SOURCE: E-BOOK ON SUCCESS STORIES RELEASED BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON CIVIL SERVICES DAY 2017
The life of Maheswar Choudhary’s family was no different from that of the rest of the 55,000 odd BPL families in Taur village under Sadar Block in Munger District, Bihar. In one word; Hard. Until less than a year ago, the Choudhary couple would wake up before sunrise, take a long, arduous walk to the well in the dim morning light, haul four faded paint buckets of water from the already overdrawn well to their humble dwelling – a set of simple mud walls topped with a low roof of rickety tin sheets. The roof sheets were rusty and so perforated on one side that they left abstract, jagged designs on the mud floor where their two teenaged children slept, dreaming of a better tomorrow. The two children, aged 13 and 14 years, would begin their day by helping their father get ready for work on his small piece of arid land with a very poor yield.
Later, they would start out, armed with hunger pangs and school bags, on a one-hour-long trek to the Government school, where the mid-day meal stood in for both breakfast and lunch. Another uneventful day would pass.
In the fading twilight, the family would light a dhibri (open lantern) and sit around its dim circle of light – the children to study and the wife to cook in the open, keeping a diligent watch for insects attracted to the light. The husband, physically and mentally exhausted, would gaze into the darkness beyond, always alert for any wild animals that might stray inside their dwelling and waiting for blissful sleep when all worries would be temporarily forgotten.
This was the story of pretty much all the 55,000-odd families of Munger. But now, there is some light, literally, at the end of their tunnel of drudgery.
In 2015-16, the rural electrification Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), was launched in the district with the challenge of covering 55,148 BPL families, including the Choudhary family.
The target was fixed and 20th August 2016 was the cut-off date. It required enormous coordination between the Administration, Electricity Department and the Company engaged for the job. Survey work was initiated and was finished within time with regular door-to-door visits of local officials and continuous support from the District Magistrate.
To complete the Scheme within the given time-frame, the agency had to set up its own pole factory to ensure timely supply of the large number of electrical poles required. The target was completed five days ahead of the cut-off date and the district was declared fully electrified on 15th August 2016.
Today, the Choudharys sit in the same house with mud walls and sheeted roofing, but the difference is that it is lit up with electricity and happiness. The children use a study table with a LED bulb. Their mother still cooks in the open, but now with sufficient light. Most important of all, there is now a pump that ensures running water for the family.
These changes have also touched the lives of the rest of the villagers. The village seems to be electrified, literally and otherwise.