Villagers in Punjab Relying More on NRIs for Development Than on PoliticiansApril 08, 2019 13:01
(Image source from: The Better India)
It’s election time in India and most of the village residents in and around the country rely on political party leaders to change their fates but the villages in Jagraon at Punjab are not waiting for big announcements on development from politicians but instead expecting NRIs to change the face of their villages.
The villagers were quoted saying: “The NRIs are more important than political leaders for us.”
Chamkaur Singh, a farmer from Chakkar village in Punjab which is known for work done by NRIs, says, “For us, the family of NRI Late Ajmer Singh Sidhu is more significant than politicians who come to seek votes and make tall promises at the time of polls. They have provided money for the best sewerage system, wider roads, NRI guest house, Panchayat Ghar, clean water supply and the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy.”
Since the village is known for its NRI-aided infrastructure, the politicians only make a perfunctory visit here, say villagers. Chakkar has over 100 NRI families.
At Kamalpura village, a group of villagers has collected Rs 35 lakh - a bulk of it from NRIs and their kin. “We have to collect money for the Rs 6-crore advanced sewerage system being constructed with the help of Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal… If we wait for government funds, we may have to wait for 70 years, but this way we expect to get the money in next few years,” said Kamalpura village head Sukhwinder Singh, “NRIs are like the government for us as they do so much for the village,” he added.
The NRIs say that they owe it to the villages they belong to. “We are not concerned about what the government or elected representatives do for our village. We love the village we were born in. The money is the least we can provide for its development,” said Amarjit Singh, an NRI from the village who runs a transport business in England. He and his brothers recently contributed Rs 11 lakh and can be credited with starting a private college for girls which has made a difference to female students in 15 villages of Jagraon, Dakha, Raikot and Barnala areas.
“With the active participation and contribution by NRIs, we have set up a Kaddon Nishkam Sewa Society for the development of village. We can spend as per our wish for the development of the village and the cost of work turns out to be lower than government projects,” village sarpanch Parminder Singh pointed out.
Gurdip Singh, who lives in Canada, said he wanted to make his village to have good infrastructure and to help the needy.
“With some help from NRIs, we have got marriages of many poor girls solemnized. Also with the contribution of the NRIs, we spend on the poor patients who are unable to afford costly treatment,” said Davinder Singh, sarpanch of Chankoian Khurd village.
By Sowmya Sangam