Now part of Gurgaon, ignored Mewat hopes for development

April 20th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Khalid Akhter and Ritu Sharma
Gurgaon, April 20 (IANS) Haryana’s Mewat district is just 30 km from its showcase city of Gurgaon. But the difference between the two worlds couldn’t be more stark.

People, reeling under abject poverty and lacking basic amenities, have a new hope as the region is now part of Gurgaon constituency after delimitation. As one moves from the IT hub of Gurgaon towards Mewat, insignias of modern day life like high rise buildings, tarred roads and even potable water cease to exist.

“We do not want big promises, but at least the government should solve the problem of water. We do not have enough water either for drinking and irrigation. The ground water is hard (salty) and for our crops we depend mainly on rains,” Jahan Khan, 52, former headman of Golpuri village, told IANS.

“Hopefully inclusion of Mewat in the Gurgaon constituency will help us in getting our due,” Khan added.

The district, formed in 2005 and headquartered in Nuh town, was earlier part of Faridabad constituency.

Paved roads are virtually non-existent, girls carrying earthen pots on their heads to fetch water, women washing clothes in dirty ponds and unclothed children playing in the dust with flies all around are a common sight.

Aas Mohammada, a 45-year-old school teacher, said: “Even after 60 years of independence we do not have facilities of drinking water. A large share of our income goes in buying drinking water. Successive governments have done nothing.”

The district, which was once represented by freedom fighter and first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in 1957, has only two government degree college for a population of about a million.

The human development indices of the region are abysmal. The literacy rate in the district is 32.5 percent, much below the national average of 64 percent.

“How many problems should I tell you? There is a drinking water problem. No efforts are made by the government to provide good education facilities for our children,” Razeena, a resident of Karaeka village and a mother of five, said tersely.

While Gurgaon has swish cars, the only mode of transport available here are archaic, decrepit Mahindra jeeps with the roofs crowded with ‘passengers’.

Malaria, tuberculosis and other epidemics have become part of every household. Al Alafiya hospital - built with aid from the Sultan of Oman - is the only full fledged hospital available. This apart there are seven community health centres in the entire district.

(Khalid Akhter & Ritu Sharma can be contacted at khalid.a@ians.in & ritu.s@ians.in)

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