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Toilets without doors, incomplete houses — govt schemes in Jharkhand a job half done

Tribal belts have been special focus of CM Raghubar Das. But govt schemes especially announced to benefit tribal people have been patchily implemented.

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Jamtara/Jama/Dumka: Toilets without doors, hurriedly-built and incomplete houses, health cards promised but never delivered — these are some of the stark examples of the status of central and state government schemes in the villages of Jharkhand where a five-phase assembly elections are under way.

The instances at Bando, in the state’s Jama assembly constituency, are explicit. Bina Devi, a 35-year-old resident of Bando, pointed at the tiny toilet in the back of her thatched house. Built by the district administration only a few months ago, it doesn’t have a door and is already in a decrepit state.

“See it for yourself and tell me if anyone can use it. We asked the people, who came to construct this, as to why they are building such toilets that no one can use. They told us they have to, since they got money from the state to build toilets,” Devi said.

Bina Devi_Jharkhand
Bina Devi, a resident of Bando village in Jama assembly constituency, stands in front of the decrepit toilet that was built by the district administration a few months ago | Photo by Moushumi Das Gupta

It’s the same story in house after house at this small hamlet in Dumka district.

“This defeats the very purpose of building toilets. We don’t use it and like before are going out in the open to relieve ourselves,” said Tarun Kumar Mandal, a labourer who lives with his three-member family in Bando.

All these toilets have been built under the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) scheme.

Tarun Mandal_Jharkhand
Tarun Kumar Mandal, a labourer, stands in front of the toilet without a door that was built in front of his house at Bando village in Jama assembly constituency | Photo by Moushumi Das Gupta

Not far from Bando is Maheshpur village, in the state’s Nala assembly constituency, which has similar tales of government apathy.

Sitting in front of a tea stall, Janeshwar Hembron, a farmer, said, “The government’s role ends after giving the money. No one comes to check if work has been completed or how it has been finished. All government schemes are patchily implemented here. Some families received cooking gas cylinders. Others did not. Some got houses and others didn’t.”

Jharkhand village
Janeshwar Hembrom, a resident of Maheshpur village in Jamtara district | Photo by Moushumi Das Gupta

Jama and Maheshpur, along with 14 other constituencies, will go to the polls on 20 December during the last of the five-phase elections. Of these 16 assembly seats, seven are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Also read: In Jharkhand polls, parties woo tribal voters with slogans, statues but don’t understand them

For every central scheme, state govt has its own

Tribal belts have been the special focus of Chief Minister Raghubar Das-led BJP government when it comes to dissemination of government schemes in Jharkhand. Of the 81 assembly seats in the state, 28 are reserved for STs. Overall, they constitute 26.1 per cent of the total population.

Dumka MLA Louis Marandi, who defeated Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Hemant Soren in the 2014 assembly elections, told ThePrint that a host of projects have taken off in the state, including a medical college, in the last five years.

“Villages, which never saw power have now got electricity. People have houses and health facilities. However, there is a limit to what any government can do in just five years. We still have a lot of ground to cover,” Marandi said.

Bando village_Jharkhand
A kutcha road in Bando village | Photo by Moushumi Das Gupta

In these five years of Raghubar Das term, the state government has also matched every central scheme with one of its own. If the Narendra Modi dispensation gave cylinders to the poor under its Ujjwala scheme, the state government matched it with a second gas cylinder programme.

Likewise, if the central government provided funds to farmers under its Kisan Samman Nidhi, the state gave an additional Rs 25,000 to targeted beneficiaries.

The Jharkhand government introduced the Birsa Munda Awas Yojana and Bhimrao Ambedkar Awas Yojana — housing schemes for the tribal community — to match the central government’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

The state government calls it the “double engine growth”. In an interview to ThePrint earlier, the CM had said his government laid special emphasis on development in tribal areas. “From Day One, we have worked to ensure overall development in the state including in the tribal belts,” Das said.

Also read: Tribals vs non-tribals — how the Jharkhand elections are likely to be decided

‘Houses too small to live’

The scenario on the ground, however, speaks otherwise. Schemes that were specially announced to benefit the tribal communities have been patchily implemented.

In Khunti district’s Ulihatu village, which is the birthplace of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda, the state government had decided to build 136 pucca houses under the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana to honour tribal martyrs. The scheme was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah in September 2017.

“But over two years down the line, not even half of these houses have been completed,” said Samuel Purti, a resident of Ulihatu.

Purti also said the houses they were building were too small to live in. “After we complained, the district administration simply stopped working. Even the toilets that were built in the village are half done.”

Ulihatu village in Khunti voted in the second phase of the Jharkhand assembly elections, on 7 December.

Also read: BJP only talks about Hindutva, say voters across Jharkhand towns amid job loss & slowdown


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  1. Media has failed this country. ….

    Why media did not take stock of the situation one year or 6 months before elections. …

    Why in the middle of the elections….

    Govt should have taken notice had media would have raised the issue before….

  2. We are used to expecting the government to do everything including probably washing the backsides. Instead of encouraging the users to fix and maintain their toilets we talk about the broken or missing doors. Why can’t the intelligent people take a little constructive view?

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