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#SundayReading – Noor Jehan: The woman who lights up lives in UP villages

In a village 25km from Lucknow, 40W bulb ignites 1,000W smiles 
Mohanlalganj (Lucknow):


Noor jehan has been providing solar lanterns in at least 500 homes in Bairi Dariyaon and its neighbouring villages for the last 10 years. (ANI)

“Kamaal hui gawa,“ exclaimed 58-year-old Nankau Lodhi, as he excitedly pulled out a black and white TV that lay buried under a heap of clothes and paper in a trunk.After all, it was time to finally switch it on.The TV had not been used for years since Lodhi’s son, who lives in a city , had discarded it as there was no electricity in Lodhi’s Sheetalkhera village, which is barely 25km from Lucknow.

In October, Sheetalkhera finally became one of hundreds of villages across the country that has been provided electricity for the first time since independence.

PM Narendra Modi‘s referred to this rural electrification drive at a function in Delhi on Friday and said the Centre electrified over 3,000 villages against a target of 1,900 in first 100 days of his rule. The electrification promises to radically change lives of Sheetalkhera’s around 500 residents.

For Shanti Devi, it means her son can study anytime he wants. “Now he can study in the night as well.” Pradeep Kumar, a teacher, agreed that electrification would help students get those crucial extra hours to study . “Till now, they had no other option but to study before sunset or very early in the morning.” Housewife Ruby was dusting her refrigerator, which was gifted to her 10 years back but was of no use to her till now. She had come to the village after getting married. “Initially , it took me some time to adjust with pow erless atmosphere, but now things have really changed for good.” Ravi Rajput, a student, said he has grown up seeing his mother and grandmother using hand fans throughout the day . Electrification had eluded residents so long that they did not believe things could change even after overhead lines were put in place and a transformer was installed. “There are so many villages where such works have been done but they nev er got electricity . That way we are lucky ,” said Janki Ram, a resident.

Lodhi said he was sure they would get continuous power supply and now he even plans to buy an LCD TV .

Local MLA Chandra Ra wat had inaugurated electricity in the village by switching a bulb at Mata Prasad’s residence in Sheetlakhera about two months back. “I could see the happiness on the face of Mata Prasad’s family . Before this, they had to go to neighbouring market for even basic things like charging mobiles,” he said.

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