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City in Focus: Tohana

City in Focus: Tohana, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

27th August 2014

Naya Haryana

Tohana is a tehsil in Fatehabad district of Haryana, close to the Punjab border. The town has a population of about 2.6 lakh and is primarily an agrarian town. The soil is rich and therefore the region is repeatedly having bumper crop production. The main crops are wheat, Rice and cotton, thanks to the fact that in 1954 the Bhakra Nangal canal brought water and prosperity to this region. Water from the Bhakra Nangal breaks off into five streams from here. Therefore, the town is fortunate to have seven streams running past it. Tohana was also very fortunate to be connected by rail way back in 1890. Between the rail and water availability, Tohana has 4 cotton mills and 10 rice mills.

With all these advantages why has Tohana not developed further? Despite there being an ITI in Tohana, there is widespread unemployment in the area as there is very little industrial activity or other job opportunities. There is a sports stadium that has been built but there is very little sports activity organised to keep the youth occupied. The young women have very little avenues for creative vocations or job opportunities here.

Another area that requires attention is education. Tohana area has 109 government-run schools, which include primary, middle and secondary schools but the standard of education provided in these schools is not at the level that is required, if Haryana has to compete in the digital age. Just churning out numbers is not going to help the children find better jobs. There are some private schools that have come up and trying to provide quality education, however, the state-run schools require a major revamp. There is no science or medical colleges in Tohana.

However, Tohana faces certain other problems as well, and these have been long standing demands of the local people. Due to overdrawing of sub-surface water, the water table in the area has dropped to alarming levels and the authorities have had to classify the area as a dark zone. All further tube well connections have been suspended because of this.

The local people have been struggling with filth in the town due to poor maintenance by the municipal authorities, besides the sewage system is in an appalling state. The road condition gets worse during rains and because there is no water outflow facility, water logging during monsoons cause havoc for the local people. Despite repeated reassurances from the authorities, very little has been done to address this recurring problem.

Tohana also lacks good healthcare facilities. The health services provided currently need to be revamped and better equipped. For a town like Tohana, it is indeed sad that the state government has not done much in this aspect.

The question is given Tohana's close location to Punjab, an important rail connectivity and five irrigation canals flowing past it, why is it that Tohana has not been able to emerge as a dynamic, progressive town with employment rate, better housing and infrastructure? The town by virtue of its contribution to the agricultural basket of the state should have been given its due priority by now, so why have the people not been able to convince the state government to give them their due?

Our approach to a region is to work around its strengths. This area is strong in Kharif and Rabi crop production and there it is only natural that there should be a food processing park set up, so that there is a value addition to the local crop produced and at the same time create more local jobs. In fact Tohana is very well placed to support a thriving export oriented food park, given its location and access to water.

There is a need to establish a Medical College here. This will go a long way in improving the availability of qualified healthcare professionals while also providing upgraded health services.

It's time for the people to collectively raise their voice and work towards an improved Tohana which will be part of a prosperous Naya Haryana.

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