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West Bengal govt 'refusing to heed' power supply demand of border area villagers

Counterview Desk 

A senior civil rights leader has said that even after 75 years of Independence, the Noudapara area of Mamabhagina village of the North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, has no electricity connection.
Stating that the BSF has "prohibited power transmission at Noudapara", in a representation to the home department of the West Bengal government, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), the action is "preventing education for children, treatment of sick persons, and other household activities where power connections are a necessity."
He regretted, on November 1, 2022, 62 people from the Noudapara area submitted a mass petition with their demand at the SDO at Bongaon in the North 24 Paraganas district, yet nobody seemed to care.

Text:

This letter requires your immediate attention to sufferings of Noudapara area of Mamabhagina village under Police Station & Block Bagdah of North 24 Parganas District in West Bengal accessible through Gate No 2/A managed by 68 Battalion “B” Company Border Security Force personnel posted at Mamabhagina Border Outpost.
Noudapara area is the extended part of Mamabhagina village and mouza, which is on the other side of the border fence known as “India Para” having proximity to Daulatpur in Bangladesh. Even after 75 years of independence, the area of is still lacking the electricity connection, the basic living and livelihood are in distress. The BSF 68 Battalion at Mamabhagina BOP prohibited power transmission at Noudapara prevented education for children, treatment of sick persons, and other household activities where power connections are a necessity. In the area, nearly 18-20 families live with an estimated population of 65-70 who are living in penury.
On 1st November 2022, 62 people from the Noudapara area of Mamabhagina village submitted a mass petition with their demand at the SDO at Bongaon in the North 24 Paraganas District. Villagers are stranded on the electricity issue -- the inactiveness of the BDO not responding to their demand and prohibition by BSF with their illegitimate order. Apart from the people deprived of government benefits and services, for a visit to a doctor and household needs they have to cross the border and have to travel to the closest area of Bangladesh. The nearest ICDS is at Bangladesh, where children from Noudapara goes for schooling as one Bangladeshi. In case of medical emergency and for further education, one has to travel one and half kilometer to India. The irony of the situation, that they are being Indian but for most of the services they have to visit Bangladesh. Hence, this Indian village is totally unprotected, BSF is not stationed at the international border. This villagers were not provided with facilities of safe drinking water, village road, etc. The arbitrary orders of BSF personnel of Mamabhagina Border Outpost, is not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating Article 21 and Article 19 (1) (g) and 39(a) of the Constitution of India and Article 2, Article 12, and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The plight of the villagers and denial of their proper livelihood practices is against Articles 6 (Right to Work), 7 (Right to enjoyment just and favorable condition of work), 9 (Right to Social Security), and 11 (Right to Adequate Standard of living) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Articles 13 and 17 of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and Goal No. 8 and 16 of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the UN. In all these international instruments, the Government of India is a party and has taken a pledge to adhere.
On 13th December 2022, upon spot enquiry to Mr. B Mallick, DE & SM, Bagda Customer Service Center of WBSEDCL, from whom the villagers came to know that if SDO, Bongaon pass an order of power connection immediately WBSEDCL is ready to act on it
You are being the head of authority of the district, so requesting your urgent intervention in this case by fulfilling the following demands of the people from Noudapara:
  • The Indian villagers have the right to have an electricity connection like any other Indian in any place in the country.
  • The district administration should take immediate steps for water connection, road construction and rural health for villagers of Noudapara.
  • The BSF posted at Mamabhagina BOP should immediately allow the villagers to have access to it while installing a power connection.
  • The Government of India and the Government of West Bengal should abide by the Chapter III of the Indian Constitution where the fundamental rights of Indian citizenry are enshrined.
  • A disciplinary action should be taken against the BSF Company Commander of Mamabhagina BOP of 68 BN BSF and all others for imposing illegal restrictions upon the villagers and harassing them.
  • BSF should not restrict the life and livelihood of the villagers.
I hope this letter clarifies the issue forced upon the villagers and which entails urgent resolution.

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