Ahmedabad: The choice of some villages adopted by MPs in Gujarat under the Prime Minister's 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna' has invited criticism from Congress which claimed that they were already developed, a charge refuted by the MPs.
There are three such cases which have come to the light where villages have good infrastructure, but MPs have still gone ahead to adopt them, informed sources said.
Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat Mansukh Mandaviya adopted Ugamedi village in Gadhda taluka in Bhavnagar district under the 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna'.
According to the Sarpanch of Ugamedi, the village has been developed as a tourism spot due to river-linking project and the villagers churn a good source of income from diamond industries and agriculture activities.
"The village has a population of around ten thousand. The villagers have linked two rivers Sonal and Keri with the cost of around 90 lakhs and also made a dam with the help of a donor of this village," Sarpanch of Ugamedi Vinubhai Anghad said.
"The village has also seen a good progress in diamond industry, as it is having around 100 diamond-cutting units, where people from the surrounding villages come to get employment," Anghad added.
On the question of infrastructure in the village, he said, "Our village has been developed by the villagers, but now it should also get some government aid. We had requested our MP Mansukh Mandaviya to adopt this village to make it a model village in the entire country and he did it."
Lok Sabha MP from Kheda seat Devusinh Chauhan has also chosen a less-laborious task by selecting another 'developed' village Vahelal in Matar Taluka in Ahmedabad district.
As per an office-bearer of village panchayat, Vahelal is also known as the village of 'NRIs' as most of the families have settled either in USA or UK.
"The villagers in Vahelal, which has the population of around four thousand, has roads and other basic facilities, but it also needs to be improved. The village has many hospitals and schools too," an office-bearer Sanjay Patel said. (Vinod Chavda, MP from Kutch Lok Sabha seat, has adopted Suvai village in Rapar taluka in Kutch district, where people get 24x7 electricity.
According to Sarpanch of Suvai Motilal Bhachau, people in the village get a good income from cash crops like cumin, Isabgul and mustard seeds.
"We have roads, electricity and other basic facilities like health centres and schools but we cannot yet get water of river Narmada. Although, pipelines are there, water supply has not started. Apart from this, we have infrastructure but people are not there to manage it," Bhachau said.
When asked about 'Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna', he said he is aware about this initiative and wished their MP can develop this village as model village.
Congress took an opportunity to criticise the Gujarat MPs saying they are following the path of their 'high-command' to mislead the people.
"The MPs from Gujarat are doing the same things, what ever their high-command did in past 12 years. They are known for hiding the facts and exaggerating the lies. If they are so committed to develop the villages, they should adopt any under-developed village from the hundreds of villages that fall in their Lok Sabha constituency," Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
Minister of State (MoS), Home in Gujarat Rajni Patel made an appeal to the MPs to adopt villages, which are actually in need.
"Our government will wish that our MPs should adopt such villages, which are really in need, where sources are not enough and proper. If the situation arises, Chief Minster will look into this and will recommend the MPs to change their villages," Patel said.
MP from Kheda Lok Sabha seat Devusinh Chauhan has, however, denied to have adopted a developed village.
"The definition of development cannot be set on the basis of the infrastructure, which is available there in that village. There are many other parameters to develop a village. We have acted on the guidance of the Rural Development Ministry," Chauhan said.
Rajyasabha MP from Gujarat, Mansukh Mandaviya echoed the same opinion saying only infrastructure cannot be defined as development.
"Our objective is to include each and every person in the development of their village, where government can work with people's participation. In Ugamedi, one industrialist did a Herculean task of river-linking on his own cost, we want to show this to other villages so that other can follow this type of model," Mandaviya said.