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FB Journo: “Bijli Kab Ayegi ?” They Ask in UP’s Robertsganj

Students struggle to study under lamps in Uttar Pradesh’s Robertsganj.

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With every sunset, life in Uttar Pradesh’s Robertsganj town comes to a standstill. On most evenings, Dinesh sits by a flickering lamp, as he struggles to read one book after another. Often, the lamp goes off, leaving the 16-year-old’s house and his many dreams in complete darkness.

Dinesh’s village, much like other clusters dotting the small town in UP’s Sonbhadra district, is yet to be electrified. In every household, students scramble to study, as a barrage of insects make the going difficult. They fly into their nostrils and hover around, attracted by a single, albeit dwindling source of light.

As darkness descends on an entire generation of budding scholars, parents worry. Some sit with their wards. How long will our young ones suffer? they ask.

With each fading lamp, students become discouraged. How can they hold on to their academic ambitions, when lack of electricity makes the basic act of studying impossible. 
Kuber, Robertsganj resident

The lack of electricity has also affected agriculture. Suresh, who works as a farmer, says that electrification and development are intertwined. It’s almost impossible to operate water pumps without electricity. Without proper irrigation, the crops suffer and the farmers starve.

In the recent Union budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that 100 percent rural electrification would be achieved by the end of 2018. Currently, over 8,000 villages remain cut-off from the power grid, and by default, from prospects of development.

Repeated requests to power depart officials have been fallen on deaf ears, says Robertsganj resident Savitri.

With the state fast heading to polls, can politicians and their endless promises save this village from plunging further into darkness?

(With video inputs from Suresh Dwivedi)

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

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