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Great Sham: Electrified On paper, But No Power Supply, Pinewood The Only Source Of Light, Ukhrul Village Literally Lives In The Dark Age

Officially electrified, but children of Zingshui have to study under the light of burning pine wood. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

ZINGSHUI (Indo-Myanmar Border), Mar 13: The Government of India’s bold initiative to electrify every nook and cranny of the country by 2012 has turned out to be an unsavory joke in many remote areas of the State. A certain village which was electrified 10 years back, according to official records, is still dependent on pinewood to illuminate the night.

Even though there are official records in Power Department that Zingshui village located along Indo-Myanmar border under Ukhrul block was electrified 10 years back, not a single pole for supporting power cables could be seen in the village.

A recent visit to Zingshui village located about 80 Kms from Ukhrul district Hqs and 130 Kms from Imphal by this reporter found the villagers burning pinewood to light up the room or their houses, though it has been electrified according to official records.

Village authority member PS Ningmi said that they came to realize that Zingshui village has been electrified in official records when they sought a certificate from the Power Department.

Earlier, the villagers approached MANIREDA appealing that solar lighting system be installed in the village but MANIREDA demanded a certificate from Power Department certifying that the village has not been electrified.

According to official records, Zingshui village having a total population of around 1000 people was electrified in 1999-2000.

Pointing out the misleading records, top officials of the Power Department have been informed about the reality, PS Ningmi said.

A certificate signed by Ukhrul Executive Engineer (Power Department) declaring that Zingshui village has not been electrified has been submitted to the Chief Engineer of the Department.

Saying that they have been depending on pinewood to illuminate their homes during night all their life, the villagers said that they have been felling pine trees twice every week for making torches for use at night.

This has severely depleted pinewood reserves in the area, they said.

Again, Zingshui village has very poor connectivity.  To go to Ukhrul Hqs, the villagers have been using the route connecting Gamnom (near Sangshak) to Chamu.

This road was constructed by British Army in 1944 to check Japanese advance from Myanmar towards Chamu during World War II.

Travelling along this road to reach Ukhrul Hqs means one has to spend Rs 400 on jeep fares alone.

As such, the villagers have no capacity to go Ukhrul Hqs and buy kerosene, PS Ningmi said.

On the other hand, one top official of Power Department informed that the Central Government has a program to provide power connections to all villages which have been left out of the electrification process.

Necessary steps would be taken up to electrify Zingshui if the village was left out of the electrification program, the official said.

Meanwhile, Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency (MANIREDA) has conducted survey for implementation of a hydro project of 5 KW at Pushing village of Ukhrul district.

It is reported that necessary machinery would be installed very soon to start power supply to the village.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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