VASAI VILLAGE GETS POWER CONNECTION FOR FIRST TIME
It took seven long decades for the Devkundi-Jambulpada village in Vasai, Palghar district to get electricity. So when the villagers saw a bulb glow for the first time on December 15, it was like a dream come true.
Not only is the wait for electricity for 70-odd years after Independence surprising, what is more shocking is that the village is located at a distance of just 4km from the twin cities of Mira- Bhayandar and is close to the busy Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway 8. Also, there are high-end resorts and a couple of good hotels glowing with electricity in the area.
Residents of Devkundi-Jambulpada hamlet in Vasai, Palghar district, four kilometres from the twin cities of Mira Road and Bhayander celebrated when their village was lit with electricity for the first time since independence.
While a resort located metres away from the hamlet has boasted of power for the past 15 years, the village received power only a few weeks ago, after Vasai-based social activist Sushant Patil took up the issue with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in November 2016.
Patil is part of Bhumiputra Rozgar Haqq Sarakshan Samiti (a tribal welfare outfit of local unemployed youths).
“The chief minister immediately ordered energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule to look into the matter and provide electricity to the village. However, bureaucratic wrangles delayed the same, but we did not give up,” Patil said.
Power is being supplied to the village under the Deendayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (Rural Electrification scheme) of the central government.
It took a herculean effort on the part of a Vasai-based social activist Sushant Patil to ensure the village with a population of 100 gets the basic civic amenity.
Patil took up the matter with the authorities concerned from time to time.
Bawankule asked for the village details and I readily provided the same,” Patil said.
On Bawankule’s instructions, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) visited and surveyed the hamlet and within a few days, they installed nine electricity poles.
“We have provided electricity under Pandit Deendayal Gram Jyoti Yojana (Rural Electrification scheme). We have also provided free electronic power meters, LED bulbs to each household coupled with free wiring, as per orders,” said a MSEDCL official from Vasai.
However, he refused to comment on the delay of providing power to the villagers.
Devkundi-Jambulpada is surrounded by thick forests and has a population of just 100 people, who are majorly katkaris (farm labourers) working in nearby paddy fields.
The villagers had been living in fear of leopard attacks as there was no power and students used the dim light of lanterns for their studies.
“Many villagers had migrated to Mira and Bhayander in search of livelihood as our village did not have any power. We will now try to bring them back since we have electricity,” Patil said.
The villagers were glad to see their homes lit with LED bulbs and also performed pujas in their homes.
“We have sent a letter of gratitude to MSEDCL for bringing power to the village 70 years after independence,” Patil said
But his efforts bore fruit only after he raised the issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last year.
The village has been electrified under the Deendayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, an ambitious rural electrification scheme of the Centre.
Until now, Devkundi-Jambulpada used to live in constant fear of leopard attacks as it is surrounded by thick forests.
Amajority of the residents of Devkundi- Jambulpada comprises katkaris (farm labourers) working in nearby paddy fields. In the absence of electricity, they used to finish their work before it turned dark to avoid attacks from wild animals and reptiles.
“We are really thankful of this BJP government who not only responded promptly but was also cooperative,” said Patil, who heads Bhumiputra Rozgar Haqq Sarakshan Samiti, a tribal welfare outfit of local unemployed youths.
He was also thankful to Maharashtra energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule.
Patil said when he took up the matter with Bawankule, he took prompt action and sent the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) officials to the village to survey it. Within a few days, the MSEDCL installed nine electricity poles and provided free electronic power meters, LED bulbs and wirings to each household in the village.
Scores of students would study under the dim light of lanterns using expensive kerosene and the tribals would always live in the fear of leopard attacks, as the entire hamlet is under darkness, after night and women and children would walk in the night to reach their homes and with the power, villagers can be assured of electricity.
Lack of electricity had forced many villagers to migrate to other places such as Mira and Bhayandar. The villagers welcomed the much-awaited facility with a pooja.