What used to be the home of Mihir Bera is now a heap of mud. Picture by Samir Mondal
Biswanathpur, Oct. 20: Four days after the October 14 flooding, villagers in Biswanathpur and adjoining Koigaria in West Midnapore got their first relief materials.
District officials, however, said there was no dearth of relief materials. One of the officials said: “Either the relief materials are being diverted midway or there is some partisan attitude while distributing the relief materials.”
Mihir Bera, 45, a farmer at Biswanathpur, said the flood waters started entering their village around noon on October 14.
Mihir said he and 15 members of his family left home and took shelter in a junior high school in the village.
“The next day, our mud-walled house collapsed. As a result, even after the flood water receded, we could not return home. My family received relief only on Friday (October 18). There were 3kg of potatoes, 5kg rice, 2kg of flattened rice (chirey) and 500gm of puffed rice (muri). We got one polythene sheet this morning,” he said.
Biswanath Bera, 40, a Trinamul Youth Congress leader in the locality, also made a similar allegation. He had taken shelter in the same school as Mihir with three members of his family.
“I have been staying on the roof of the school building in a tent made of polythene sheets. I got only flattened rice and puffed rice in the past few days. I have to depend on my relatives for meals. I saw relief materials arriving in trucks. But I do not know where these went,” he said.
The situation at the adjoining Koigeria appears to be even worse.
Raimoni Soren, 55, a resident of the village, said the administration was running a kitchen to serve cooked food. “But that was inadequate. At least 60 people went hungry. We went to the primary school on October 15 for meals. We waited there till 4pm. Sarat Mahato, a Trinamul Congress leader, told us bluntly that we had not been asked to assemble there,” Raimoni said.
The block development officer of Keshpur, Mohammed Zamil Akhtar, said: “I do not understand why the residents of Biswanathpur had not turned up there. There is no dearth of relief material. I shall look into the complaints of unavailability of relief materials.”