STORY: A tribal village in Saharanpur district of India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state, is still striving for basic facilities like drinking water, electricity, schools, or livelihood, seven decades after India gained independence from the British rule.
The small village, Anantgarh Soninagar, is occupied by ‘Vantangiya’ tribe, which were brought to India from Myanmar for forestation during the British rule, consider India as their home now.
Children in the village can often be seen drinking and having a bath from the same water source which is located next to an open sewer. The main occupation of the locals is only making of ropes among other things and children too, instead of going to school are seen adopting the same to get a livelihood.
District Magistrate of Saharanpur, P. K. Pandey, on the other hand, said that a working plan for a model school has been sanctioned by the authorities and solar panels are also installed for electricity as well as hand pumps for drinking water have been installed in the area. However, the said hand pumps are nowhere to be seen in the village.
The rural population of India comprises of over 640,000 villages spread over 15 diverse ecological regions of which 15,917 are not covered at all to have clean drinking water, according to the data presented by non-governmental organisation, Wateraid. More than 40 million households – about a quarter of all in the country – are yet to be electrified and about 300 million of India’s 1.3 billion population are still not hooked up to the grid.