Development deficit plaguing Phungyar villages
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL, 1st Oct: The word 'development' remains only an 'ignis fatuus' for the poor inhabitants of many villages in Phungyar sub-division and the reason is as close as one could possibly assume.
The villagers disclosed that backwardness in all aspects has made life miserable for them, claiming they have not seen any meaningful development worthy of the name.
In a first of its kind in the district, Ukhrul-based Ramungo Library Group Ukhrul (RLGU) on Monday organised a community-level press conference for neighbouring six villages of the sub-division, namely Koso, Leishi, Leiting, Phalang, H Goda and Sakok villages at Hule Park in Sakok village.
Addressing the conference, the villagers said that in spite of the state government making tall claims of development, the hapless inhabitants of the area are reeling under acute deprivation of basic requirements of proper roadway, health care, water supply, school education and others for the last many years.
H Godah village chief Rs Reisangmi said that his villagers are facing acute scarcity of water for years as there is no water source within the village. Some years back, a water supply scheme worth Rs 35 lakh was awarded to the village under IWMP.
"Out of the sanctioned amount, a water reservoir was constructed at the cost of Rs 15 lakh. However, after completion of the tank, the agency has not taken up pipeline installation till date. We appeal to the authorities to look into the matter and take up necessary actions immediately," he said.
He also said that name of his village was included in the list of beneficiaries under Minor Irrigation (MI) scheme for some consecutive years but it has remained untraced due to corrupt practices.
"We are facing an unprecedented consequence of drought situation this year, which has affected our agricultural activities," Sakok chief Pearson Jajo stated, while urging the government to take up steps to mitigate their situations.
According to Phalang village chief Moses Jajo, the Shangshak-Phungyar road is a lifeline for the people of the entire sub-division but it has remained neglected by the state government for years, despite repeated requests.
The road stretching about 40 km was constructed more than 20 years back, he said adding that since then the government has not taken up any repair works of the road consequently leading to suspension of passenger bus services for almost a year now. Martin Jajo, a resident of Phalang village, said that stoppage of bus services due to deplorable road conditions, is affecting villagers economically with Winger and Bolero passenger services charging as high as Rs 250 per trip.
"In Phalang village, there are only 15 beneficiaries so far under Ujjwala scheme," he continued, while adding that even the local children are availing only a handful of food grains once in a while.
He further disclosed that none of the locals of Phalang have benefited from the housing scheme PMAY since the time of erstwhile IAY.
Godah village secretary contended that the lone existing primary school in the village is facing staff shortage with only four teachers stationed currently. Functioning of ASHA has remained invisible for the villagers. Although there are two Anganwadi centres in H Goda village, there are no physical structures of the centres, he disclosed.
According to the aggrieved villagers, lack of any functional health care centres like PHC and CHC in the area is another major concern for the local inhabitants. The villagers are incurring huge expenses in seeking medical treatments every time they get sick, they said and urged the government to ensure proper functioning of the health care centres in the interest of the villagers.
"In this region, none of the government schools like Primary Schools and Junior High Schools are able to function properly as most of the headmasters and teachers are not stationed. This has compelled many households to migrate their children outside and is a huge burden on every household economically," the villagers lamented.
Since the villagers are also economically dependent on livestock, they requested the government to provide a veterinary office in the area. The existing post office at Leiting village is insufficient to cater to the needs of the entire area, they said and urged the authorities for augmenting the postal service.
Meanwhile, the villagers expressed discontentment over the continued lack of government attention to the plights of the locals. Referring to the recent incidents of drought, livestock epidemic in the region, they said that the government failed to initiate any actions despite the same were reported in newspapers. Is Phungyar subdivision an abandoned region for the government? the headmen and village elders questioned.