The ‘flies of Barwala’ have become an important political issue in the Assembly elections, with leaders of various political parties promising to address the problem.
At the root is a large number of poultry farms in the area. “Whether you are at home, at your shop, or in your farm, these flies have taken the peace of your mind. It is no more a small issue,” said a resident of Rattewali village.
There are around 50 villages in Barwala, contributing to a significant voter share of Panchkula constituency. The residents have been raising the issue with the leaders for the past few years now, but to no avail. However, with the Vidhan Sabha elections round the corner, the issue has gained prominence.
Former three-time MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Siddhu, who campaigned for BJP candidate Gian Chand Gupta in Barwala, mocked the Congress for failing to solve the problem. In his trademark comic tone, Siddhu mocked Hooda and said, “Hooda sarkar to yahan ki makhiyan tak nahi maar payi, development kya karegi?”
The issue left Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh amused during his recent rally in Barwala. After speaking about the national issue of border security, Singh asked the gathering, “Aap sab theek hain? Koi samasya to nahi?” And, the voices erupted from the gathering, “Makkhiyan!”
Singh looked at Gupta, and asked him to address the issue as soon as he got elected, but then added a humorous twist, “Par dhyan rahe, aap ko kewal makkhiyan maarne ke lye nahi keh raha hun!”
Apart from the unhygienic conditions, the flies have affected the social life of the residents. “People have stopped visiting our villages, and are even hesitant to set up shops here,” said a resident from Kot village.
The issue also caught the eye of Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, when one of the local leaders remarked, “Makkhiyon ki wajah se humare ladkon ke liye koi rishta nahi aata (Such is the situation that we do not get proposals for our boys),” and requested Chautala to help.
The problem persists in spite of insecticide sprays. In any case, residents say that insecticide sprays affect health and poultry farm owners say it reduces egg production.
With the election process slated to get completed in a week, hopes of the residents now rest on the leaders who have made promsies to rid the area of flies.