A village in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district is yet to be electrified even after the country attained independence 70 years ago.
There is no sign of hope for the villagers of Karela even after electricity poles were installed there 10 years ago. As soon as the sun sets, darkness engulfs the village.
A local named Athar Singh told ANI, "The electricity poles were installed years back. I have gone to the councillor's office several times for providing electricity connection, but he paid no heed and said that he would look into the matter. On top of that, the authorities are forcing us to pay a bill ranging from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000, when we don't have any electricity at all. This is unfair and wrong."
Akash, a class 5 student, residing in the same village, said that he struggles to study properly in the evening.
Explaining his problem, Akash said, "I find great difficulty in studying in the evening. We have a light, where the battery is charged by kerosene. The light works for three days, and again we charge the battery with the help of kerosene."
Dilshadi, a housewife from the village, added that it becomes difficult for her family to run errands.
"There is no electricity here for so many years. The authorities have installed electric poles, but they did not lay down the power lines. In the evening, children find it hard to study. We cook food with the help of a candle. The authorities have asked us to pay an electricity bill. This is absolutely strange since we don't have any electricity," she told ANI.
A former councillor from Bahujan Samaj Party (SP">BSP), Girish Chandra, blamed the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) governments in Uttar Pradesh for not providing electricity to Karela village, adding that they made "empty promises" to the people, during the previous assembly elections.
"During SP">BSP's rule, we had electrified 15 villages. But after we were voted out of power, the SP and BJP governments were supposed to provide connection. Even Gulab Devi, who is a minister in the Yogi Adityanath's cabinet is a resident of the village. Despite this, the councillor has done nothing. The SP and BJP has played vote bank politics and said they would provide electricity to the village. But nothing has happened. I urge the BJP to provide electricity to the village soon and not leave the people in darkness," Chandra told ANI.
Vinod Kumar, an Executive Engineer of the area, said, "The project of electrification in Baniakhera block was given to a company under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana but it could not finish the process. The work will be completed under Saubhagya Yojana, the survey for which will begin in May."