It has been over 70 years since India attained independence from British colonial rule. However, a village here in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur still struggles to avail basic amenities of electricity, water and adequate sanitation needs.
Natives of Van Tangia village here claimed that despite relentless attempts, villagers continue to lack access to basic needs, and are thereby making no substantial progress.
Although India gained independence in 1947, natives allege that they are still subjected to the orders of the Forest Department, and have to seek their permission for any activity.
"It has been 70-odd years since Independence. However, we still lack basic facilities like sturdy homes, electricity, water and toilets. Many governments have come and gone, but nobody has been able to fulfill our needs. We want officials to come see how we are living here," a local told ANI.
While a primary school has been constructed, Ashish, a young local claimed that due to the fear of wild animals, children are hesitant to go to school, as the path crosses dense forest covers.
Locals also allege that any movement of vehicles needs to be sanctioned by the Forest Department.
"My son passed away recently during heavy rains. We do not have a cremation ground here, so we have to go to neighbouring towns. However, due to the rains, we were unable to travel for three days, and the body kept eroding. We neither have voting rights nor ration cards. There is no scope for employment either. We were promised good homes, but nothing has been done so far. We have no access to any government facilities," said Mangeram, another local.
Meanwhile, Saharanpur District Magistrate P.K Pandey stated that it would be difficult to construct houses in the region, as it is a reserve forest area.
"We have made arrangements for hand pumps and solar lights to be installed. As far as houses are concerned, it is a reserve forest area, and therefore, permission cannot be granted to construct houses there," he said.
However, Pandey stated that the government plans to develop the current primary school as a model school.