BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday launched a scheme to develop villages of freedom fighters, called the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana, from the Jharkhand rural hamlet of Ulihatu which is tribal leader Birsa Munda’s birthplace. The village is in Maoist-hit Khunti district.
Shah, on the third day of his Jharkhand visit, met the descendants of Birsa Munda and gave away gas connections and solar lamps to some of the beneficiaries of the new scheme. The BJP chief and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das planted saplings there.
Shah lauded the state government for implementing the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “If we can’t give a developed village to the descendants of the great Birsa Munda and so many others, such as Nilamber, Pitamber and Sidho Kano, then we will not be able to return their debt. Not only Jharkhand, the entire country is indebted to them as they kept raising their voice against the British,” he said.
Ulihatu, a village in Arki Block, had remained virtually inaccessible for a long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism.
Villagers recalled that then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad had visited them in 1994 and promised development. But things did not move forward. In the intervening period, many leaders came calling. “They come to us once in a while. Things get spruced up. And then things remain the same. They are coming again now. We hope this time the assurance becomes a reality,” said Budh Ram Munda, the grandson of Birsa Munda who is a head constable in Jharkhand police.
An official from the Welfare Department said that the programme would provide 136 pucca houses to the dwellers of Ulihatu and a couple of other hamlets around it.