Punjabs youngest sarpanch interacts with PM; gets praise


DW BUREAU / Pathankot Punjab's youngest sarpanch Pallavi Thakur was surprised on Friday morning when she received a phone call from the Prime Minister's Office informing her that Narendra Modi would talk to her in the next half an hour. She was sent a link and an IT team from the Prime Minister's Officer checked for video and audio quality. Thakur was asked to be ready by 10:15 am. "It was really a surprise for me," said the 21-year-old, who was one of the many members of the panchayati raj system Modi spoke to on Panchayati Raj Diwas. Thakur, who belongs to a family of agriculturists, was elected as the head of Hara village in Pathankot district's Dhar block when she was 19 years old. Hara has a population of around 2000. The prime minister and the sarpanch spoke about the different measures being taken at the village in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and on the use of fertilizers and urea. Thakur, whose father Kewal Singh owns a few acres of land on the foot of the Shivalik Hills, said, "It was a great moment that can't be explained."A B.Sc in Information Technology, Thakur has been working for upliftment of farmers. especially from Kandi, a sub-mountainous region, where most depend on rainwater harvesting. During the video conference, the prime minister appreciated Thakur for "properly" taking care of villagers in these difficult times. She told Modi that people in her village are following his directions of staying at home to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. "We have put barriers on the two entry roads of our village. No outside person is allowed to enter the village and similarly, no villager is permitted to leave his house," she told the prime minister. Thakur during the video conference from her laptop said the village panchayat has made inhabitants aware about social distancing and washing hands with soap regularly. The sarpanch also said that this being the harvest season, villagers are maintaining proper social distancing while cutting crops and bringing it to granaries. Prime Minister Modi stressed on less use of urea by farmers to protect the soil and water. "With less usage of urea, farmers will remain healthy and future generations will be strong physically. But down the use of urea to half from the present usage," he told the sarpanch. Modi thanked farmers of Punjab and Haryana for no shortage of vegetables, crops and milk during the lockdown period and briefly touched upon the issue of drug menace. Thakur has two younger brothers and an elder sister. She is a good orator and people have faith in her, the sarpanch's father Kewal Singh said With no political background, Thakur said her aim is to spread awareness on hydroponic farming in the Kandi area as its need less water. (editor@dailyworld.in)


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