Lacking most basic facilities and with very little of the government’s attention, a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district have found an innovative way to protest against the ignorance. They have decided to rename Simmranpur as PoK or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, saying their situation is no better.
Villagers complain Simmranpur, which falls under Daulatpur gram panchayat of Ghatampur, lacks both educational and health facilities and also electricity, proper roads, school and dispensary. There is only one hand pump in the village that is now used by villagers to tie their cattle as it stopped to function eight years ago.
The decision to change the name was taken after much deliberation by the entire village, which has a population of 800 people.
In protest, the village shopkeepers have even put up placards from last Thursday, saying renaming the village was the only way left for them to ensure development.
“We will keep referring to the village as PoK till the time electricity, water and proper roads are not made available to us,” read the hand-written placards.
“We have been reading in newspapers about PoK and its people living in servitude and neglect. Our condition is no different,” Sonu Yadav, one of the lead campaigners, says.
“The people approached BJP MLA Abhijeet Singh Sanga but no action was taken. Earlier too, the villagers raised the issue with SP MLA Munidra Shukla but he took no action,” he added.
As per Hindustan Times reports, “The electricity poles in the village, which do not have wires, were erected by a contractor from his own resources when he was contesting the panchayat election in 2008. Electricity has not been made available in our village in the last 70 years. Even worse, we are going to have one of the biggest power plants near the village,” said Vinay Mishra, who spent 14 years in Mumbai but settled down in Simmranpur.
“Development ends at Daulatpur and surrounding villages. It never reaches us. The MPs, MLAs and village headmen generously release funds for these villages but not ours,” Brijesh Singh, a villager, says.
The villagers claim that they are being forced by the politicians to drop their “PoK campaign” but they are united this time to get electricity and water even if it means keeping the new name forever.