Floods have wreaked havoc on the lives of people in North Bihar, as in previous years. But the government, despite its tall claims, has failed in its disaster management and lakhs of people have been rendered homeless.
Neither the Central government nor the State government wants to find a permanent solution to the flood problem. Nitish Kumar has always run away from the problem by holding the Farakka dam responsible. But now his government is in power at the Centre as well as in Patna and he cannot shirk the responsibility of finding a sustainable solution to the flood problem. CPI(ML) had warned that heavy destruction is caused by building embankments on the Farakka, Bagmati and other rivers. But the embankment construction continues despite the objections of the people.
The report from Champaran sent by CPI(ML) leader Virendra Prasad Gupta on the devastating floods reveals an extremely grave situation. There has been tremendous loss of life and property in entire Champaran, particularly the Narkatiyaganj sub-division but the BJP-JD (U) government remains totally insensitive. In Champaran alone there have been dozens of deaths.
Right under the nose of the Narkatiyaganj administration in NandpurMohalla Ward No 2 two boys drowned to death while they were trying to save a woman; the body of one of them, Mahtab Alam, has been recovered but the body of Ajay Kumar is still missing. From the morning of 13 August it was clear that communication between the villages of Narkatiyaganj and Gounaha were cut off, but still the divisional administration did not put the NDRF personnel on the task, did not try to establish communication through boats, and did not try to drop supplies by helicopter to the affected areas. People were trapped in places close to the city but district officials took no steps for relief. Shiv Chandra in village Malhi remained trapped on a tree all night and the villagers somehow managed to rescue him the next morning. Lalan Paswan of Narkatiya village drowned to death and is body is still to be recovered. All roads are still closed to traffic. It is criminal negligence on the part of the district administration not to take steps despite the announcements of the weather forecast.
The CPI (ML) made the following demands: Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the dead victims; supply without delay of plastic covers, ration, kerosene etc to homeless and ration-less people; rations and Rs 5000 for other necessities to all flood victims; rehabilitation of displaced victims. Further, the government should give top priority to flood relief work and do this work on a war footing. Champaran, Sitapur, Seemanchal, Mithilanchal and other places are severely flood-affected.
Floor affected people protested in front of the Darbhanga District Collectorate to demand relief for flood victims, arrangements for boats in submerged villages, compensation for submerged crops, and transparency in dam repair funds accounts. The protest march started at the Polo Maidan, proceeded through SSP office, Laheriyaserai Tower, and culminated in a meeting in front of the District Collector’s office presided over by Hanuman Nagar Block in-charge Com. Pappu Paswan.
Addressing the meeting CPI(ML) District Secretary Com. Baidyanath Yadav said that the District administration and State government merely make announcements in newspapers; on the ground they do nothing. They have failed miserably in arranging boats and polythene food packets and evacuating trapped people to safer and higher places. Ministers and MLAs merely give reassuring speeches to the public but do nothing to give relief to the people. The victims have received neither food nor shelter as relief. Com. Baidyanath Yadav further warned the District administration that if the problems of the flood victims are not resolved within the next two days, a decisive struggle will be launched in Darbhanga.
AIIARLA State Vice President Com. Laxmi Paswan said that the governments in Delhi and Patna are both silent on the problems of the flood victims; they are only conducting aerial surveys. The State governments MLAs are busy looting the public and filling their own pockets. Hundreds of flood victims participated in the protests. District Committee member Com. Prince Karn said that the DDCs in Bahadurpur, Gaurboram, Tardih, Manigachhi, Ghanshyampur and Kiratpur were gheraoed on demands of boats and flood relief. Bihar government Minister and Gaurboram MLA Madan Sahani was gheraoed for at Biraul.
The protests were led by Insaf Manch State Vice President Com. Neyaz Ahmed, District Committee members Comrades Devendra Kumar, Prince Kumar Karn, Ashok Paswan, and Shanichari Devi.
This protest was followed by a two-day Block Level agitation for flood relief on 17-18 August.
Poor Lay Claim to Homestead Land in Nawada
‘Dakhal’ (Take What Is Ours) dharnas and protests were held across the State of Bihar from 9 to 15 August 2017 under the call given by the Bihar State Committee of the CPI(ML) with the slogan, ‘We shall not tolerate betrayal of people’s mandate; we shall take the land rights due to us’.
Capturing bhoodan land in Lalpur (Kauwakol Block, Nawada District), the landless poor put up 200 huts on the land. They had got parchas to 60 acres of bhoodan land on 17 February 1957 and 13 February 1996. Despite this these dalits and poor could not get possession of the land till now. They had appealed several times to the administration to give them possession but their demands went unheeded. In the face of administrative indifference the CPI (ML) and AIARLA decided to put up huts on this land.
On 14 August 2017 hundreds of people gathered at the place and put up flags on the land after which they built 200 huts. They have also decided to do farming on this land. Women were at the forefront of the campaign to put up flags on the land and contributed hugely to the success of the movement. Addressing the meeting which followed the putting up of the flags, CPI (ML) District Secretary Com. Narendra Prasad Singh said that the State government is putting up a hypocritical charade of commemorating the Champaran Satyagraha; they mouth Gandhi’s name but rule and enjoy power along with Gandhi’s killers. The Central and State governments are busy pandering to the needs of corporate houses and are bent upon snatching forests, water, and lands from the adivasis and the poor and handing it over to capitalist companies. The government and administration are not giving the poor possession of bhoodan and ceiling lands in spite of repeated applications. This has made the people very angry, and today’s initiative of putting up flags on this bhoodan land is a result of this anger.