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Baghpat: Area of darkness where poll time buzz shines no light

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 7, 2019  | 15:53 IST

By Aditi Gupta Baghpat, Apr 7 (PTI) With just four days to go for polling, the election buzz is getting louder but it's not enough to drown out the voices of discontent that echo through the streets of this western Uttar Pradesh town. The lack of health facilities, sanitation and electricity tell the sorry tale of development in the town of 50,000, which goes to the polls on April 11. The contest here is between Bharatiya Janata Party's Satya Pal Singh, who is hoping for another term in the Lok Sabha, and Jayant Chaudhary, RLD leader Ajit Singh's son being fielded as a candidate of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance. Both the candidates will have to address the pressing local concerns of the people and the cynicism about politics and politicians, said several locals in the town. The district hospital, the only government hospital in the area where patients and their relatives find either doctors are missing or medicines, sums up the state of affairs. "If a person needs emergency treatment here, she or he is most likely to die rather than get treated," said a distraught Aamir, who had to rush out of the town to get his 10-year-old daughter treated for jaundice. "We come under the national capital region but lack basic amenities. Politicians make big promises which they are unable to fulfil," he said, adding there has been zero development under the current MP. The lack of doctors and medical facilities are a constant worry. Rajjo's pregnant daughter is critical and has been admitted in the district hospital for the last three days but is yet to be examined by a doctor. "They say there is no gynaecologist to check her. They are now asking us to go to Delhi. How will I take her in this condition?" the 65-year-old said, bursting into tears. Also in the hospital is Sonu, who has been diagnosed with gallstones. "I have been sitting here for five hours. No one has paid me attention. Each time I ask the staff to send me to a doctor, they ask me to wait. I am sure there is no doctor. It is tough to keep travelling to Meerut or Delhi for treatment," said the tea-stall owner. According to general physician Dr Azad, Baghpat is the most neglected town, especially when it comes to healthcare. "We don't have basic health facilities. If there is an emergency, the patient will surely die as there is zero care in such circumstances. We have one government facility and two-three private hospitals. Mostly, patients are turned down due to lack of medicines and injections. There are many vacancies in these hospitals," said the doctor, who runs a clinic here. The government's National Health Protection Scheme, aiming to provide health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation under Ayushman Bharat, offers hope but people say they still await their health cards. "We filled up the form under the government health scheme five months ago, but have no word on the status of our health card," said Hajra, a resident of Qyampur village that falls in the constituency. Daily wage worker Kamla, who works in the sugarcane fields outside Qyampur, said she applied for benefits under the scheme three months ago but is yet to get a response from the authorities. "A government representative came to our house and told us about this scheme. We filled the form as we liked the scheme. But now there has been no communication at all. We don't know who to ask," she said. Besides lack of healthcare facilities, the locals also complain about sanitation issues and lack of toilets. "There is so much filth and dirt everywhere that it is tough to breathe. There are no toilets. The current government has not done anything for us," said Ram Singh, a sweet shop owner. Consumed as they are by their everyday problems, many residents say they will look at the macro picture while casting their votes. "I am a Modi fan and I voted for BJP in the last election, but no work has been done here. The BJP candidate who won in the name of Modi from here is hardly seen," said Vishal Singh, a grocery shop owner. He said he would still vote for the BJP in the elections as it carried out air strikes in Pakistan. "They are doing bigger things for the country. My vote will be for Modi," he added. Balbir Singh, a businessman, also backed Modi. "Development may not be much in Baghpat but he is doing well for the overall growth of the country." Shamim, a transport company employee, said he supported the BSP-SP-RLD 'gathbandhan' or alliance. "We don't want BJP but anyone fielded by Akhilesh's coalition. There is no development and we are living in poor conditions in terms of healthcare, electricity, infrastructure." Baghpat is one of the eight western UP constituencies which go to vote on April 11. In 2014, all eight seats went to the BJP. There was a bypoll held in Kairana subsequently that went to the RLD. PTI AG MIN SOM SOM

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