Photo essay of my visit to Shahdol (Suhagpur) and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh where my company, Reliance, has Coal Bed Methane gas-wells over an area of 1000 sq km. Hence, I had to visit remote villages, forests and fields.
A view of National Highway 78. It must look good on the map! This was a good stretch; you should see the bad stretches. PM Rajiv Gandhi once said only 23 paise out of one rupee actually reaches the roads; rest gets pocketed. The present estimate is less than 23 paise.
As compared to Punjab, Haryana, HP, wayside dhabas are rare. Indeed, from Shahdol to Jabalpur there are hardly any eating joints.
Large tracts of fertile land with no cultivation. The cattle feed on wild grass and bushes
A Mahua Tree. Its fruit is intoxicating and is used for making local brew by the same name. The left dry side of the tree is where lightening fell just a day prior to my visit killing four cows on the spot.
Closer look at the verdant Mahua tree.
We went through some really thick vegetation. It was scary due to palpable fear of Naxalites but the DC and SP of the area told me later that the area is “relatively safe”
With all the progress it is still bare minimum amenities in the villages. Ballu told me that a girl child gets a lot of incentives through ‘Laadli Lakshmi’ scheme and even the Adivasis get monetary remuneration on filing complaints against harrassment.
Highway? No place for another vehicle to cross. It must look good as a thick line on a map! Anyway, this is the heart of coal mines, illegal smuggling of coal etc. I met one such Don who was attired as a Swami but rolls in money and power due to coal smuggling.
At many places under the Yojana concretisation of roads has been done.
Viraat temple in Shahdol; built in the year 1759. A few years later, due to earthquake one portion of the temple sank into the earth. What stands now is leaning like the tower in Pisa. It is a Shiva temple; people refer to it as Teda Mandir
A view of the Bhedaghat waterfall near Jabalpur. The Narmada river falls with such velocity that it makes water vapour to rise. Hence, it is named Dhuandaar at this stage
A breathtaking view of the Dhuandaar.
A cable car is a great attraction for the tourists and goes over the falls.
The river is lined by marble rocks on both sides. These are looking dirty due to the rains, but, at other times I am told that the marble is so white that it shines enchantingly in moonlight
Downstream, the river settles into a more placid one allowing boating to take place except during monsoons.
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