Light comes to orphan land
By S.K. Guha
MALDA: Parlarpur and Sobhapur are two remote villages which came up on a char carved out by the Ganga and Padma rivers flowing though Malda district.
Nearly 300 families inhabiting these two villages, situated literally in the middle of nowhere, had their first brush with electricity on June 21, when Rajya Sabha member Dipankar Mukherjee inaugurated a solar power supply centre at Palarpur.
The Palarpur solar power centre project was launched by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency, to provide electricity to 300 families. An amount of Rs 45 lakh was spent, of which Rs 27 lakh came from Mukherjees MPs Local Area Development Fund.
However, each family will have to pay Rs 1,500 to get an electricity connection. For scheduled caste and scheduled tribe families, the charges are Rs 1,000. With the power available, each house will be able to use fans, two tubelights and a bulb.
Mukherjee said that West Bengal has made rapid progress in providing electricity to remote areas by harnessing solar power. Malda district magistrate Ajit Ranjan Bardhan said that the next step will be to develop a road network in these areas.
Infrastructure development will l come as a boon to Parlarpur and Sobhapur, whose residents are not too sure of who their local authorities are. Though the area is under Maldas Baishnabnagar police station, their MLA and MP hail from Murshidabad.
To access Parlarpur, one has to walk 2 kilometres after crossing the Ganga by boat from Murshidabads Dhulianganj. Alternatively, one can reach the char from Maldas Baishnabnagar police station after crossing a huge lake. The mighty Padma river flows parallel towards Bangladesh. People of Parlarpur and Sobhapur are yet to get their ration cards.