Agartala: Bir Bahadur Para, a 120-year-old remote settlement located in Karamcherra assembly constituency under Dhalai district of Tripura, stands as a glaring example of administrative apathy and ignorance.
The 60-odd villagers, totally cut off from mainstream life for the remoteness of their settlement, had been left on their own.
But a recent incident has once again ignited hopes for a better tomorrow among the villagers. The glimmer of hope came in the form of the TIPRA Motha MLA Paul Dangshu, who also happens to be the youngest legislator elected to the state assembly in the 2023 general elections.
For the first time in the history of the settlement, an MLA trekked up to their place to inquire about their well-being.
According to the villagers, it was the first generous attempt on the part of an MLA to see whether they were dead or alive at the top of the hills.
The MLA, who trekked for hours to reach the village with no roads, electricity, or other basic amenities, had inspected the living conditions of the villagers from ground zero and assured all sorts of support.
Locals said they had never thought that an MLA would take such a bumpy ride just to verify whether the reports he received about the villagers are true or false. On being contacted, the MLA said that he had encountered some of the shocking facts as he interacted with people of the Bir Bahadur village.
“The village is located around 135 kilometers away from Agartala city. Located at a hilltop, the village is almost at the last post of the area that comes under my jurisdiction. Within a few yards from the village, the hilly region of the Kanchanpur in North Tripura district starts. When I spoke to the villagers, I was told that basic amenities like clean drinking water, electricity, ration cards under the food security act, and roads for connectivity had never been available for them. Since the inception of this settlement, the villagers are self-reliant for their food through shifting cultivation (colloquially known as Jhum),” Dangshu told EastMojo over the phone.
Narrating the ordeal of the villagers, Dangshu said, “As the sun sets in the West, a blanket of darkness plunged the whole area only to be illuminated in the next morning with the sunshine. Absence of electricity has adversely impacted the education of the children. For transportation, the villagers have to trek back and forth through the challenging hilly terrain. The most surprising thing was that they don’t have ration cards for getting subsidized food items through fair price shops.”
In order to address their problems, the MLA had constituted a committee of volunteers from the area who could communicate with the MLA when required.
“I will write to the District Magistrate of Dhalai for immediately taking up the construction work for a pucca road to the village. I have already started talks with the SDM for getting their names enrolled in the ration card register. The state government has given them allotment in the area. People who are financially well off have already moved for greener pastures but those who are stuck there have no other option,” he said.
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On the complications related to the ration card, he said, “Since they don’t have land documents, the administration was dilly-dallying with their application for issuing ration cards. I will forward letters to the SDM to register them with the ration card register with the Aadhaar database so that all the complications are settled. I will also discuss the issues with the ministers concerned so that the village gets all the facilities.”
He said he had also formed a special team of party workers who would be constantly in touch with the villagers and help them in getting all kinds of government benefits.
“The development work in Tripura has two different forms, one is in pen and paper while the other lies in the remote areas. The development should be equitable for all rather than being concentrated on the plains,” he pointed out.
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