Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation has decided to utilise the loudspeakers installed in various religious places like mosques and temples in 14 districts in Uttar Pradesh to raise awareness regarding state government’s new scheme which allows farmers to pay their tube well bill in easy instalments.
In an effort to popularise the state government scheme called ‘UP Kisan Asaan Kisht Yojana’, which aims at enabling tube well owners to pay their bills in easy instalments without interest, and enable maximum participation of farmers, the power corporation has come up with this novel idea in which these loudspeakers would be used to make announcements for the state government’s new scheme.
According to Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) officials, announcements will be made in all 14 districts of West Uttar Pradesh under its jurisdiction, namely, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Moradabad, Sambhal, Amroha, Rampur and Bijnor.
PVVNL managing director Arvind Mallapa Bangari, said: “It is good that loudspeakers that have caused undue tensions in the past will be put to some good use now. I feel that announcements through loudspeakers will spread the word faster and ensure maximum registration for the scheme.”
The PVVNL MD added, “During my visit to a camp for promotion of the scheme in a Meerut village, I found that the advertisement of the scheme was not too penetrative to ensure maximum registration. Hence, I have directed the officials concerned to utilize each and every possible means to maximize the reach of the scheme, be it beating of drums, pasting posters or even making announcements on loudspeakers at religious places like mosques and temples. The message should reach even the last person.”
Uttar Pradesh has witnessed several incidents of communal clashes originating from the use of loudspeakers. Loudspeakers in mosques are regularly used to make announcements after Firday prayers to organise protests etc, which often turn violent. While almost all mosques use loudspeakers for for call to prayer (Azaan), use of loudspeakers by Hindu temples are many times opposed by Muslims.
In one such incident in June last year, a Muslim mob reportedly entered a temple in Ghasauli village, Meerut, and beat up a group of Dalit men who had put up loudspeakers in the temple for playing devotional songs. The Muslim community had objected to the loudspeaker on temple premises, which is near a mosque after the men from Dalit community put them up.
Later, the mob attacked the temple and beat up the Dalit men with lathis and sticks. They also reportedly attacked them with a sharp object and even started pelting stones. Over half a dozen people inside the temple were injured and the communal tensions escalated.
A similar incident had taken place in Pilbhit, Uttar Pradesh when a mob had ransacked a temple to oppose loudspeakers. The mob broke the loudspeaker and took away the idols of the temple along with them. Five men – Mehboob, Monis, Israel, Azaad and Alanoor were arrested and a case has been registered for trying to create enmity between religious groups.