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What's It like to Live without Electricity in This Torrid Poll Season? Ask Remote Tripura Villagers

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Apr 25, 2024, 12:01 PM IST

Updated : Apr 25, 2024, 1:43 PM IST

Vidya Kumar Roaja Para, a sleepy hamlet that falls under East Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, stands tucked away from capital city, Agartala, dotted with beautiful building and towering multiplexes. For villagers, basic amenities remain a far cry, a fact which exposes the neglect of the powers-that-be. The stark reality dawns on hapless villagers as the erstwhile princely state goes to polls on Friday.

What's It like to Live without Electricity in Torrid Poll Season? Ask Remote Tripura Villagers
What's It like to Live without Electricity in Torrid Poll Season? Ask Remote Tripura Villagers

Chawmanu (Tripura): As Tripura gears up for second phase of Lok Sabha election on Friday after intense electioneering, poll fever has gripped the erstwhile princely state.

Vidya Kumar Roaja Para, a remote village that falls under East Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, however, is an exception. Far away from the din and bustle of polls, the sleepy village languishes without electricity in this peak summer. The absence of basic healthcare facility and motorable roads only added to the woes of tribal villagers, exposing the 'neglect' of the powers-that-be. Beneath the gloss of capital city, Agartala, dotted with beautiful buildings and towering malls, villagers live in a 'dark age'.

Bikramjoy Tripura, a 'jhumiya' (shifting farmer), who ekes out a humble living at the remote village in Dhalai district of Chawmanu, can hardly think about amenities enjoyed by dwellers of capital city.

He said that politicians come to his village during elections and though their promises remain unfulfilled, people cast their votes with the hope of getting votes. According to him, politicians come to his hamlet during elections promising development , but none of their promises have been fulfilled, yet he will vote in the Lok Sabha elections.

Basic amenities elude villagers

The biggest problem of the village, which is about 62 km away from Ambassa, the district headquarters of Dhalai, is its connectivity as the village has no motorable road from Chawmanu, the block headquarters, he told the PTI reporter covering this remote village visited.

There is no electricity, mobile connectivity or healthcare in our village, he said. “The Lok Sabha elections are coming and we will all vote on April 26, but it will remain a five-year ritual for us as it will not bring any solution to our problems,” the 41-year-old said.

“During monsoon, the village home to 763 jhumia families, all of whom are involved in shifting cultivation, remains cut off from the rest of the state. The road from Chawmanu to Vidya Kumar Roaja Para (Thalcherra) turned into a death trap due to the lack of Jhumia families living in eleven villages have to travel 10 to 20 km on foot to collect the ration for the past few years as there there is no road from Vidya Kumar Roaja para to their villages,” said Bikramjit, a local BJP leader.

“We have smartphones, but we cannot use them because there is no electricity in the village. To charge a mobile we have to travel 10-12 km, close to the Chawmanu block headquarters,” he said.

Chardene Tripura, an elderly woman, echoed the same problems from her native village Vidya Kumar Roaja Para (Thalcherra). “We have not seen our MLA Shambu Lal Chakma for months. He will visit us when the elections come. I hope he will visit our village soon to seek votes,” she said.

The village falls under the East Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, which will be voted on April 26. “We have a ration shop on our doorstep, but it opens once a week. The jhumias who come from the interior hamlets face problems if they do not get the rations on the scheduled day. There are several people living in remote homes after Vidya Kumar Roaja Para, who has to travel several kilometers on foot to fetch rice, salt, kerosene and sugar,” said Bishaynna Tripura, husband of Chardene Tripura.

Lekajoy Tripura, a local leader of Tipra Motha, said, “We have no electricity at home. The villagers collect water from Chawmanu Chhara (a hilly stream) and drink it. We have no one to solve our basic problems,” he said.

“The teachers at our village school come from Chawmanu or Embassy and leave the school after serving midday meal. The leaders visit villages only during election time. There is no one who has shown any will to tackle the problems of our village,” Lekajoy said.

Hindijoy Tripura, a shopkeeper, said, “We recharge our mobile phone by spending Rs 300 but hardly use mobile data for five to six days a month due to weak mobile connectivity. When there is an urgent need, we climb hills to get a receive mobile signal”.

There is no healthcare facility in the village and the only healthcare facility exists in Chawmanu, far away from Vidyakumar Roaja Para and the adjoining ten tribal houses.

Incumbent MP from Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency Rebati Tripura said he had raised the villagers’ connectivity issue with the Center several times.

“I have met Union Ministers Giriraj Singh and Nitin Gadkari and sought their intervention to improve connectivity from Ambassa to Chawmanu and Govindabari. It is a fact that the road is yet to be given a facelift,” he said.

The MP said he has been given 292 mobile towers approved by BSNL for the northeastern state. “I hope BSNL will install mobile towers to boost mobile connectivity in the interior parts of the state,” she said. (With agency inputs)

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