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Water, not Art 370, is an issue with fauji families in Haryana

October 15, 2019 05:54 AM

Nationalism Not A Poll Plank In Chandeni Known For Its Decorated Soldiers

Chandeni (Charkhi Dadri):

The BJP government in Haryana is largely banking on changes in the Article 370 and nationalism to return to power in the state, which is a hub of the armed forces. However, the areas with high proportion of ‘fauji families’ instead want focus on developmental issues.

TOI visited Charkhi Dadri’s Chandeni, a village with illustrious history of sending more soldiers to armed forces than apparently any other in the state, and found it struggling for basics of life like water. The villagers are forced to buy water from private persons, who have laid own pipelines connecting the storage tanks to their borewells. This water is available on payment of Rs 350 per month but is not potable.

Meanwhile, the groundwater table has dropped to 600 feet and what is drawn can only be used for washing clothes and livestock. As it is semiarid area, borewells provided by the government to supply water are not sufficient to cater to the requirement of the village.

The government school has no faculty for science stream. Although the general mode of communication is mobile, many departments communicate via post. The village has no post office because of which sometimes important mails are delayed.

“Unfortunately, the government has permitted opening of a liquor vend at the entry of village rather than declaring it an adarsh (ideal) village for being the fertile ground for recruitment into armed forces,” says Pawan Sangwan who runs a private school on the outskirts of the village. He added that there cannot be any better achievement and contribution than to declare Chandeni an adarsh (model) village.

To put it in perspective, there are 600 houses in the village, the population is nearly 3,000 with around 2,300 voters and almost every single family has serving or retired soldiers. Around 600 soldiers from the village are serving in the armed forces, around 300 are pensioners and an equal number of widows of soldiers are getting family pension.

“Abrogation of Article 370 is a political decision but the soldiers of the country continue to serve in accordance with the orders received from seniors. Use of such issues in elections is not going to have much impact. Soldiers work on borders and would be happy if the basic facilities to their families are provided,” said Subedar Dharam Chand, 93, one of the oldest pensioners in the village.

Another veteran, Havildar Tribhuvan Singh said the government should focus on providing water to them. “The water has gone down to 600 feet. Villagers are forced to purchase water through private pipelines but that is also not consumable. A water tank constructed in our village around 15 years ago is yet to be connected to government supply lines,” he added.

Explaining the reasons behind such high number of people joining the armed forces, local resident Hari Kishan said that all the villagers have a total of 840-acre land only, which is insufficient for 600 families living here. “Initially, they had no option except to join armed forces but later it became a tradition,” he added.

The village comes under Badhra assembly constituency from where former chief minister Bansi Lal’s son Ranbir Mahendra, Dushyant Chautala’s mother Naina Chautala and BJP MLA Sukhwinder Sheoran are in a fierce triangular contest

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