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Promised Achhe Din Yet to Come in Petroleum Min’s Adopted Village

EXCLUSIVE I MP Dharmendra Pradhan made promises but didn’t do enough to develop his adopted village, alleged locals.

Updated
Politics
3 min read

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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(Are the ‘achhe din’ here for villages adopted by PM Modi's star MPs? Watch The Quint’s ground reports from villages adopted under the 'Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (SAGY))

In 2014, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan adopted Lakhani Bigha village of his constituency, which is just 10 kms away from Patna, under the SAGY.

The villagers now feel that they have been “cheated”, as MP Pradhan made several promises after adopting the village, but didn’t fulfil them.

This is the fourth village in The Quint’s series named ‘Our MP’s Village: Achhe Din?’. We earlier reported on MP Hema Malini, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s village.

Main Objectives of SAGY?

The objective of SAGY was to have Members of Parliament cater to the need of their adopted village and work towards its holistic development. Some of the goals that MPs were to achieve under SAGY include:

  • Education facilities
  • Cleanliness
  • Health facility
  • Skill development
  • Livelihoods
  • Basic amenities (Electricity, Pucca houses, roads, WiFi)
  • Good governance

The government started the SAGY project with the goal to develop three Adarsh Grams by March 2019, of which at least one would be achieved by 2016.

Pradhan made tall promises to the residents of Lakhani Bigha during his visits. But even after four years, most of these exist only in papers.

“We had given him a list of all the schemes that came under the campaign, and he accepted them. We even wanted his LPG cylinder plan to start from our village. He said he hasn’t adopted the village, the villagers have adopted him. He said he will form a committee and all the schemes will be executed through that. So far, no work has been done and we have no information.”
Devendra Singh Dangi, Resident, Lakhani Bigha 

The village is lacking basic facilities like water supply, schools and medical facilities.

“Firstly, the drains should be clean. There should be water facilities, and supply of electricity should be improved. We don’t have any of these. We also don’t have any facilities when it comes to healthcare. We complained, but there was no response. We have no facilities for water. We do have electricity. We don’t have hospitals. We don’t have proper government schools.”
Arun Singh, Resident, Lakhani Bigha 

Due to lack of toilets and drainage, the village is not open-defecation free.

“Not every household has a toilet. My own house doesn’t have one. Most of the women go to fields to defecate.”
Resident, Lakhani Bigha
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Residents of Lakhani Bigha say more developments have happened in the villages which had not been adopted, compared to theirs.

“We were told that every household will have a toilet as a part of Clean India Campaign. And that everyone will be given money. A few of the villagers were suppose to be paid money to get it done, so was I. But we got nothing. He (contractor) came, took photos, and then nothing happened. The village isn’t free from open defecation.”
Indrajit Kumar, Resident, Lakhani Bigha

The villagers express complete ignorance about the schemes and funds allocated for the development of the village. Even the authorities in the village refuse to share the details with the residents of Lakhani Bigha.

“No one has been given any information regarding what schemes will be implemented. No one knows anything.”
Arun Singh, Resident

The village head refused to speak to The Quint. However, a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who was helping MP Pradhan in the implementation of the developmental projects in the village, said he feels betrayed.

“He never contacted me even once. I tried to contact him a number of times, but he never responded. I was humiliated in the village. I am an RSS worker, and because of that, I had to suffer. Pradhan is an RSS worker too. One worker has insulted his fellow worker. I feel insulted by Dharmendra Pradhan. There has been no change.”
Janardhan Prasad, Resident, Lakhani Bigha 

(With inputs from Niraj Sahai in Patna)

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