by Rohini Gonsalves
The world is evolving at an unbeatable speed today. One can read, watch and witness millions of things happening all over the world every minute of the day. Indeed while the world has contracted, the possibilities in life have increased exponentially. The internet, social media, e-commerce, online education, digital media, data sharing, mobile broadband etc have become colloquial conversations for most people in our country today. With Digital India, Make In India and other august initiatives of the Government, we are clearly moving to a brighter future…
Brighter! A huh…
The word ‘brighter’ reminds me of light… and that leaves me wondering… How on earth will a land which is stooped in darkness without electricity supply for 18-20 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY of the year illuminate the future of this country. Yes, I’m speaking of several villages Belgundi, Boknur, Benkanhalli, Sonoli (just to name a few) where there is no electricity supply for more than 4-6 hours every day. Here’s what life in these villages looks like.
The farmer who tries to do his best to mitigate the impact of an unfavourable monsoon by irrigating his land cannot water his crop because there is no electricity to pump water from the wells. The better off ones, manage to buy diesel and run their pumps at an incremental cost. What happens to the one who cannot afford it? And I continue to hear everyone blame the Rain God!
The few enterprising villagers who have set up shops, mills, even photo copier machines apart from the local clinics can barely function without electricity. Some have gone ahead to install inverters. But these inverters get used to its capacity and there isn’t electricity supply long enough to recharge the battery. Like a pattern, by afternoon the otherwise buzzing village square is a dull and deserted place. Everyone has shut the business and found some other activity to keep one busy during the hours. The local ATM also ceases to function once the UPS battery is drained.
And the students better complete their studies in day light. They cannot even dream of using the computers. I’d rather leave you to imagine where it takes these students in the pursuit of their dreams.
The local households are bereft of basic facilities – lighting, heating – not to mention lack of usage of grinders/toasters/microwaves/refrigerators and TV. Those with mobile phones cannot even charge their phones completely.
The only reason why this has been the exact state of this region for over 30 years ever since they received electricity is because NO ONE CARES! These villages are almost invisible except during the elections. Apart from keeping these villages as just a node (“profit-centre” in corporate terms) to allocate funds to which will in turn go down the greedy bellies of politicians and influential people. When is someone going to enlighten these fattened brains to understand that life & living means beyond the roti, kapda and makaan crap that they have been professing like a creed over the last 6 decades of independence…
Grow up! Look around… this is the same dungeon where your future generations will be born. Electricity & Connectivity are the need of the hour. Wake up and don’t let the darkness in your souls, darken the future of our nation.