failure. Manoj Kumar, who was the runner up in 2014 election said, “Though VD Ram remained in the constituency, he failed to connect with the people and was mostly surrounded by a select few. The common people’s aspirations were not fulfilled.”

“Ram rode on a Modi-wave in 2014 and is trying the same this time too,” pointed out Manoj whom the RJD recently expelled from the party.

The RJD candidate from this seat, Ghuran Ram said, “The Palamu MP wasted five years in only making false promises but did not do anything for youth of Palamu who badly suffer by the double standard of the state’s employment policy.”

On the other hand, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate and ex-Jharkhand minister Dulal Bhuiyan said, “None of the Palamu MPs have done anything concrete to redress woes of the local people.” Bhuiyan is contesting as the BSP candidate from the seat.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 09:06 IST

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