Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Village that grows vegetables for Delhi longs for supply of clean drinking water

Surrounded by lush cauliflower and wheat fields in west Delhi’s Najafgarh, Jharoda Kalan village faces an acute problem of potable water supply. Residents claim that they have to buy water from some locals who have laid “private pipelines”.

The village — located barely 16 km from the Dwarka subcity — was adopted by West Delhi MP Pravesh Verma under the Prime Minister’s ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’. Verma said he has initiated a project in the village to lay water pipelines and construct an underground reservoir (UGR), which will be connected to the nearest Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supply.

The Rs 30-crore project is likely to be completed in one month, he said.

Verma, who adopted this village after being voted to power in 2014, listed establishment of of a Pashu Palan Training Centre (animal husbandry centre) and installation of street lights not only in the residential parts of the village but also across the fields as some of the major projects undertaken through his MP local area development fund. A lot of other development works could not be initiated because of a turf war between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi and the BJP at the Centre, he said.

Verma said he tried to speed up work from the Delhi government by getting the district magistrate and sub-divisional magistrate to act as mediators between him and the AAP dispensation. “In most of my visits to the village, I try to ensure that either the DM or the SDM are present as representatives from the Delhi government. The people of this village should not suffer, so we try to find all possible ways so that the work does not suffer,” said Verma.

Verma said nearly Rs 28 lakh have been spent on street lights and R2 crore to construct and improve roads leading from the village to the farms.

Eighty five-year-old Kali Ram, who visits his farms and supervise cultivation, said the village is yearning for potable water for years now. “One canister costs Rs 20. With the gruelling summers this year, each family requires at least three to four cans every day. Most of us cannot afford that,” Ram said.

He added, “With the increased fixed charges on agricultural electricity connections, the returns (from selling the farm produce) have dropped. A major part of the year, when we do not cultivate, we still have to pay these fixed charges.”

Ram said that the residents of the village have written several letters to the area MLA Kailash Gahlot of AAP to find a lasting solution to solve the village’s water woes and reduce the fixed electricity charges but they were yet to get reprieve.

Gahlot, however, said that the development works in the village were done by the Delhi government and not by the MP.

“How much money from his fund has the MP spent in this village? Forget about spending, show me one letter where he has even shown his intention to use funds for any development,” said Gahlot, who is also the transport minister in the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet.

“The people of this village feel cheated as the MP never showed any interest or commitment towards the development of his adopted village,” Gahlot said.

First Published:
Apr 09, 2019 12:57 IST

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