Broad Roads, WiFi connectivity, but No Jobs: The Story of Modi's Adopted Village
A gleaming community centre, large childcare centre, and a newly constructed toilet – the village of Nagepur stands out from other Indian villages. But these are not the only things that make it special; this is one of the four villages adopted by PM Modi under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). The other three are Jayapur, Kakarhia and Domari.
However, behind this sheen of being ‘adarsh’ (model) lies the grubby reality of broken handlooms, high unemployment rates and low wages.
Let’s introduce you to both sides of this coin.
The village of Nagepur is hardly 25 km from PM Modi’s constituency, Varanasi. As soon as you enter the village, it gives you a fair idea that this place definitely has an imprint of the Prime Minister.
The roads are broad and well-built; the rural children’s health care centres’ walls are decorated with colourful paintings and you can spot Modi’s lustrous smile in a framed photograph in the centre.
Further in, we see a big community centre, flaunting solar powered lights and even a BSNL Wi-fi zone.
But, the Wi-Fi connection has its own troubled story. Even after a number of attempts, our devices couldn’t connect to the internet. Then the Gram Rojgar Sevak Rekha, who was sitting inside the community centre office, gives us an idea of exactly what is going on. “You need to recharge your phone with Rs 10 to connect your phones with internet for a day. Who has the money to spend daily on a Wi-Fi? It shut down within a year”, he says.
According to the latest census, Nagepur has a population of 2800, including 1,304 women (46.6%). The village is known for crafting beautiful Banarasi Sarees but the men are now forced to pull rickshaws and work in construction sites, often away from their families and the village.
The village has neither a healthcare centre nor a secondary school, which forces people to travel long distances to access these basic facilities. The village hosted the Banaras University’s ‘Finance and Economics Think Council’ for a survey this year, which accepted the lack of these basic amenities.
There is a deafening silence in a village that is known for its weaving industry. This has been the case for the last several years. The weavers are jobless and are now pulling rickshaws because the bank refuses to provide loans for a power loom.
But the real question that needs to be answered is what good is Wi-fi connectivity, broad roads and community centres if the village lacks the basic amenities and skilled people are forced to look for menial jobs just to make a living? Watch this video for our special report.