Till Sunday,Chibau Khera,a village just 20 km from Lucknow in Mohanlalganj block,would have been fit for an R K Laxman illustration. But on Monday evening,66 years after Independence,a button was pressed and a few dozen houses glowed with electricity for the first time.
For the villagers,belonging mostly to the OBC communities of Yadavs and Kumhars,it was a mix of luck and persistence. The villagers openly accept that had it not been for the Yadavs-led Samajwadi Party government,they wouldnt have got electricity.
Then it was the persistence of a handful of villagers that finally paid off,when they met MP Sushila Saroj last year in the state capital; she sent two junior engineers along to survey the village and financed the electrification with about Rs 10.55 lakh from her MPs local area development fund.
Being one among a dozen villages belonging to Mau Gram Panchayat,Chibau Khera has about 120 houses. Since November last year,when the erecting of poles was initiated,the comparatively well-off families got their houses wired. About 40 poles have been erected throughout the village,connected to a 100 kva transformer. Although most houses will be connected gradually,there are some who are still in two minds,too comfortable with their lifestyle.
From most families,the chorus among the elders is that they have spent their lives in darkness,going to sleep at 8 pm; and now they are happy to see the village youth being able to utilise such a facility.
(During a trial) when the bulb lit up on Sunday evening,it was an overwhelming moment and I couldnt stop my tears, said Vijay Kumar,who most villagers credit with bringing electricity to the village.
I wrote letters to the Chief Minister,Power Ministry and even the Prime Minister; I have remained in touch with local MLAs over the years and either I got technical problems or hollow assurances in response, he said. He was among those who pursued the matter of electrification with the MP.