Sitting in the comforts of our office, we were watching local Television Channels showing the State Government’s advertisements, which painted such a happy picture of the rural folks of our state, set against the background of lush green agriculture fields, with abundance supply of water and electricity, happy children going to schools in their cycles, success stories of rural employment programmes, et al; the sweetness of government ads could have caused Diabetes to all of us, who have recently visited the rural areas of Jharkhand.
The truth cannot be further away from the images shown by Government propaganda machine. We decided to bring out the truth of our rural areas, which is not pretty. Due to wide-spread influence of Maoist forces, even the people from fourth estate rarely visit Jharkhand’s rural areas; which according to us are areas of major concerns.
1. Basic Infrastructure Facilities Are Untraceable
If one happens to visit the rural areas in Jharkhand, then one would notice that our Political and Bureaucratic bosses’ tall claims about developments are shameless utterances that should tantamount to lying, cheating, forgery and the betrayal of common people’s trust.
More than a decade has passed since the creation of Jharkhand and the installation of so called “Abua-Raj” which roughly means “Our-Rule”; but we do not see any sort of improvements in the lives of ordinary rural folks. Most of the villages of Jharkhand seemed to be caught in the medieval-ages, even in 21st Century, most of Jharkhandi villages do not have network of all-weather roads, do not have running water for irrigation purposes for their agricultural fields and the ‘electricity’ is yet to be experienced in their homes.
2. Basic Health Facilities Are Non-existent
In a state where Doctors, Nurses and Other Health Services Personnel are in perennial short-supply, it would be highly optimistic on our part to find them, serving in the Primary Rural Health Centres in these areas. The State Government does not have the any long-term or even short-term plans to provide easy access of health-services to rural denizens.
When we visited many villages, one of the common complaints that we came across was that their villages get cut off from the rest of the civilization during the monsoon seasons, because of the absence of roads and bridges. With a result, the mortality rates of patients during shoots up alarmingly during the monsoon season. Only a miracle and god’s intervention can help the patient as they try to reach nearest health centres. But even these health centres face severe man-power shortages.
Often we hear about many Jawans (who are either deputed or posted in these rural areas) from State Police Force and other Central Forces to fight against armed Maoist Cadre; but many of them lose their precious lives, after being afflicted with Malaria, Dengue, Diarrhoea, Viral Fever, gun-shot wounds, et al while their stay in these rural areas, because of lack of medical facilities in vicinity.
Now one can only imagine the plights of common villagers living in hostile environment.
3. Both Quantity And Quality Of Education Facilities Are Poor
In most of the rural areas across states, it is very difficult to find the Government (or even private) School Buildings, the School Teachers and the Students at one place, in one educational campus. Most often we have great paucity of both Buildings and Teachers in these areas. The widespread corruption in the Para-Teachers’ Policy, the Mid-day Meal Scheme, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, the Right to Education, other welfare measures like distribution of cycles to girl students, etc., has ensured that the education does not reach the poor and needy residing in the rural areas. Though one can find, quite a few concrete School buildings (these were built in the rural areas in the past by some well-meaning ruling elite, mind you not all of them are corrupt) located in these rural areas have become bone of contention between the Government and Maoist Forces, viz.,
- Government Forces camping in the rural areas prefer the safe confine of concrete school buildings for their stay. Thus the rural school-kids are forced to stay out of their own school premises and often study in open or in some cases even schools are closed.
- Maoist Forces often plant explosives to reduce such concrete School Buildings to mere rubbles to stop Government Forces to stay in safety of concrete buildings. They too forces rural school-kids to stay out of their schools.
Only common factor, in these two contrasting actions, is that school-kids are robbed of their opportunities to get educated and build a future.
Now one can visualize the reality about the quantity and quality of education in the rural areas of Jharkhand.
Consequently, we lag far behind in the development of human resources in our state.
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