“Sindri” continues to amaze even after almost 15 years of destruction. The whole town was set up by Fertilizer Corporation Of India (FCI), a central government initiative. But then the unit was declared sick and in 2005, there was a complete shutdown. People lost their jobs. Some lost money, some their lives. Few men couldn’t recover from shock and pain. People were forced to move out because of the lack of Occupation/career choices. They dispersed and found shelter back in their own villages.
My parents stayed on. They had their own means of earning. They are among few who witnessed the gradual destruction of the place.
Last time when I had visited Sindri, it was 5 years ago. It was soon after my wedding and with my in-laws. I was visiting the town after almost 4 years. It was pretty shocking. Most of the government quarters were empty, thieves had taken away the doors and windows. The whole place was not even in the liveable state. My new family couldn’t believe that I lived and studied here once.
And this time, in 2017 when I went, the condition changed again. People from nearby locality had moved into these quarters. Every house is now filled with people. They haven’t repaired much due to the uncertainty that is mongering in town. But at least the quarters have now been used, they are getting water and electricity. It is not a ghost town anymore.
The sad thing is that this place has no source of income. Because of the factory shut down, people travel to Dhanbad in search of work. Locals are earning enough to feed themselves and buy some clothes. Paying school fees every month is a big headache for parents. But still, there is no dearth of private schools.
I didn’t see many youngsters around. Most of them have left for jobs in other cities/states. Some stayed on, to take care of their old parents. Taking care of old parents is another huge problem. There is no medical facility there. It is insane and unbelievable. No medical facility to deal with any sort of emergency. The nearest hospital/doctor that can deal with emergencies is 10kms away.
Sindri still has a saharpura market where you get the basic necessary stuff. The market is also surviving because there are some people in Sindri who have their sons and daughters living abroad. They are remitting money in dollars and pounds. Another very interesting aspect of Sindri. About 2-3% of the people get their funding from abroad. The parents have retired and want to continue to live in the peaceful town. I managed to meet such people. There was an uncle whose both sons were in Singapore. He knew someone whose daughter and son are in US and UK. And I was told that there are many such parents like that.
During my visit, there was another family that was visiting Sindri after 30 years. They left Sindri and settled in New Delhi. But post-retirement, they came to visit the town and donated money to a temple. People wondered on his love for this town. He may have stayed only 15-20 years in Sindri. There are many such families who may have left Sindri long time ago but still dream about it, ask about it and wish to return back.
Even though life has been difficult but this place has peace. People look after each other, there is no violence in the name of religion or caste, there is no theft and robbery or any other social evil.
This place continues to be a hub for good education. There used to be a time when there were many people who qualified for IIT (Indian Institute of Technology). There are many families where parents are working in big cities but they have left their kids with grannies to get a good and cheap education. There is an engineering college too – BIT Sindri because of which, fresh people(students) continues to come in. There is a huge alumini from BIT who continues to look back at Sindri.
I have no words to describe this place but I feel that people should visit this place to see and understand how people live with unity and peace. This could be a wonderful retirement HUB. What a beautiful town it is, even in this wretched condition! This place will continue to be home for many people even in this condition. And people are waiting for revival of this town once again!