Absent on Uttar Pradesh’s map and devoid of any government assistance, the Naudei ki Madhaiyya village suffers in obscurity
Recently a commercial feature film Joker starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha released on the silver screen. The storyline was about a hamlet called Paglapur nestled somewhere in remote Punjab between two small villages. Being positioned at such an insignificant location, development is the last thing that reaches Paglapur since Independence.
Such stories, though lost in juvenile treatment in the film, are but true. The recent example is one such piece of land in Narora in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshaher district. Naudei ki Madhaiyya is just five km away from the famous Narora Power Plant.
This small sub-village is nestled between another two big villages called Naudei Bangar and Udaygiri. Therefore, it neither belongs to the former nor the latter. While Naudei Bangar is one km from Naudei ki Madhaiyya, Udaygiri is two km away. Being a sub-village, it does not have a panchayat of its own, and the villagers have to go to either of the two bigger villages for any matter that requires panchayat’s intervention.
The problem does not end there. Because of its insignificant existence, the panchayats of the two bigger villages keep on referring their matters of concern to each other to avoid any responsibility. Octogenarian Roshanlal cites an example: “The village has just few government hand pumps and one of them broke down several months ago. We keep on going from Naudei Bangar’s panchayat pradhan to Udaygiri’s pradhan, but none of them give us any audience.”
To top that, government schemes or funds for employment and development always benefit the two bigger villages. For instance, says Jayshankar Singh, the only graduate from Naudei ki Madhaiyya, “If schemes like Mahatma Gandhi Rozgar Yojna comes here, its benefits are not given to my village because it doesn’t exist for the government.”
Naudei ki Madhaiyya, which has two tiny locales namely Retagarh and Roopaspur, spread over just 850 metre in length and 300 metre in breadth, has a voter list of 400 names. The total head count of the villagers is 1,100 and for a village to have a panchayat, it should have at least 2000 people. “The village’s name has its presence in the local block map but not in the Uttar Pradesh map or India’s map,” confirms a representative from Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) who comes to these households to teach how to save dolphins in the river Ganga that flows by the village.
Also, despite the Narora Power Plant being so close by, the village gets only two hours of electricity every day.
“Because of the absence of electricity, theft is rampant here. Our women fear to tread out of their homes in the evening even to fetch drinking water from the tube well installed in the open area of the village,” says Chanderpal Kushwaha, another villager.
There are no schools in this village either. Children go to a government school locate one km away. This school, again, has one all-subject teacher who multi-tasks as the principal and book-keeper for 120 students. “He himself asked me not to send my children to this school but to a better private school far away from this hamlet,” says Chaderpal.
Around 45 families in the entire village are prosperous with agricultural land and cattle, others work as labourers in their fields.