REPORT-from-the-Frontlines: Kosi flood affected Murliganj (Bihar)

REPORT-from-the-Frontlines:
Kosi flood affected Murliganj (Bihar)


Dr Sandeep Pandey

Asha Parivar and
National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)

Report from visit to Kosi flood affected Murliganj Block of Madhepura Dist. in Bihar on 31st October and 1st November, 2008

Mahendra Yadav and his team of Asha Parivar is stationed in Babhangama, 15 kms. from Muraliganj Block headquarters of Madhepura Dist. of Bihar for over two months now to carry out relief operations and help people access relief from government schemes. Muraliganj is 80 kms. from Katihar railway station.

The salient points that emerged from my meeting with Asha Parivar and NAPM volunteers as well as from interaction with flood victims during a open debate organized by Mahendra on 1st November, 2008 at Muraliganj which was attended by 600-700 people are:

(1) People are being forced to vacate camps and mega camps as the government wants to abdicate its responsibility towards flood victims. While in camps the government has to take full responsibility of the affected people, including providing them food, health care, education to children, etc.

(2) The agricultural fields from which water is receding is now covered with various levels of sand. It is not cultivable until the sand is removed. On the other hand earth had been dug deep at several spots because of sharp water current. It'll take a year or two before people can start recultivating their fields.

(3) The farmers will need agricultural tools, seeds, fertilizers, etc., to start agriculture again. The question of how the sharecropper, who doesn't officially hold any land but undertook major part of agricultural activity, will receive compensation still needs to be addressed. Similarly other artisans will need their tools.

(4) People also need compensation for dead/lost cattle. The cattle which remain with the people are facing problem in being fed. The hay is all wet and government supply is unreliable because of rampant corruption.

(5) Health care facilities are poor. People have to often rush to private practitioners when the government system is not able to attend to them. There have been number of casualities due to negligence.

(6) All educational activity is standstill. It needs to begin.

(7) The compensation of Rs. 2250 in cash and one quintal of foodgrains is not being distributed honestly. At some places only 50-70 kgs. of foodgrains are being given. If somebody's name doesn't figure in APL or BPL lists, they are being denied relief.

(8) People should be encouraged to use RTI to access benefits flowing through various routine government schemes as well as those announced specially for flood victims.

Suggestions to Government:
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(1) Make NREGS provision for 365 days for the next 1-2 years for flood affected areas of five districts affected by Kosi. People should be allowed to claim wages under NREGS for working to rebuild their own houses and for removing sand from their fields. People may have to be invited from other parts of Bihar and even other poorer states to remove sands from the fields under NREGS.

(2) PDS benefits to be extended to all families under BPL category. Supplies should be given on the basis of per member in family rather than per family. People need kerosene for lighting lamps in the night so that they can be saved from snake bites.

(3) Special package for reconstruction of Kosi flood affected area should be given by Central Government which should aim to help people get onto their feet. Various employment generation schemes will have to be implemented. The unemployed educated youth in this area should be provided with jobs.

(4) All flood affected families should be provided one Indira Awas housing.

Appeal to Civil Society:
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(1) Volunteers needed, esp. doctors, veterinary doctors and teachers.

(2) Asha Parivar has decided to reach out to 10,000 families. Blankets are needed for these families.

(3) Asha Parivar has decided to provide alternative housing at the cost of Rs. 700 per house to 1000 families. Funds needed for this.

(4) Asha Parivar needs volunteers from 10th November to 30th November for carrying out a survey.

(5) Equipments needed - computers, laptops, printer, modem and digital camera.

(6) One volunteer is needed who can take care of bookkeeping/accounts.

(7) Medicines needed.

(8) Cattle feed needed.

Any relief material from anywhere in India should be booked for railway station of Katihar (NF Railway) and the 'bilty' (to claim the material from the railways) should be sent to Mahendra Yadav at the address: Asha Parivar, c/o Paramount School, Babhangama, Muraliganj Block, Dist. Madhepura, Mobile: 9973936658.

Any financial contributions may be sent in the name of 'Asha' to: Vallabhacharya Pandey, Village Bhandaha Kalan, Post Kaithi, Varanasi-221116, Ph: (0542) 2618201, 2618301, 2618401, Mobile : 9415256848, ashakashi@gmail.com

For more information, please contact:
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Dr Sandeep Pandey
Asha Parivar and
National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
Phone: 0522 2347365
Email: ashaashram@yahoo.com

2 comments:

  1. On Nationalist Congress Party National Media Convenor Suraj Yadav’s petion to Prime Minister the PMO vide PMO ID No 1/3/2009-PMP 1/87862 dated 2nd November 2009 has informed the petitioner that the petition has been forwarded to Secretary,Ministry of Home Affairs,Govt of India, “for action as appropriate”.

    Prof. Suraj Yadav had petitioned to National Human Rights Commission in September 2008 demanding an inquiry into the Kosi Tragedy and to fix the responsibility for this human sponsored tragedy which had cast doom for lakhs of people in nearly eight districts of Bihar . Subsequently the NHRC had issued notice to Chief Secretary,Govt of Bihar.However,after nealy a year of correspondence on the issue when a CD was submitted to NHRC on the tragedy pointing to Govt of Bihar’s clear cut negligence, the Commission passed an order to transfer the case to Bihar Human Rights Commission. This Order effectively meant scuttling the inquiry because by then the State Govt had already appointed an Commission on the issue,and as per the act the State HRC could not inquire on the same issue. Further, the Bihar Govt Commission was constituted to bury the issue and with its initial grant of 3 months time now raised to nearly two years, it is performing its intended task with absolute precision. The complaint was made to the Prime Minister on the attitude of NHRC.

    Prof Suraj Yadav has expressed hope that the Ministry of Home,Govt of India will take firm and appropriate steps for justice to Kosi tragedy effected people and not allow the State Govt repeat another Librahan “Commission”.

    SURAJ YADAV
    Asst Prof.,DU
    National Convenor, Media Department,
    Nationalist Congress Party.
    M-9868490170

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  2. New Delhi,16th January,2010.

    Nationalist Congress Party National Media Convenor Prof Suraj Yadav submitted a Memrandum to the Home Minister, Govenment of India demanding a CBI Inquiry on the responsibility of Kosi Tragedy based on the Report of PAG in the state expressing serious charge of Negligence by the State Government. This is quite a serious charge by a Constitutional Body of India and amounts to "Criminal Negligence",in which lakhs of people of north Bihar lost their lives and property. Prof Suraj Yadav has demanded that the CBI must immediately take over the case and arrest the then Water Resources Minister of Bihar Bijender Yadav.
    Prof Yadav said that his petotion to the Prime Minister on the above has been forwarded to the Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, by the Prime Minister’s Office for action as appropriate, and that the Office of PAG,Bihar, in its report has clearly blamed the Govt of Bihar for negligence for the Kosi Tragedy of August 2008, immediate action must follow,otherwise it shall become order of the day that politicians continue to make money and hardly bother to take up their responsibility even if lives of millions are at stake.(The Press-Report regarding this is enclosed as under.)
    Further, Prof Yadav has writtenI to the Home Secretary on 05.01.2010 that the citizens in the area are suspecting the role of a multinational construction company, which had to build a bridge at the Kosi River near Nirmali, deliberately allowed the Kosi Embankment to be broken in which subsequently lacks of people lost their lives and properties, so that piling for the bridge pillars could be done.

    The NCP leader has said that considering the above factors it would be justified to order a C.B.I. Inquiry and take strict action against those responsible for Kosi Tragedy due to their criminal negligence.

    SURAJ YADAV
    National Convener, Media Department, NCP

    बिहार सरकार की उदासीनता का परिणाम थी कोसी की तबाही
    पटना, एजेंसी
    First Published:15-01-10 10:53 PM
    Last Updated:15-01-10 10:54 PM
    ई-मेल प्रिंट टिप्पणियॉ: पढे लिखे (0) अ+ अ-
    बिहार के प्रधान महालेखाकार (पीएजी) ने 2008 में कोसी नदी के तटबंध टूटने के लिए राज्य सरकार को दोषी ठहराया है। तटबंधों के टूटने से आई बाढ़ ने लाखों लोगों को बेघर कर दिया था और कई लोग मारे गए थे।
    आधिकारिक सूत्रों ने शुक्रवार को बताया कि पीएजी ने अपनी रिपोर्ट में कहा है, बिहार के जल संसाधन विभाग ने संरक्षण कार्य में तत्परता में कमी दिखायी जिसके कारण 2008 में नेपाल में कुसाहा में कोसी के बांध में दरार आयी।
    नियंत्रक और महालेखापरीक्षक के अंदर आने वाले पीएजी कार्यालय ने अपनी रिपोर्ट में कहा है कि जल संसाधन विभाग ने बांध प्रभाग और बीरपुर के पूर्वी कोसी तटबंध प्रभाग के उन प्रस्तावों को स्वीकार नही किया जिसमें कमजोर बांधों के संरक्षण की बात थी। इसमें 2008 के बाढ़ में बह गए बांध भी शामिल थे।
    बांधों को दुरूस्त करने के बजाए विभाग ने निर्माण कार्य को 11 जगहों से समेट कर 12.8 किलोमीटर से 13.6 किलोमीटर के बीच केवल पांच जगह कर दिया और ग्रामीण इलाकों में बांधों को मरम्मत करने का तो विचार ही नही

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