News from Nadia

Electricity Eludes Char Kurmipara For Erosion And Apathy

Villagers in Char Kurmipara with the nonfunctioning CFL lantern given by the Nadia administration. NfN Picture

Satellite view of Char Kurmipara village. The erosion made its look similar to an island (Pic courtesy Google Maps)


Char Kurmipara (Nadia), June 12: Fulchand Mahato of Char Kurmipara, an aameen (surveyor) by profession crosses river Bhagirathi on a boat everyday early in the morning with at least ten mobile phones to reach Belerhat rail station in Burdwan district to recharge them.

Class 12 student Biswa Mahato, Sathi Mahato cross the river similarly to reach their college in Ukhra in Burdwan so that they could recharge their phones ahead of other students. The reason, the village where they live has no electricity.

Fulchand, Biswa, Sathi and their 386 neighboring families know that living in Char Kurmipara is a great challenge without electricity.

Infact, this small village embraced by river Bhagirathi has been posing a great challenge to the district administration as development took a back seat here due to its peculiar geographical location.

The administration has vowed to provide power supply here, a facility that still eludes the villagers due to its inaccessible location that taken shape of an island. The district administration on May 5 announced before chief minister Mamata Banerjee that the rural electrification programme has been completed in the district largely. But, Char Kurmipara remained deprived as usual.

The administration has been striving hard to find out a “physical way” to connect the village with the mainstream of the district so that it could be used to erect poles.

But, as the only road to the village from Bethuadahari town lost in Bhagirathi 15 years ago, the task has become nearly impossible.

District magistrate Nadia Sumit Gupta, nevertheless, sounds optimism. “There are serious difficulties,

Eroded bank of river Bhagirathi in Char Kurmipara. NfN Picture

but we have to overcome it. I have talked to the engineers of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited. We have been jointly mooting a plan to set up a renewable solar energy plant in the village under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.”

Located under Nakashipara gram panchayat of Nadia, the 1500 poor villagers (BPL) who belong to backward communities (ST) and work as farm labors, now feel proximity to Burdwan district. In absence of any approachable road, it takes around one hour to reach the village by boat.

Fulchand said: “The erosion brought us closure to Burdwan. To meet all daily needs like education, food we go to Burdwan crossing the river”.

The only road that once acted as life line to 386 families in the village connecting them with Patuli ghat road to reach Bethuadahari (10km away), has lost due to erosion making the village inaccessible.

A WBSEDCL officer of Bethuadahari substation said: “Initiative to bring power to the village started around 10years ago. During 2010 years ago, the administration tried to bring power, but the effort had to be given up eventually”.

“We had to dump the project of setting up 11kv power station in the village as poles erected lost in erosion and many villagers raised objections against cables over their agriculture land. Many poles could be seen still erected in the village”, the WBSEDCL officer added.

During the last seven years the erosion made its impact deeper as huge land lost in Bhagirathi.

Abandoned post once erected for electric cables in Char Kurmipara. NfN Picture

“During the last seven years our survival has become tough. Huge quantities of land lost in erosion. Moreover agriculture suffered in absence of proper irrigation for want of power. We seldom get benefits of the welfare schemes as panchayat officials hardly visit the village”, said Raghunath Mahato, a local.

In the last two panchayat polls, Trinamul lost to CPM in Char Kurmipara, despite winning panchayat body. Villagers think that political prejudices also contributed to their misery.

But, leaving their political differences the villagers in last week marched to DM office in Krishnanagar to place their demand that include electric supply.

In November last year the administration had given one solar lantern with 3 watt CFL lamp to each of 386 families. But within a month most of them went out of order.

DM Sumit Gupta said: “The miseries will come to an end soon”.

A WBSEDCL official in Calcutta said: “We have prepared a project for Char Kurmipara under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which is a scheme designed to provide continuous power supply to rural India. A team will visit the village to check feasibility of the project soon.

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