| Residents play flutes before a buffalo in front of Gaya collectorate on Tuesday. Picture by Suman |
Gaya, Jan. 15: Citizens played snake charmers’ flutes before a buffalo near the Gaya collectorate today in protest against inadequate civic services and lack of power as well as increasing taxes.
The inspiration for the protest was an old Hindi proverb that goes: “Bhains ke aage been bajao, bhains pagurae (Play your flute before a buffalo, he only masticates apathetically)”, said a member of the Prabuddha Nagarik Parishad (PNP), the organiser of the agitation.
He added: “We have been demanding civic amenities for long. But the officials and even the chief minister are apathetic. So we were forced to stage such a protest.”
Besides music, the protesters used posters and pictures to make their point. One poster depicted politicians playing flutes with their eyes closed, others showed dilapidated roads, dysfunctional fountains and dry and dirty ponds. Yet another poster portrayed a child studying in the dark and a JCB machine trying to demolish a house for not paying holding taxes.
The government has been claiming all-round development in the state but Gaya residents complain that power supply and civic amenities are woefully wanting. The protesters also alleged misappropriation of funds in the name of sinking ponds and constructing fountains.
PNP convener Brijnandan Pathak said: “A civilian meeting was held on December 18 last year to discuss the lack of civic amenities in Gaya town. After the meeting, a memorandum was sent to chief minister Nitish Kumar listing our demands. A copy of the memorandum was also submitted to the district magistrate (Bandana Preyashi). But nothing has been done yet to fulfil our demands.”
He added: “Lakhs have been spent on the beautification of the pond at Gandhi Maidan and construction of fountains in various parts of the city like Kashinath Mor, Gaya collectorate, Jai Prakash Udyan and Azad Park. But none of the fountains works. There is no water in the pond at Gandhi Maidan either.”
Another serious predicament against which the protesters raised their voice was the acute shortage of power in the district headquarters.