Deonath Singh with wife Shobha Devi and younger son Pramod in front of their residence at Rajput Basti in Dhanbad on Friday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Around 2,000 residents of Rajput Basti in Dhanbad are fighting a social battle, besides staring at an uncertain future due to recurrence of underground fire and land subsidence incidents in the locality.
Not a single wedding has taken place in this colony in Kendua, about 8km from the district headquarters, in the last 15 years.
“Our children are suffering due to no fault of theirs. No one is ready to marry his son or daughter off to Rajput Basti residents due to frequent cave-in incidents here,” said Sadanand Bose (52), a BCCL employee.
Over 300 houses are located in Rajput Basti, which falls under BCCL project area.
The residents alleged that despite the presence of a sizeable vote bank none of the political leaders had taken any concrete step or put pressure on the BCCL authorities to address the situation or at least shift them to safer places.
Neither sitting MP P.N. Singh nor MLA Mannan Mullick had visited the area when subsidence took place in July last year, they further alleged
Several families, who were well off, themselves migrated to other areas for the sake of their children’s future.
According to Bose, his neighbour Om Prakash Singh shifted to Telgarhia, about 15km away, while another person in the neighbourhood Ramesh Rai constructed a house at Bhuli, about 3km away.
“I cannot shift due to my weak financial position. My children are, therefore, not receiving any marriage proposals,” Bose said.
Deonath Singh (62), a resident of the same colony, told The Telegraph that his two sons — Vinod Kumar Singh (28) and Pramod Singh (26) — were unmarried only because of the threat of fire and subsidence which always loomed large over their colony.
“Who will marry their daughter at a place where there is no guarantee of life?” asked Singh’s wife Shobha Devi.
According to her, a marriage negotiation for Vinod fell apart when a subsidence took place in their courtyard on July 29 last year. As the news reached the girl’s father, he refused to take their calls.
“Vinod is a graduate. He has no bad habits. Still, no one wants to marry him as if he is a criminal,” Shobha sobbed.
According to the residents, they are not interested in living in the danger zone anymore but are helpless. They cannot shift unless they are provided proper rehabilitation and due compensation.
“We, therefore, want to vote for only such candidate who can take us out of this predicament. The MP has to raise the issue in parliament and ensure that we are provided land in place of land, house in place of house, besides job as we are the original raiyat of the area,” Narayan Singh said.