Mizanur Rahman (left) receives a cheque on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, Aug. 20: Mizanur Rahman, the teacher of a primary school in Assam's Dhubri district, who hoisted the national flag in kneedeep floodwater on Independence Day, had mailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the poor condition of roads and ferry services in their villages but has no response yet.
"We are happy that villages in our area are now getting attention after I posted the photograph in Facebook and it went viral. But this is not the first time that I have tried to highlight the problems we face. I had mailed our Prime Minister in May this year after he appealed to citizens to write to him about their problems but we have seen no action yet," Mizanur, 30, told The Telegraph.
Headmaster of Naskara Lower Primary School, Tajem Sikadar, three assistant teachers, Mizanur, Joydev Roy, Nripen Rabha, and two class III students, Haidor Ali Khan and Jiarul Ali Khan, stood in the floodwater, sung Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram and saluted the Tricolour.
Roy clicked a photograph as he had to forward it to cluster resource centre co-ordinator, while Mizanur uploaded it on Facebook and it went viral immediately.
The primary school, with nearly 200 students, is situated nearly 2.5km from Fakirganj town in Dhubri district and 200km west of Guwahati.
In his mail to the Prime Minister on May 4, Mizanur sought Modi's help as the roads in villages in Fakirganj area were in a pitiable condition that affected ambulance services to take pregnant women to hospital.
"There is no proper road to take a patient to a hospital. The 75km road that connects us with National Highway 31 is in a pitiable condition. If we want to take a patient to the district headquarters (Dhubri) by ferry over the Brahmaputra, it takes more than three hours. But there are only two ferries - one at 8am and another at 3pm. So, sometimes we waste four to five hours to take a patient to hospital. How can we expect the patient to survive? In the age of digital India, we don't expect a patient to die for lack of a proper road. Therefore, we request your help to develop road communication and arrange emergency speedboats for critical patients," said the mail.
On May 11, the Prime Minister's Office forwarded Mizanur's mail to the Assam pension and public grievance department for action. "More than three months have passed since then but we have received no reply from the state government," he said.
A day after Mizanur's flood picture went viral, The Telegraph reported that the people living in Naskara, Bilpara and other villages hoped that their problems such as the annual floods, poor roads, erratic power supply and harassment in the name of detection of illegal migrants from Bangladesh would now get attention. "The district administration appreciated us and informed about a felicitation, but no official has visited our village so far," he said.
The AIUDF, an Opposition party led by Badruddin Ajmal, today handed over Rs 1 lakh each to four primary schools, including Naskara Lower Primary School, where the national flag was hoisted.
The teachers of three other schools, Majer Alga Lower Primary School (Part IV), Dimatola Part II Lower Primary School and Ramdhenu Jatiya Bidyalaya, all under Fakirganj police station, had hoisted the Tricolour on boats.
The cash was offered from the local area development fund of Ajmal, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Dhubri.
The Ajmal Foundation also handed over Rs 25,000 to Tajem Sikdar and Rs 10,000 each to nine teachers, two students and another woman who had joined them.
"We have highlighted the problems of flood, erosion and poor roads but have been neglected by the government. We will again meet the Prime Minister seeking his intervention," Ajmal said.