Even after so many years of independence, people of Sakhri village in East Jaiñtia Hills district do not have a ration card. Elders stated that this was because the village was not included in the census data.
Sakhri is a small hamlet in Narpuh Elaka. There are 34 households and about 213 people who reside in the village, but not a single villager has a ration card.
“We feel left out because we don’t get the benefits from government schemes it feels as if we are not considered Indians,” members of the Dorbar Shnong Sakhri said, adding, “We don’t get rice, sugar, kerosene and other requirements that are our rights because Sakhri does not have a code number in the census of India.”
Highland Post spoke to members of the Dorbar and learnt that not just ration cards. Sakhri village is reeling under complete darkness and with no drinking water facilities. People survive on cultivation of betel nut and betel leaves.
Waheh Chnong of Sakhri, B. B. Lynshiang, “Every time we approach authorities we come back losing hope. No help comes from the Border Area Development office.”
Though MGNREGA is a ray of hope to secure livelihoods in villages, this universal scheme too has not made an entry in Sakhri. Secretary, Nildis Tongper said that the village does not have a full-fledged Village Employment Committee (VEC) but are grateful to the office of the C&RD in Khliehriat for considering their request to constitute the committee.
“However, this VEC is under the look out of Tongseng village. It was only in 2020 that we got our first job cards to construct a drain, work of which is still going on. We are also grateful to Tongseng village for sharing this with us for the benefit of our residents,” Tongper said.
On electricity, the village elders stated that they were made to run from pillar to post. “The office of the MeECL in Moowakhu, East Jaiñtia Hills had asked us to write to the office at Jowai which is in West Jaiñtia Hills. From there too, they sent us back to Moowakhu. Not just this, even the office misplaced our application and this has left us dejected,” the elders rue.
Furthermore, they said that even the EPIC cards of all the residents are being included in Lumtongseng village. “We want our very own village to feature in the EPIC cards,” they said.
Despite all the exclusion, the Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council recognised Sakhri village as Sanad (appointment order) was issued to the Waheh Chnong on September 23, 2013. The district council covers it under the Sutnga-Saipung constituency.