Aiming at bringing positive changes with fresh thinking, several villages of Punjab went for young and educated sarpanches this time. There are a large number of villages where sarpanches in the age group of 30 to 40 years got elected, while in several, people preferred much younger heads who are in their 20s.
Jatinder Singh Laddi (23), probably the youngest of the lot, is a graduate. The newly-elected sarpanch of Nathuwal village in Kapurthal district said that he was elected without poll after a meeting of villagers. “I want to open a gym for youth to keep them away from all bad things, including drugs,” said he, adding that there are, however, very few youngsters in the village who are into addiction. “We have a sewer system, but not capable enough and I want to upgrade it now,” said he, adding that apart from this there are a few more development works required in the village, including street lights.
Jovanpreet Singh (28) of Hazipur village, a diploma holder in engineering and a farmer by profession, said that his priority is to improve the infrastructure of the government primary school and support the poor students by providing books and other study material. “Half of our village does not have a sewer system, which I would like to provide during my tenure, besides proper drinking water facility,” said Jovanpreet who couldn’t complete his BTech last year due to an accident.
Inderjit Kaur (29), a 10+2 pass, of Chanthu Brahmana village, said that there is hardly any sewer and water facility. “Roads are in dilapidated state and there is no street light,” said she, adding that she will work in this direction and also help poor students in their education. The village in Hoshiarpur district has 600 voters.
In Bolina village 28-year-old Kulwinder Bagha, elected as Sarpanch, is an MTech in construction engineering by qualification. He said that young brigade of his village encouraged him to contest this election. “I contested against very senior candidates who had remained block samities and village panchyat members several times in the past,” he said. Kulwinder dreams to keep the youth away from drugs and help those who have already fallen pray to the addiction. He wants to focus on the education of the poor by arranging extra classes for them and upgrading the village school. “Education can bring prosperity in any field. So I want to focus on it,” said he. The village has 1,400 houses and out of a total of 1,136 polled votes, he got 366.
In Seechewal village, 27-year-old Tajinder Singh, who got enrolled for his Phd and a gatka (Sikh martial art) player at national level, has become the Sarpanch. “My dream is to create strong awareness against the drug menace and stop stubble burning. The village, with a population of 2,000, has already got sewer, water, school and college facility,” said Tajinder, also an MA and MPhil in music (vocal) from Punjabi University, Patiala.
Rachpal Singh (25) of Pandori Khadd village in Hoshiarpur, a 10+2 pass, said that it was his dream to do something for his village.
“My focus will be on overall development of the village,” said Rachpal who belongs to a Non-resident Indian family. Apart from this Nirvair Singh (25) of Khurda village in Kapurthala is also among the young sarpanches.