Friday, January 27, 2012

[ZESTCaste] UP Assembly elections: Ambedkar village scheme in UP has improved lives where work was done

27 Jan, 2012, 11.07AM IST, Shailvee Sharda,TNN
UP Assembly elections: Ambedkar village scheme in UP has improved
lives where work was done

BARABANKI/SITAPUR: Unlike most villages where political discourse
revolves around caste and community, in Barabanki's Mohammadpur , an
Ambedkar village, they discuss development. "Vikas bada mudda hai is
baar," (Development is a big issue), said Dhaniram, a resident as he
pored over a local daily's election coverage. Had there been
development in his village? The 45-year-old replied "See for

When she implemented the Ambedkar village scheme in 1995, UP CM
Mayawati was accused of focusing too much on dalits. Today, UP has
over 19,000 Ambedkar villages. Though very few villages have changed,
lives have improved where work has been done.

Mohammadpur can be termed a model village with Ambedkar village
status. It has concrete link roads connected with brick by-lanes and
houses built under the state government-run Indira Awas Yojana. Most
households have toilets and uninterrupted power supply. The village
has primary schools, a Panchayat bhavan and India Mark-II hand pumps.

The idea of Ambedkar villages was conceived in 1991 to bring dalits
into the mainstream . With an average spend of Rs 3.5 crore per
village, the focus was on infrastructure and social parameters
including pensions for widows and elderly. All-round development was

Mohammadpur has a majority dalit population and Jatavs and Raidas who
live here are a satisfied people. Naunilal and Maya Devi, a
70-year-old dalit couple who sell corn and rice puff say they are
grateful to Mayawati. "Constant water-logging near my house was
finally resolved when a pucca road was built," Naunilal said. "An
electricity pole has also come up near our house," Maya Devi added.

For Mithlesh Kumari, recently married to Mohammadpur's Devendra Kumar
, living in a pucca house is the biggest boon. Visits to her maternal
home have reduced. "This house is very comfortable . I don't feel at
ease in my parents' thatched hut," Mithlesh said.

Mohammadpur has been lucky that the work planned got done. Not so in
most of the other Ambedkar villages that still struggle with dirt
roads, contaminated water and no drainage systems despite funds

In Gonda Kochwa for instance, residents ' complain. "During rains, the
village becomes hell.

See graph:

No one has come to help us," Doodhnath, a resident, said. Houses
constructed under the Indira Awas Yojana lie incomplete. "My brother
was given an Indira Awas in 2004 but its roof is yet to be laid. So my
brother lives with his family of 7 in a thatched hut that erodes and
collapses during every rainy season," said Jagdish Prasad. India
Mark-II hand pumps lie defunct and dry.

Ordinary villages don't even have hope. In Sitapur's Biswa assembly,
Akbarpur has four hand pumps serve 500-people , women walk half a
kilometre for safe drinking water, unemployment is a big concern.
Plagued by the same issues, residents of Hardoi's Jamnipur village
boycotted the Lok Sabha election in 2009.


Villages with majority dalit population get Ambedkar village status
Idea of Ambedkar village originated in 1991 but the concept was
implemented by Mayawati government in 1995 Idea was to bring into the
mainstream, the poor, especially dalits living in remote villages by
bringing development in those regions Basic standards were fixed for
each village.

These included supply of safe drinking water, provision of Indira
Awas, construction of roads, drains, free boring, old age pension,
widow pension, rural electrification among others Till now, 19,176
villages have been covered under the scheme. On an average, '3.5
crores is spent on a single Ambedkar Village

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