Delhi

Delhi village leads a life without power

Wheat grinding machine on tractor being used in the absence of electricity in Badar Pur Village in Delhi. Photo: Anu Pushkarna

Wheat grinding machine on tractor being used in the absence of electricity in Badar Pur Village in Delhi. Photo: Anu Pushkarna  

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A trip to Badarpur Khadar village in the Karawal Nagar area of North East Delhi is like a journey back in time. Situated alongside the Yamuna, this village lacks basically every facility. It has no power, no water connection, no school and neither a government dispensary. Every evening when night falls, the only light that touches the lives of the residents of this village is from Burari and Jahangirpuri across the Yamuna.

“It is a strange mixed feeling. We feel both happy and jealous on seeing the lights from across the river. But then we only pray that someday such light will also come to our village,’’ said Nanhe, a resident.

The absence of a power connection also means that there are no lights on the muddy lanes of the village. “When the Yamuna swells in the rainy season, the water comes to the edge of the village and that is the time when snakes and other insects swarm the place looking for a higher and dry area. Many a times people also get bit and in my lifetime at three people have died because they could not get medical aid on time,’’ said village elder Sarfaraz.

For the women too the absence of power means that most household chores are to be completed before dark. “It becomes very difficult after it gets dark. We have to either burn candles or light `dibiyas’ (oil lamps made in a bottle by piercing the wick through the cap). But when it is windy, even keeping them burning near the “chulhas’’ becomes very difficult,’’ said the daughter of Faimuddin, whose house is right on the edge of the village.

The absence of electricity has also meant that the village has to resort to unique ways to keep some of the essential gadgets running. So the loudspeakers installed on top of the mosque in the village, that has a majority Muslim population, are operated through a battery which is recharged every few days using a tractor.

Driven by necessity, the villagers have also devised their own way of recharging their mobile phones. So in Badarpur Khadar the phones are recharged in the evening with the help of adaptors connected to tractor batteries. The villagers also summon a portable tractor-operated grinding mill from outside to have flour made.

“We even marry our children during daytime. The “baraat’’ comes around 12 noon and after the “mezbaani’’, “rukhsadi’’ is done by 3 p.m.,’’ noted Sarfaraz.

“For us the life begins and sets with the sun. After dark there is nothing to do in this village. The only people who stay aware are the groups of four to five men who in turns guard the village against thieves that come looking for our sheep and buffalo.’’ said Shariq Khan, whose four sheep got stolen some time ago.

On why the village still has no electricity when Delhi is said to be 100 per cent electrified, a power department official said the village for all practical purpose is in Uttar Pradesh as it is surrounded on three sides by UP while one side faces the Yamuna. As it is about five kilometres from the nearest colony in Delhi, a long line has to be drawn for taking the power to Badarpur Khadar. “The matter is now with the Sub Divisional Magistrate for demarcation of land for electrification. Once the land is given, the electrification will happen.’’

North East Delhi MP J.P. Agarwal said he is trying hard to get power to this village. The MP said he has written a letter to Union Power Minister Sushil Shinde stating that since the Rural Development Corporation under the Power Ministry makes efforts to provide electricity to such village, the electrification of Badarpur Khadar be also taken up.

Mr Agarwal said he has also urged Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah to provide power to the village by installing solar panels there.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 5:30:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/Delhi-village-leads-a-life-without-power/article16885929.ece

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