Burj Tharor (Bathinda)
Once washed away in the devastating floods occurred in 1955, this small village in Bathinda district, after getting rebuilt, is now standing as an icon of the rural planning as well as sustainability. Not only neat and clean, this village is now well planned, having seven lanes all nearly 30 feet wide crossing each other in a grid pattern. Interestingly, once left with nothing except debris, this village can now boast of having all basic amenities, like government school up to the middle standard, a gurudwara, waterworks, reverse osmosis (RO) water plant, a dispensary, sewerage pond, an inn for the poor and also an anganwari center. Besides, five Kiryana shops and a mobile repair shop also exist in the village. What attracts the most in the village is the layout design (architecture) as per which all lanes open at a ring road encircling the village. Recalling the days of 1950s, some elderly people sitting in a street in the village informed Daily Post that the village was earlier located at some meters away, the site still preserves the remains to take one into history. People informed that in 1955 floods took place that swept away all structures and made the residents render homeless. Showing a matchless unity in the hour of grief, the villagers then decided that out of 900 acres total land that belonged to them they would leave a chunk of 40 acres for the common purposes, which included the 25 acres of residential area. Meanwhile, responding to his social, moral and administrative duties, the then PEPSU Chief Minister Brish Bhan visited the village and laid the foundation stone on April 27, 1956 to reconstruct the it as a model village. Going back to those days, a 73-year-old blue-turbaned man Lahhman Singh informed that Indira Gandhi had also visited their village along with Brish Bhan and had a round of all streets. “This happened when she was quite young much before she became the Prime Minister of India,” he added.When asked about the development of the village, Lachhman Singh flanked by Gurcharan Singh and Chet Singh, informed that using that common pool of 25 acres of land, the reconstruction job was initiated by the government but the houses were built up by the people themselves, following the design finalized by the authorities. “The government was, however, kind enough to us as observing us wading through tough days it provided us with easy loans to construct the houses,” he added. The village was categorized in three sections—A, B and C, as per the sizes of the houses (27 marla, 16 marla and 10 marla, respectively) and also keeping the standard of the residents prior to the floods in consideration. “The loans too were provided as per the categories. For the construction of the biggest size of houses it was Rs 2,000, for 16 marla houses it was Rs 1,500 and for the smallest size houses it was Rs 1,000. The repayment of loan installments varied from Rs 170 to Rs 100 per month, fixed by the government, informed the villagers. The villagers further informed that the village at present had a total of 250 houses and around 1150 votes that included the 40 percent of the total population of Dalits.
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