India just celebrated its 68th year independence and Haryana is in its 48th year since it was formed, so why is it that after so many years of freedom, our villages still lack basic amenities? Why do our citizens of Haryana still have to accept such poor quality of life? Why have they been denied basic amenities?
Why is there such lopsided development, where you have a shining example of Gurgaon on one side and you have complete backwardness in terms of infrastructure, just 5 kms away? This is Haryana's shame that we have not been able to provide basic amenities to our people.
Lack of toilets
One visit to any village in Haryana and you get the feel of going back one hundred years. Even today there are people who have to go out to open fields to defecate. Women and girls have to hold back until dark and then risk going out at night to relieve themselves. So why is it that we have failed to provide toilets to people? If TCS can allocate Rs 100 crore and announce to build 10,000 toilets, then why has the Haryana government not been able to ensure a toilet in every home, in all these years? Why has it taken our Prime Minister, to bring such a basic necessity to everyone's attention? How can any self-respecting Chief Minister claim credit for developing a state, when after all these years of so-called development, its women and children still have to go out in the open at night?
Haryana is not a large state, so how is it that its citizens cannot get 24 hour of electricity? If not 24 hours, then at least 20 hours per day? But the situation is so bad that even in a developed zone such as Gurgaon, people have to make use of their own private generator sets, to meet basic needs. Street lighting is still nonexistent in villages. With incidents of crime increasing each year, it's the women and children of the villages that are suffering the most. There has been very little investment in this area and where some common street lights have been installed, most remain non-functional. Poor maintenance, corruption, total lack of customer care, are problems that the poor villagers have to deal with, all the time.
Why it is that after all these years, Haryana still has to depend on the National Grid for electricity? Why was there no planning and investment for meeting the future needs when permits were being released for commercial development. The last eight years has been particularly bad, with the state government issuing licenses for commercial development all over the state, without investing in the supporting infrastructure, thereby only increasing the problems of the common villagers who are denied their rightful share of electricity, at the cost of urban consumers.
Poor road condition
Just travel 5 kms outside Gurgaon, Ambala or Panipat, to know the condition of roads in the state. There is total neglect of internal roads. Either there are no metalled roads or the metalled roads are in such poor condition that the vehicles can barely move on them. The poor farmers who still operate bullock carts have to bear the brunt of this. In monsoons, the problem gets even worse. Moving agricultural produce from farm to mandi on time, is a major challenge. But is the state government even listening?
Poor Health and Sanitation
Health and hygiene of its people should be top priority for any government but in Haryana we do not see any attempt to improve the health and hygiene, especially in villages. There is still no sewage system laid. Most of the wastes from homes still flow in open drains, giving rise to all kinds of communicable diseases. There has been no investment to either provide a functional drainage system nor any attempt to cover these? One can see heaps of garbage collected from place to place with no system to remove them.
Villages are the heart and soul of Haryana but where is the governance? The condition of the government health centres in the state is extremely poor. Patients are exposed to filthy rooms, filthy toilets and unclean public areas that can only serve as breeding grounds for all sorts of germs. Besides the hygiene part, most of the equipment available at these centres are nonfunctional due to poor maintenance or because there is no electricity. The situation is particularly bad in the villages.
Poor school infrastructure
Education is the only tool the common man has to improve the quality of life and his child's future depends on the quality of education he or she receives. Given the importance of this vital part of development of a state, the condition of schools in villages of Haryana is bad, to say the least. Children have to endure classrooms in poor state of maintenance, the blackboard is in a bad state and in many cases broken, either there are no toilets or the condition is so bad that the children are forced to go in the open fields nearby.
During peak summer months, children have to sit in classrooms that are like ovens, as there is no electricity for most times. And if there is electricity then the classrooms have no fans. The lack of trained teachers is a major problem and those that have been recruited, have a poor attendance record, all at the cost of these poor children who have no alternate available to them but to undergo these terrible conditions. How can any state expect to develop citizens from schools with these conditions? How can the state allow this to go on, while trumpeting how developed Haryana has become?
Time to refocus
If there is no electricity how can there be television, internet and mobile technology? How can these villages be transformed without information, knowledge, e-governance reaching them in an era where our lives are becoming digital for most functions?
If Haryana has to take the next leap of development, then we have to start from our villages and provide all citizens with a higher quality of life than what we have provided so far. It's now time for a Naya Haryana.